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Auburn vs. Arkansas Game Preview

Auburn's Anthiny Schwartz scores in the second half.
Auburn football vs Arkansas on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 in Fayetteville, AK.
Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Auburn's Anthiny Schwartz scores in the second half. Auburn football vs Arkansas on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 in Fayetteville, AK. Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

  

The Auburn Tigers return to Jordan-Hare Saturday in search of their first SEC West victory of the season against the up-and-coming Arkansas Razorbacks.

Auburn’s performance against Georgia last weekend left much to be desired on both sides of the football. The Tigers’ offense looked off the pace from the start of the game, failing to score in the first quarter, and only getting a field goal by the end of the first half. Georgia scored 24 unanswered points in that time leaving the game all but decided by halftime.

While Auburn was silenced with disappointment, Fayetteville was erupting with elation as Arkansas beat Mississippi State 21-14 in their first SEC victory since defeating Ole Miss in October 2017. Quarterback Feleipe Franks led the Razorbacks by completing a stunning 71% of his passes averaging 10.6 yards per reception. The defense came up big with three interceptions and one fumble, which managed to keep their team in until the final whistle.

Auburn’s coaching staff have a long and well documented history with Arkansas. New offensive coordinator Chad Morris was Arkansas’ head coach for the past two seasons, being fired after 2 losing years and an overall record of 4-18. Gus Malzahn played there as a walk-on and later returned in 2006 to serve as their offensive coordinator under Houston Nutt.

Morris will need to find a way to jump-start his offense as Arkansas proved last week they have the tools to face a strong opposition. Mike Leach’s air raid offense managed to gain 400 total yards against the Razorbacks last week, but still only scored 14 points. 

The worst thing Auburn can do is not find their feet in the first quarter and put points on the board early, and that means they need to establish their run game. The Tigers only gained 39 rushing yards against Georgia averaging a dismal 1.77 yards per carry, and with Shaun Shivers and Eli Stove in question for Saturday’s game, emphasis will be placed on Bo Nix to act as a dual threat as he attempted against last weekend.

Auburn have won their last four against Arkansas, most recently winning in Fayetteville 51-10 while Morris was still the Razorbacks’ head coach. The last time Arkansas won at Jordan-Hare was in 2012, during Gene Chizik’s last season in charge. Auburn lead the series 17-11-1.

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