It wasn't some dark and gloomy heath in Western England that Kiehl Frazier and Michael Dyer returned to last Saturday night, but their native state where, but for the first quarter, they lived a depressing Thomas Hardy like fate of being kept out of the end-zone by a group of Hog defenders determined not to let Auburn beat them on the ground. Auburn would net 291 rushing yards on 52 attempts, but with no real passing game to speak of, the Hogs got better and better at containing the Auburn rushing attack as the game went along and kept those Arkansas Tigers out of the end-zone. I didn't have the pleasure of being at the game itself, but a die-hard and rather arrogant Auburn fan that I know was there, so that is the second best thing to being there, right? haha. My following observations are all ESPN based, but I would love to hear from you in the comment section if you were at the game. Did we look as impressive in person?
* Will the Hogs beat history or the curse that has had them lose every following conference game after they've lost their first one since coming into the SEC, with the one exception being 1995? The Game Day crew said we would. I didn't catch what percentage of Americans thought we would win or lose. But now that we have won a conference game after our first loss, just like in 1995 when we won the West, does that mean the Hogs will win the SEC West this year? Well, a good many fortunate events would need to happen, namely Alabama suddenly forgetting how to play Alabama football for two SEC games.
*Found myself bored with the LSU / Florida game and just wishing the Arkansas / Auburn game would hurry up and get here. This has not been a very good year for SEC games on CBS compared to previous years. And next week's matchup of LSU vs. Tennessee probably won't be very good either. But it will give the nation a chance to relive Dooley's inability from last year to count to eleven players on defense, I am sure.
* Yeah, I am a Little Rock homer and was thinking about the big games lost in Fayetteville over the years. Yes, yes, I realize that we play more SEC games in Fayetteville, so the odds are we will lose more big games there.
* 108 points last year. Would we see that again? At 52 points, we got to almost half as many points as what rung up on the scoreboard in Auburn last year.
* Hoping that somewhere Cam Newton was sitting down to watch this game and was about to see his Tigers go down in defeat.
NOT THIS AGAIN:
* Who amongst us didn't groan and swear at the name "Willie Robinson" after Michael Dyer ran that first one in and Kiehl Frazier ran in another not too long afterwards? I made a note of "It is going to be a long season." The Hogs didn't cure all their defensive problems last night and they are too easy to gash right through the middle, but I am proud for how they were stronger than I was mentally speaking (physically is a given) and didn't let the past two games get in their heads and went out there and made stops.
* Well, there went perfection. You knew it was going to happen at some point, I suppose. With Hocker's miss of a field goal early in the first quarter, the Hogs became no longer perfect in the red-zone. Still, it is quite impressive that they made it to the midway part of the season having not missed a scoring opportunity inside the twenty yard line.
* Was thankful that Urban Meyer was not calling our game. However, Brad Nessler invented an Arkansas player by the name of "Dennis Green" haha. Hey, I think the combination of Broderick and Dennis would make for one hell of a back!
* Todd Blackledge and Brad Nessler did plenty to let us all know that Arkansas had lost Michael Dyer and Kiehl Frazier to Auburn in the recruiting wars. But I would point out that that still hasn't stopped Bobby Petrino from going 3-1 against Auburn. Todd and Brad could have also pointed out that Arkansas native Gus the Genius hasn't won a game in Fayetteville against the Hogs since he left Arkansas. Remember, his Tulsa team lost as well in Fayetteville.
WHEN WE DO WHAT WE DO:
* It is a pleasure to see this Arkansas offense firing on all cylinders and moving up and down the field. Tyler Wilson had a stretch of 17 per 17 completions going, and of course, that went by the wayside as soon as Nessler pointed out that the record is 23 pass attempts. Damn him! Wilson ended the night 24/36 with 262 passing yards and an important 4th and one conversion on the ground for a touchdown.
* Broderick Green would get 16 carries for 47 yards, and Dennis Johnson would gain 42 yards on 12 carries. But it was Joe Adams who in one touchdown run for 92 yards would put the life in the rushing numbers, 176 yards. Though the rushing numbers are not that impressive for Johnson and Green, I felt they gave us just enough of a rushing attack and kept us from being too one dimensional on offense.
* Liked how the offensive line held some long pass protection blocks more consistently (so it seems) in this game. Tyler is still going to enjoy the bye-week, no doubt.
* Jarius Wright, is there anybody on the team right now that is more dependable than Wright? Though not another record setting game, the night still ended for him with some very positive numbers: 5 receptions for 76 yards, averaging 15.2 yards a catch, with a long of 40 yards, and one truly great touchdown catch in the corner of the endzone.
* The Jarius Wright on defense last night came in the form of two players, Alonzo Highsmith who seemed to be involved on every tackle and to much relief the return of Tramain Thomas to relevance, who got two picks. I hope both of them get their fair share of helmet stickers.
* How nice was it to see Jake Bequette back and going after a quarterback? Now, if Broderick Green's doctor can just hurry up and heal Tenarius Wright's broken arm!
* Hocker boomed kicks into the end-zone all night, which is something mighty Alabama wishes they could do, actually, as well as a number of other teams.
* Screen passes to Dennis Johnson, which he scored the last TD on, they are something I think we'll begin to see more and more of. Ronnie Wingo is deadly coming out of the backfield, but so too is Dennis Johnson.
* Even as we did what we did last night for much of the game, we had some long dry spells in the second half that had me thinking that Auburn would find some way to get back in the game. But we did put enough points between us and them that even they must have been thinking in the fourth quarter that distance was too far to make magic in Fayetteville.
SOME BY THE NUMBERS:
* 19-17 on ESPN now for the Hogs. And chances are we'll probably be on ESPN or ESPN2 or the SEC Network all the way to Baton Rouge. The chance for another CBS matchup looks unlikely until the LSU game.
* The number 38 made yet another appearance. The Hogs had 38 when they beat Troy. Alabama beat us with 38 points. We would then beat A&M with them having 38 points. And last night, we won 38-14. What are the odds of that?
* 39.1 points a game is what the Hogs' offense is scoring. The defense is giving up 21.3 points.
* This was win number 28 for Petrino at Arkansas.
* Nine - the number of completed passes Auburn had. They did drop a lot of balls, something which our receivers have been avoiding.
* 32:43, Auburn's time of possession compared to 27:17 for Arkansas. The Hogs did look rather weak there towards the end trying to kill clock. And they weren't any more impressive before the half when they tried to do the same. Like Todd and Brad and later Mark May, I really wondered why Petrino through the cold water on Tyler there when he had some time to go down the field.
* 4-26 yards in penalties for Arkansas. 11-105 for Auburn. But oddly enough, it seemed just the opposite during the game itself. Good to see the Hogs avoiding stupid personal foul penalties. The one time they had one called on them, it was off-setting.
* Zero - the number of fumbles caused by Hog defenders. But, hey, the backs did get three picks during the game.
* 87 - That was Austin-Tate who had his touchdown reversed. Brad and Todd never mentioned his name. Of course, names were not their strong suit last night.
* 45-40 - The score of the Texas A&M / Texas Tech game. The Aggies boosted our win over them by being closers for a change. I hope they can keep it up and say beat OU while they are it. The BCS numbers come out in a week. The Hogs should be in the top 15, I would think. If A&M keeps winning, that only helps the Hogs.
BIG PICTURE THOUGHTS: If the Hogs can duplicate this type of little drama win through the rest of the season, they should arrive in Baton Rouge 10-1. That is no small "if" for we've seen what injuries can do to us. But I think the offense has found a trusted leader in Wilson and some rushing yards in the form of Green and Johnson and the explosive Joe Adams out of the backfield maneuver. The defense can self-correct, it appears. The question each game will be how long will that take? Hopefully, they'll start playing lights out for all four quarters! But for next weekend, we get a rest with half of the season already gone - how it goes by so quickly! The second half begins with a date in Oxford where Petrino and company can throw another stick of wood under Colonel Nutt's hot seat with a victory over the Rebels. Until then, happy sports reading to you all as the piggies who stayed at home stand at 5-1 in college football's toughest division.