Say this for your Arkansas Razorbacks today. At least they didn’t make us wait long for the hammer to drop down. They let fans know quickly and in no uncertain terms that today was not going to be the day for nice things, and Auburn’s eventual 51-10 victory bore that out.
The Hogs won the toss and elected to receive, hoping to begin the game with momentum. But momentum can only accrue if good plays stack on top of each other. Ben Hicks’s third-down strip-and-fumble, inflicted by Auburn’s Marlon Davidson, gave Auburn prime position just outside of the red zone. Three plays later, the Tigers were on the board when QB Bo Nix took a keeper on the outside and into the endzone.
Two-and-a-half minutes into the game, and it was already brutal.
On their next drive, Arkansas improved slightly, getting through a full three-and-out before they had to punt it away.
After the punt, Auburn again showed what you can actually do with three plays. Kam Martin took an outside run 52 yards to set up the Tigers inside the ten-yard line. Two plays later, Martin would get the edge one more time to put Auburn up 14-0.
In fact, Auburn was doing everything it wanted running on the outside, and the Hogs’ bleeding only seemed to stop when Auburn kept trying to see what it could get running inside. That lasted about two quarters before it got bad again. But in the meantime, the Hog defense looked good holding Auburn on fourth down and only allowing a field goal for the rest of the half.
The Arkansas offense finally got their first first-down with a minute left in the first quarter. That was also the drive where the Hogs faked a punt that ended with punter Sam Loy two-hand throwing an interception to Auburn’s Chandler Wooten. Not for the squeamish. (← It’s our motto!)
Speaking of special teams awfulness (because, always), generally-reliable kicker Connor Limpert missed his 44-yard attempt to end the first half. That miss wasted one of the best plays the offense had all day, when Ben Hicks threw a perfect pass to Trey Knox’s back shoulder to pick up nineteen yards on third down near mid-field.
The Hogs defense opened the second half delightfully by forcing Auburn’s offense off the field after three downs. The Razorback offense seemed to pick up the rope a bit, driving down to the Auburn ten-yard line, but on third down, Hicks took too long to find a wide-open Cheyenne O’Grady and ended up throwing the ball well out of bounds. Limpert put the Hogs on the board, finally, with a field goal, 17-3.
Just when it seemed the Razorbacks could put themselves back into the game, War Eagle slammed that door shut when Nix threw a 48-yard touchdown to a completely wide open Seth Williams. On the Hogs’ next play from scrimmage, Hicks’s throw was picked off by Javaris Davis, who absolutely laid out for the ball. Two plays after that, a beautiful pitch-and-catch from Nix to Anthony Schwartz increased the Auburn lead to 31-3.
Long after the game was out of reach, Arkansas got its highlight when Sosa Agim recovered an Auburn fumble on the sideline. On the next play, Cheyenne O’Grady caught a pass, nearly lost it, and broke through into the endzone for the Razorbacks’ lone touchdown of the day.
It would only get worse. (← We have us a lot of mottos!)