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Hosting the Tigers: Preview of Arkansas vs. Auburn

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The fourth Southeastern Conference (SEC) game of the year, will the Hogs be sniffing bowl eligibility?

Introduction

We’re beautifully close to football season, and even though last year was the worst of all-time, there’s actually some reason to be hopeful. For that reason, we’re breaking down each game we’ll play this year, and explore a little bit about each opponent. Ultimately, we’ll make some level of prediction about our chances, for better or worse. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @ArkansasFight to keep up with all the latest posts, and don’t forget to sign up to be a pollster for our site!

Week 7 - October 19, 2019

Opponent:

Auburn Tigers

Where:

Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. It will be Arkansas’ fifth home game of the 2019 season.

Their coach:

The embattled Gus Malzahn. Seemingly always on the hot seat, Malzahn is entering his sixth season as the head coach at Auburn.

Very familiar to Razorback fans because of his stint as the offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach under Houston Nutt in 2006, he has accumulated a 53-27 (28-20 SEC) record throughout his first six years on The Plains.

Projected by many to be a top-15 program, Malzahn will likely need to win in the neighborhood of 10 games to quiet the frustrations of the boosters and fan base.

Our record against them:

Auburn currently holds the advantage in this series, 16-11-1.

The Tigers have won three straight and six of the last nine meetings. Arkansas’ last victory was the wild, four-overtime affair that ended in a 54-46 score in 2015.

Last year’s meeting at Jordan-Hare Stadium was a lopsided 34-3 final.

Key players:

RB JaTarvious Whitlow: An SEC All-Freshman Team honoree, Whitlow rushed for nearly 800 yards in 2018.

With quarterback Jarrett Stidham no longer in the picture, expect Whitlow to take on an even more pivotal role in Auburn’s offense.

QB Bo Nix: A five-star true freshman, Nix handled first-team reps ahead of redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood in Tuesday’s practice, per Josh Vitale of the Montgomery Advertiser.

Auburn has struggled with inconsistent quarterback play since Cam Newton left, but Nix has all the talent to start for the Tigers for years to come. It is very possible that a lot of Malzahn’s fate will hinge on the 18-year-old right arm of Nix.

DE/LB Nick Coe: Playing the “BUCK” position for Kevin Steele’s defense, Coe will be counted on to line up all over the field for the the Tigers.

Totaling 55 tackles, 18 TFL and nine sacks over the last two seasons, Coe has the potential to be one of the best defensive players in the SEC.

A very short recap of their last season:

Auburn finished fifth in the SEC West with a 3-5 conference record. Overall, the Tigers finished 8-5 and routed Purdue in the Music City Bowl, 63-14.

How we feel about our chances:

I do think Arkansas will be an improved team in 2019, but I would be very surprised if we are able to win this game. Even with Auburn’s history of underachieving given their high preseason rankings, this is still a team that is likely going to be ranked all season long.

Arkansas should be able to keep it much closer than last year’s 31-point difference, however. I expect Auburn to win this game by about 14 points.

Thanks for checking out the seventh installment of our series on Arkansas’ 2019 Football Season, be sure to sign up for our SB Nation Poll, and follow @ArkansasFight on Twitter. Feel free to follow @TeddyRydquist, too.