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Officiating A Major Story but Not Sole Reason For Razorback Loss

NCAA Football: Auburn at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas suffered their third straight loss of the season after starting 4-0. Was it magic? Absolutely. Was it a fluke? Unlikely.

As an injury to a key defender and depth issues all around the Razorbacks suffered its first home loss of 2021. Auburn pretty much whipped the Hogs at the line of scrimmage. Most of Arkansas run plays had an Auburn player hitting them at the line but having the fight through two or three willing tacklers. Although Arkansas did have success running the football it still wasn’t enough offensively to win.

The wide open receivers that were roaming around the Arkansas secondary early on this season caused concern. However, the issue has yet to be fixed and is causing the Razorbacks issues with moderately accurate quarterbacks. That’s what Bo Nix has been and the Razorback defense made him look the part of a Heisman front runner on Saturday. Nix completed 21 of his 26 passes for 292 yards. His two touchdowns were from 39 yards and 71 yards respectively.

Through the air is where Auburn was able to get most of their yardage surprisingly. Arkansas’ secondary has been manageable but the front seven has been abused the past two games. It was obvious that the Hogs missed Jalen Catalon and LaDarrius Bishop throughout as it depleted Arkansas’ depth. Jayden Johnson, Myles Slusher and Hudson Clark all played a major number of snaps, made plenty of good plays but were taken advantage of on long touchdowns and chunk yardage plays.

The Razorbacks were suspect on first down today. Oftentimes falling behind the chains due to penalties or negative yardage plays. They were able to find ways to move the football and convert on many third down attempts 10-of-19 but couldn’t convert them when needed which eventually cost them the game.

Arkansas compiled 460 yards of total offense which was 50 yards more than the Tigers.

KJ JEFFERSON

Where would this team be without its fearless leader at quarterback? This team could be 2-5 actually. He has continued to get better week after week and has grabbed his position by the horns and continues to keep Arkansas in its football games. He again had a terrific day with 294 total yards and two touchdowns. Without him this team would be wandering through the dessert with no leader on the gridiron.

The Razorbacks should have no problem bouncing back into the win column as they face UAPB of the FCS. This will be a good tune up game to get this team ready for the stretch run in SEC play.

OFFICIATING

For the second consecutive year the SEC allowed its officials to get away with a couple of calls during a football game between these two teams.

I don’t agree with calling a play dead when there is an actual live tackle being made. Arkansas Defensive end Jashaud Stewart suplexed an Auburn running back that jarred the ball loose in mid-tackle and was immediately recovered by Grant Morgan. The play would be reviewed and confirmed that the play was blown dead and Auburn would retain possession of the football for a fourth down punt.

The second call was a pass interference call that would pull Auburn closer to the endzone to extend their lead in the fourth quarter over Arkansas. The ball thrown by Nix was seemingly overthrown at least five or more yards over the head and out of bounds but the Tigers were ultimately bailed out to extend their drive.

When is the officiating without accountability going to end in the SEC? It’s not just against Arkansas but apparent towards several other teams in its conference. That being said officiating did not determine the outcome of the game but it sure did extend some drives and stop momentum in the way of the Razorbacks.

Jacob is the managing editor of Arkansas Fight! We appreciate you coming to our site for the free and truthful content we provide about the Razorbacks. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @jacobscottdavis.