Where was Arkansas the last time they defeated a second ranked team?
It was the fifth game of the 2006 season, fresh off a victory over SEC foe, Alabama, in a 24-23 thriller. The Razorbacks were on the road with national television audience with an 11 AM start. Heck, Auburn didn’t even allow a rushing touchdown heading into the game against Arkansas.
This week is the fifth week of the college football season, and Arkansas fresh off a victory over SEC rival, Texas A&M. They head on the road to Athens to face the Georgia Bulldogs with an 11 AM start and a nationally televised game. The Georgia Bulldog defense has yet to allow a single rushing touchdown in 2021.
Are the stars aligning for Arkansas to steal a game on the road? The Hogs were not ranked on a warm October morning. They were pretty good underdogs after previously being blown out in the second half in the season home against the top-ranked USC Trojans, 50-14. This victory over the Tigers is what really swung the momentum in Arkansas’ favor on their way to winning 10 straight games in 2006.
Looking back at the game Arkansas’ defense attacked the football similar to the one in 2021. Red helmets gang tackling their opponent , forcing turnovers and blitzing really made the Tigers uncomfortable all day.
Offensively it was Arkansas running down the throat of the Auburn defense with star running back Darren McFadden rushing for 145 yards and a 67 yard touchdown run.
“We want people to respect us,” said McFadden.
That’s what Arkansas wants this weekend. Not that they are not already receiving love and admiration for the 4-0 start to the 2021 season. Sam Pittman has established confidence back into this Arkansas program. He wants his band of wild hogs to not back down from a single opponent.
I can see Sam Pittman saying:
“Oh, they’re the number two team in the country with a ferocious defense? Who cares! We are the University of Damn Arkansas and I one can stop us but ourselves.”
On that day, Arkansas punched Auburn in the mouth on both sides of the ball. They were the more physical team that day and ran for 279 yards on the third best defense in the country at the time.
Arkansas’ defense only gave up 213 total yards that day, too. 60 of those yards were on 31 Auburn carries for a 1.9 yard per carry average. That’s definitely something Arkansas will need to do to find themselves with a W on Saturday.
The Hogs have a very good backfield rushing for over 250 yards per game. Their offensive line is very physical and can open up holes nearly every play. The only difference in this week’s game and the 2006 game against Auburn is the quarterback position.
Mitch Mustain was a true freshman in his first road SEC start. He didn’t turn the ball over and was an efficient 7-for-10 and 87 yards on the day.
How will KJ Jefferson perform in his first start against a nationally top two team? Arkansas will need him to play admirably if Arkansas plans on coming back home with a win.
Will history repeat itself this Saturday as Arkansas ascends as national darlings? Will the still be wearing the Cinderella slipper?