2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 6 - Auburn at Arkansas
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Oct. 8 at Arkansas 38 … Auburn 14
CFN Analysis: The much-maligned defense that got steamrolled over by Alabama and Texas A&M showed up when it needed to the most. Auburn might have run for 291 yards, and Michael Dyer was great, but the ground game didn't control the game enough to overcome the big plays from the Hog offense and another strong game from Tyler Wilson. On fire, Wilson couldn't miss for a long stretch to take a close game and put it away, but after giving up 14 first quarter points, this game is about the Hog D. Jerry Franklin came up with 5 tackles and Alonzo Highsmith made 12, while Tramain Thomas was fantastic with nine tackles and two picks. The offense only lost one turnover, and that's a big, big deal on the road against Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. The only way the Hogs lose those two is by giving it away.
Is this now the Kiehl Frazier era? It might be too early to panic, but the Hogs didn't fear the Auburn passing game at all after Barrett Trotter completed just 6-of-19 passes for 81 yards and a pick. When the Tigers become really, really good again, it'll be Frazier, a freshman, under center, and while he completed 2-of-4 passes for 18 yards and two interceptions, he ran for 54 yards and a score. Michael Dyer is the offense, running for 112 yards and a score, but he needs help from a passing game to take the linebackers and safeties away. With two straight bad offensive games in the SEC, going against Florida and LSU over the next two weeks isn't a plus to turn things around unless Trotter and/or Frazier are far better.
(AP) FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Tyler Wilson threw for 262 yards on Saturday night, completing 19 straight passes at one point, leading No. 10 Arkansas to a 38-14 win over No. 15 Auburn.
Wilson, who set a school record with 510 passing yards in a win over Texas A&M last week, ended the first half against the Tigers by completing 18 straight passes. That included a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jarius Wright in the second quarter that gave the Razorbacks (5-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) their first lead at 21-14.
Wilson extended his streak to 19 in the third quarter before an incompletion ended the streak, which is the third longest in SEC history.
Joe Adams also had a 92-yard touchdown run on Arkansas' first play of the second half to push the lead to 28-14.
Michael Dyer led Auburn (4-2, 2-1) with 112 rushing yards, including a 55-yard scoring scamper in the first quarter.
However, Dyer had just 30 of those yards after the first quarter as the Tigers' run-heavy offense stalled time and again without the threat of a passing game. Auburn gained 395 yards in the loss, but it had just 104 yards passing -- with senior quarterback Barrett Trotter finishing 6 of 19 passing for 81 yards.
Freshman Kiehl Frazier did provide the Tigers a lift at quarterback, but most of his impact also came in the run game. Frazier had 54 yards rushing, including a 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but he also threw a pair of second-half interceptions for an Auburn team playing without leading receiver Emory Blake.
Still, his performance was likely enough to continue the clamor from Auburn fans for the freshman to see more time at quarterback.
Arkansas, on the other hands, had no such questions at quarterback.
After the Razorbacks failed to score in its first two possessions, Wilson led Arkansas on an 8-play, 71-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at 7-7. He set up Broderick Green's 6-yard scoring run with consecutive completions of 24 and 22 yards to Dennis Johnson and Joe Adams, respectively.
Wilson later ran for a 1-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal to tie the game at 14-14. He then capped the first-half scoring with a perfectly thrown pass over Auburn cornerback T'Sharvan Bell and into the hands of Wright to put the Razorbacks up 21-14.
The junior finished the game 24 of 36 passing with a pair of touchdown passes.
Tramain Thomas had two of Arkansas' three interceptions, helping the Razorbacks hold the Tigers scoreless in the second half. Senior linebacker Jerry Franklin led Arkansas with 15 tackles, while Alonzo Highsmith added 12 and Jerico Nelson 10.
Adams led the Razorbacks in rushing with all of his 92 yards coming on his one touchdown carry. The senior took a pitch from Wilson on the play before hurdling one Auburn defender, finding his way behind the block of tight end Chris Gragg and then exploding down the left sideline for the score.
Dennis Johnson, who had 97 yards of total offense -- 49 receiving and 48 rushing -- scored Arkansas' final touchdown on an 18-yard pass from Wilson in the fourth quarter.
Auburn (4-1) at Arkansas (4-1) Oct. 8, 7:00, ESPN/ESPN3
Here's The Deal … It might not have been a thing of beauty, and it was more because the other side lost than because the winning team took it, but Auburn managed to come away with a tough, dirty, nasty, ugly 16-13 win over South Carolina last week on the road to declare that it's not dead yet.
The 2011 Tigers are a shadow of the 2010 version, and they might be rebuilding and reloading thanks to a few great recruiting classes, but at 4-1 and 2-0 in conference play, they're still in the discussion. They might not be very good, but they're not boring and they have two nice wins against Mississippi State and South Carolina to show that they might end up having some say in the SEC West matter.
The schedule doesn't ease up with road games at LSU and Georgia still to deal with and home dates against Florida and Alabama, but the bar is set a little bit lower this year and the expectations are reasonable. No, Auburn isn't going to win the West, and it's not going to be in the mix for the national title, but it can be New Year's Day bowl worthy as one of the league's better teams. It'll take a win over Arkansas to get there.
Call this the equalizer for the Hogs. The world jumped off the bandwagon after a 38-14 drubbing from Alabama, but as it turns out, getting blown away by the Tide isn't an exclusive club. Coming back to beat Texas A&M with a jaw-dropping 510-yard passing day from Tyler Wilson was the momentum-saver, and now it's time to go on a run with winnable road dates at Ole Miss and Vanderbilt up next followed up by three straight home games against South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi State. This might not be the Arkansas team everyone was hoping for, but a win this week will all but ensure a terrific bowl bid while keeping West title dreams alive.
These two played a special game last year. Arkansas was up 43-37 in the fourth quarter, and then Cam Newton was Cam Newton leading the way to 28 unanswered points in a wild 65-43 win with 1,036 yards of total offense. With the way the two defenses have been playing, this could be a repeat performance.
Why Auburn Might Win: The Arkansas run defense has gone bye-bye, and the ground game has been non-existent That means Auburn might be able to use the exact same formula it concocted to beat South Carolina last week.
Tyler Wilson isn't going to stink it up like Stephen Garcia did, but it's possible that Auburn will feed the ball over and over and over again to Michael Dyer, who pounded away for 141 yards and a touchdown on 41 carries, to keep control of the game and the clock. The Tigers won because they held on to the ball for almost 36 minutes, the struggling defense came up with third down stops and got off the field, and the four takeaways made up for the four interceptions from the Auburn quarterbacks.
Arkansas is mediocre at hitting on third down plays, converting just 43.5% of the time, while the defensive front seven was gutted and gashed last week by Texas A&M for 381 yards and five touchdowns a week after allowing 197 yards and a score to Alabama. However …
Why Arkansas Might Win: The South Carolina win was an aberration in so many ways for Auburn. The Tigers weren't able to control the clock a lick in the other games and currently ranks 114th in the nation in time of possession. And why? It's because the offense is mediocre on converting its third down chances and it's usually miserable at stopping anyone from keeping the chains moving, ranking 118th in the nation in third down conversion percentage defense. If you're allowing teams to make the play 54.4% of the time on third downs, you have problems.
Auburn's secondary got destroyed by Clemson's Tajh Boyd, who threw for 386 yards and four touchdowns, and he was only targeting Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. Arkansas has the receiving corps to spread the ball all over the field and bomb away to whatever the best matchup is for Wilson. The way to stop the Arkansas passing game is with a pass rush that can blow past the mediocre Hog O line, but Auburn doesn't have one. Wilson should have as long as much time as he needs to throw.
What To Watch Out For: The loss to Auburn last year turned out to be Wilson's coming out party. Ryan Mallett was bombing away, but he got knocked out for the game. Wilson stepped in and threw two key picks, but he also rolled for 332 yards and four touchdowns as he tested the Tiger secondary all throughout the second half by fearlessly pushing the ball deep. He only has three picks so far this year with ten touchdown passes, but more than anything else, he's been a steady leader. There wasn't any panic against Texas A&M, he simply ran the offense, hit on his deep throws, and let his receives make big play after big play on the way to the phenomenal second half performance.
To have any shot, Auburn has to get to Wilson and at least apply a little bit of pressure. That's where Corey Lemonier comes in. The sophomore has just 16 tackles on the year, but he has three sacks including one in each of the last two games to go along with six quarterback hurries, and last week, a blocked kick. He saw limited action last year recording 17 tackles and two sacks, but he became more involved as the season progressed and made a couple of key tackles during the key goal line stand in the third quarter of the BCS National Championship Game. At 6-4 and 229-pounds he's not all that big, but he can move.
What Will Happen: Get your popcorn ready. As bogged down and mistake-filled as last week's Auburn-South Carolina game was, that's how exciting this week's shootout will be. There will be swings, big plays, and lots and lots of yards. Arkansas will pound it a little better than normal, and Auburn will run it a bit better than usual, but the Hog receiving corps will be the difference in a fun and wild ride.
CFN Prediction: Arkansas 41 … Auburn 30
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Arkansas -10 O/U: 63
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