AUBURN, Ala. – No. 11 Auburn gets a break from its tough early-season schedule when it hosts struggling Arkansas in an SEC matchup on Saturday. Auburn already has faced two teams currently ranked in the top 12, splitting those showdowns.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network. LINE: Auburn -30
The Tigers had their 13-game home winning streak snapped with last week’s 22-21 loss to LSU, as Cole Tracy booted a 42-yard field goal in the final seconds. They’ll try to bounce back against an Arkansas team that is off to a sluggish start in Chad Morris’ first season as coach and coming off an embarrassing 44-17 home loss to North Texas. Auburn has won four of the last five meetings and outscored the Razorbacks 108-23 over the past two seasons, but coach Gus Malzahn isn’t concerned about his team overlooking its opponent. “Last week, we lost a big game, so I don’t think you have to worry about being overconfident,” Malzahn told reporters. “In this game, we will get their best and we have to be ready to compete.”
ABOUT ARKANSAS (1-2)
Not much has gone right for the Razorbacks, who don’t really have the personnel to excel in Morris’ up-tempo offense. Devwah Whaley (205 yards, two touchdowns) has put up decent numbers, but six interceptions led to 24 points in the loss to North Texas, prompting Morris to give Ty Storey the start at quarterback this week in favor of Cole Kelley. The defense, which has been adequate against the run but torched through the air, expects to get back linebacker Dre Greenlaw from an ankle injury that sidelined him for two games.
ABOUT AUBURN (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
The Tigers have a strong ground game behind freshman JaTarvious Whitlow (254 yards, two TDs). The passing game has been effective as well, as Jarrett Stidham has thrown for 584 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, and 14 different receivers have caught a pass. Linebacker Deshaun Davis (4.5 tackles for loss) anchors the defense, which has been excellent against the run but had a tough time getting off the field on third down against LSU.
1. Auburn kickers have converted 237 consecutive extra-point attempts dating to 2013, the longest active streak in the FBS and the longest in SEC history.
2. Arkansas has not won its SEC opener since 2010 at Georgia.
3. Whitlow is the first Auburn freshman with back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances since Michael Dyer in 2010.
PREDICTION: Auburn 41, Arkansas 17