Game time: 6:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Radio: Auburn Sports Network
How to watch online: http://www.secsports.com/watch
Odds: Auburn (-15.5), 52 (O/U)
Auburn fell 11 spots to No. 21 after blowing a 20-point lead last week in Baton Rouge. The Tigers have an opportunity on the road to bounce back against an Arkansas team that has, well ... not looked very good this season. (Not to mention they’ll be without senior quarterback Austin Allen.)
Auburn fans have been chatty this week, specifically about Gus Malzahn, but if his team takes care of business against the Razorbacks and looks good doing it, he’ll find some breathing room.
Arkansas offense vs. Auburn defense
Arkansas will be starting redshirt freshman quarterback Cole Kelley for only the second time in his career. Last week against Alabama, Kelley was 23 of 42 for 200 yards; he had one touchdown and one interception. Not bad against that Tide defense. Kelley spread the ball around in Tuscaloosa, tossing passes to eight different receivers. I wouldn’t suggest that LSU quarterback Danny Etling is elite, but he got it done last week against the Auburn secondary. There’s no reason to think Kelley will follow suit, but Auburn will have to play better in Fayetteville.
The Razorbacks have talent at running back, but they’re still trying to figure out the right mix of bodies on the offensive line. Going into their game against LSU, Auburn was giving up just 118 rushing yards per game. LSU, on the other hand, managed to get 157 yards on the ground, so it can be done.
Auburn offense vs. Arkansas defense
Some good news for Auburn is that the Razorbacks are not good at stopping the run. They gave up 308 rushing yards to Alabama last week and are giving up an average of 173 per game. Some bad news for Auburn is that offensive guard Mike Horton is questionable and center Casey Dunn is out this week. (Go back and watch the LSU game tape to note how impactful Casey Dunn’s absence was.) The weather in Fayetteville on Saturday night is supposed to be chilly and rainy, so expect Auburn to run the ball early and often. (Although, maybe not for 17 straight first down plays...)
Speaking of plays, let me give my two cents on playcalling. I’m not a football coach and I’m not in meeting rooms studying film all week, so I don’t know why/how/when coaches make decisions to do certain things during games. I do know that it doesn’t matter to me personally who calls plays, so long as those plays lead to winning football games. Just win, baby.
Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has those days. Last week in Baton Rouge was one of those days for Auburn. I think they’re angry and motivated, and I think they’ll beat Arkansas with ease.
Auburn 48, Arkansas 27