Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Auburn Tigers: Complete Game Preview

Ian BergCorrespondent IOctober 3, 2012

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Auburn Tigers: Complete Game Preview

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    The Arkansas Razorbacks travel to Auburn, Alabama this Saturday to take on the Auburn Tigers at 11:00 a.m. CT on ESPN2.

    This is the 22nd meeting between the Tigers and Razorbacks, with the Tigers leading the series 11-9-1 overall. The line for the game has Auburn as the favorite, but both teams have had issues down the stretch, especially Auburn, which enters the game 1-3, .

    The Tigers lead the series 5-3-1 at home, winning the 2010 matchup that went down to the wire. Last season, the Hogs blasted the Tigers in Fayetteville, Arkansas, 38-14. The Razorbacks are not nearly as potent on offense this fall, and lack the playmakers on defense that lead that 2011 team.

    This will be a key matchup for both of these teams, as they head into the important month of October seeking their first SEC wins.

    Here's all you need to know about the upcoming matchup between the Razorbacks and Tigers. 

Game-Day Information

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    Who: Arkansas at Auburn

    When: Saturday, 11 a.m. (CST)

    Where: Auburn, AL.

    Stadium: Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,541)

    Series History: 11-9-1 (Auburn)

    TV: ESPN2

    Radio: Auburn IMG Sports Network; Radio Listings

    Internet Stream: WatchESPN.com/ Radio feed on AuburnTigers.com through CBSSports.com College Network Stream subscription/ Auburn Mobile App 

Depth Chart for the Auburn Tigers

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    Offense            
    Position Number   Name  Height Weight  Class
    Quarterback      10 Kiehl Frazier   6'2"    226   So.   
    Wildcat QB      12 Jonathan Wallace   6'2"   197   Fr.  
    Running Back      23 Onterio McCalebb   5'11"   173   Sr.  
           21 Tre Mason   5'10"    198   So.  
           22 Mike Blakely   5'9"   206   Rs. Fr.  
    Full Back      35 Jay Prosch   6'0"   260   Jr.  
    Wide Receiver      80 Emory Blake   6'2"    193   Sr.  
           18 Sammie Coates   6'2"   200   Rs. Fr.  
    Wide Receiver       1  Trovon Reed   6'0"   190   So.  
            8 Anthony Morgan   5'11"   197   Sr.  
    Tight End      43 Philip Lutzenkirchen   6'5"   255   Sr.  
           11 Brandon Fulse   6'4"   249   So.  
    Left Tackle      73 Greg Robinson   6'5"   311   Rs. Fr.  
           72 Shon Coleman   6'6"   302   Rs. Fr.  
    Left Guard      71 John Sullen   6'5"   313   Sr.  
           63 Alex Kozan   6'4"   294   Fr.  
    Center      50 Reese Dismukes   6'3"   293   So.  
           65 Tunde Fariyike   6'2"   301   So.   
    Right Guard      62 Chad Slade   6'5"   301   So.  
           75 Christian Westerman   6'4"   298   Rs. Fr.  
    Right Tackle      51 Patrick Miller   6'7"   288   Fr.  
           56 Avery Young   6'6"   295   Fr.  
    Defense            
    Defensive End     95 Dee Ford   6'2"    246   Sr.  
          13 Craig Sanders   6'4"   257   Jr.  
    D. Tackle     54 Jeffrey Whitaker   6'4"   307   Jr.  
          90 Gabe Wright   6'3"   299   So.  
    D. Tackle     98 Angelo Blackson   6'4"   308   So.  
          92 Kenneth Carter   6'4"    289   Jr.  
    Defensive End     55 Corey Lemonier   6'4"   246   Jr.  
          10 Ladarius Owens   6'2"   260   So.  
    Strong-side LB     35 Jonathan Evans   5'11"   231   Sr.  
          26 Justin Garrett   6'1"   215   S.  
    Middle LB      5  Jake Holland   6'1"   241   Jr.  
          30 Cassanova McKinzy   6'3"   243   Fr.  
    Weak-side LB     25 Daren Bates   5'11"   215   Sr.  
          17 Kris Frost   6'2"   233   Rs. Fr.  
    Cornerback     11 Chris Davis   5'11"   200   Jr.   
           6 Jonathon Mincy   5'10"   190   So.  
    Free Safety     12 Demetruce McNeal   6'2"   187   Jr.  
          31 Trent Fisher   6'1"   200   So.  
    Strong Safety      9 Jermaine Whitehead   5'11"   202   So.  
          24 Ryan Smith   6'2"   204   Jr.  
    Cornerback     19 Ryan White   5'11"   198   Jr.  
          15 Joshua Holsey   5'11"   188   Fr.  
    Kicker     36 Cody Parkey   6'0"   194   Jr.  
    Punter     30 Steven Clark   6'5"   232   Jr.  
    Kick Return     23 Onterio McCalebb   5'11"   174   So.  
           1 Trovon Reed   6'0"   190   So.  
    Punt Return      1 Trovon Reed   6'0"   190   So.  
           5 Ricardo Louis   6'2"   210   Fr.  

Depth Chart for the Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Position Number  Name Height  Weight  Class 
    Offense      
    Quarterback      8 Tyler Wilson   6'3"   220  Sr.
          10 Brandon Allen   6'3"   212  Fr.
    Running Back      7 Knile Davis   6'0"   226  Jr.
          33 Dennis Johnson   5'9"   213  Sr.
          20 Ronnie Wingo   6'3"   231  Sr.
    Wide Receiver     82  Mekale McKay   6'6"   190  Fr.
          81 Demetrius Wilson   6'3"   180  Jr.
    Wide Receiver     11 Cobi Hamilton   6'3"   209  Sr.
          19 Javontee Herndon   6'1"   204  Jr.
    Wide Receiver      15 Keante Minor   6'0"   205  So.
           4 Keon Hatcher   6'2"   205  Fr.
    Tight End     80 Chris Gragg   6'3"   242  Sr.
          87 Austin Tate   6'6"   253  Jr.
    Left Tackle     69 David Hurd    6'6"   300  Jr.
          70 Chris Stringer   6'7"   304  So.
    Left Guard     76 Tyler Deacon   6'4"   300  Sr.
          75 Luke Charpentier   6'4"    305  So.
    Center     64 Travis Swanson   6'5"   305  Jr.
          65 Mitch Smothers   6'4"   296  So.
    Right Guard     67 Alvin Bailey   6'5"    312  Jr.
          75 Luke Charpentier   6'4"   305  So.
    Right Tackle     74 Brey Cook   6'7"    308  So. 
          71 Jason Peacock   6'4"   305  Sr.
    Defensive End     86 Trey Flowers   6'4"   243  So.
          41 Austin Flynn   6'5"    260  Jr.
    D. Tackle     92 DeQuinta Jones   6'5"   299  Sr.
          98 Robert Thomas   6'3"   308  Jr.
    D. Tackle     54 Byran Jones   6'2"    312  Jr.
          51 Alfred Davis   6'1"    318  Sr.
    Defensive End     42 Chris Smith   6'3"   251  Jr.
          90 Colton Miles-Nash   6'6"   261  Sr.
    Strong-side LB     39 Jarrett Lake   6'3"   223  Jr.
          24 Daunte Carr   6'3"    224  So.
    Middle LB     43 Tenarius Wright   6'2"   252  Sr.
          36  Kiero Small   5'10"    255  Sr.
    Weak-side LB     45 Alonzo Highsmith   6'1"   233  Sr.
          25 Terrell Williams   6'3"    232  Sr.
    Cornerback      8  Tevon Mitchel   6'0"      185  So.
           0 Kaelon Kelleybrew   5'10"   174  Fr.
    Free Safety     35 Ross Rasner   6'0"    212   Sr.
           27 Alan Turner   6'0"    212  So.
    Strong Safety     14 Eric Bennett    6'0"    206   Jr.
          26 Rohan Gaines   5'11"   190  Fr.
    Kicker     18 Zach Hocker   6'0"   180  Jr.
    Punter     14 Dylan Breeding   6'1"   211 

     Sr.

    Kick Return     33  Dennis Johnson   5'9"   213  Sr.
          15 Keante Minor   6'0"    205  So.
    Punt Return     33 Dennis Johnson   5'9"   213  Sr.
          20 Ronnie Wingo   6'3"   231  Sr.

What Happened to Auburn Last Week

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    Auburn had a bye-week last week, stopping some of the bleeding that has come with this season so far. The Tigers last took the field against No. 4 LSU, and finished with a heartbreaking loss.

    Auburn played the game as well as anyone could have hoped for defensively, holding the LSU offense to a its lowest yardage count of the season, 351 yards.

    There were a number of big plays that came from young players throughout the game for the Tigers. Joshua Holsey sticks out as a player that worked his way into the spotlight. A true freshman, Holsey made one of the best defensive plays of the game, stopping a touchdown pass to Russell Shepard late in the game in man coverage.

    Auburn also saw a lot of growth out of Tre Mason. Mason ended the game with a six-yards-per-carry average, and showed glimpses of all-star ability.

    The story of the day for Auburn was the defense. The interior defensive line played a much better game, forcing turnovers and stops throughout the contest. There were a few big runs that the Bayou Bengals were able to rip off, but the overall defensive line performance was very impressive.

    The Tigers held a 10-9 lead at halftime, but a mid-third-quarter fumble on a punt return by Quan Bray set the Bayou Bengals up with a short field.

    LSU was able to drive down the field and kick the game-winning field goal, taking the lead 12-10.

    Auburn had the chance to convert some key first downs and could have moved within field-goal range, but mishaps and penalties continued to haunt them, keeping them away from scoring position.

What Happened to Arkansas Last Week

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    Arkansas faced its worst loss of the season this past Saturday, losing to Texas A&M 58-10. The Razorbacks were in the game in the first quarter, but in short order the Aggies took over.

    Throughout the game there was an expectation that Tyler Wilson would pull the Hogs back into it, but he was nowhere near the comeback kid, throwing two interceptions and only one touchdown. The Arkansas rushing attack was also less than effective, finishing with only 142 yards on the ground.

    Cobi Hamilton had another big day for Arkansas, catching 11 passes for 162 yards. The senior continues to gain popularity and increase his name recognition as each game passes.

    The Arkansas defense is the more glaring issue right now for the Razorbacks. The Hogs looked absolutely terrible against the Texas A&M Aggies. A&M outgunned the Razorbacks on the outside, and they were able to create a lot of running room in the center of the line.

    The Aggies had 12 different players catch passes in the game against Arkansas. They were able to spread the ball around and create a lot of mismatches for the Arkansas defense.

    One of the most surprising things in the game was the pressure that the Aggies were able to get on the Razorbacks. Tyler Wilson was hit on virtually every throw by the last quarter. Wilson had issues getting his passes out before the rush hit, and lacked accuracy in the later quarters.

    Texas A&M was able to get its first SEC win in history in blowout fashion against the Razorbacks. John L. Smith firing rumors have begun.

    Easy folks, his contract is only for 10 months anyway. 

What It Means to Both Teams

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    This is a pivotal game for both Auburn and Arkansas. With both teams deep in the hole early in the season, this game will be a turning point. Before the season, this was expected to be a top- 25 matchup, not a morning kickoff game.

    For Arkansas, this could be a rallying point. Tyler Wilson could turn his mediocre season around and become the star that everyone expected.

    This could be a game that John L. Smith gets a nod of good faith, or is destroyed in the media and public forums yet again.

    The Razorbacks need this win or the season is finished. There is no way the Razorbacks will claw back from a 1-5 start.

    For Auburn, there is still a chance at a salvageable season. The Tigers have faced a lot of adversity with the wins they've earned so far this year, with an overtime win against Louisiana-Monroe not meeting the need of the average Auburn fan.

    The Tigers could use this win to launch themselves back into the competition highway, setting them up for a march to bowl eligibility. 

Key Player for Auburn

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    The Tigers head into the game against Arkansas struggling on offense. They are extremely inconsistent, and can’t find a groove.

    A big part of the problem for the Tigers has been the lack of a rushing attack. The Auburn offense is attempting to live off of a play-action passing game, and the Tigers are lacking consistency on the ground.

    That strategy doesn’t add up.

    Arkansas is getting torched by opposing defenses through the air, coming in at the No. 113 spot for pass-efficiency defense. Overall, the Razorbacks are ranked No. 116 in the country defensively, giving up 510 yards a game.

    Auburn’s best chance to gain a lot of yards and take the edge in the game is to follow Tre Mason to the end zone.

    Mason took the ball nine times two Saturdays ago against LSU, and was able to earn six yards a carry. Why hold Mason to less than 10 carries with that type of success?

    This Saturday, Mason needs to have another big game. Getting the ball to Mason 15 or more times will do wonders for the Tigers offense. 

Key Player for Arkansas

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    Knile Davis will be the key to the Arkansas game plan this Saturday against Auburn.

    Tyler Wilson will be a key player, but his day will rely on the ability of Davis to find rushing room and gain the attention of the Tigers defense.

    Through the first few weeks of the season, Davis is not having the type of year that he was expecting. This is the same back that told the media that he was the best back in the SEC.

    Davis is averaging 3.3 yards per carry right now, and has only accounted for two touchdowns on the ground.

    Watching the way that Texas A&M attacked the Arkansas offense, Auburn has a clear blueprint to beat Arkansas in the same fashion.

    The A&M defense was able to pin its ears back and tear through Wilson on a regular basis. There was no concern that the Razorbacks would get a big gain in the rushing game.

    Without Knile Davis creating some plays on the ground, the Tigers defense will be able to call for a free-for-all on Tyler Wilson, stopping any chance the Arkansas offense has at producing consistent, winning results this Saturday. 

Auburn Will Win If...

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    Auburn will win this game if two things go right.

    The Tigers have to get a quality pass rush on Tyler Wilson, and the offense has to move the ball on the ground. 

    If the Tigers can find ways to consistently get after Tyler Wilson, they will create a lot of issues for the Arkansas offense. Last week against Texas A&M the strategy was put in play to perfection. 

    Tyler Wilson was constantly staring down pressure and was forcing throws into holes that weren’t there, trying to get rid of the football before taking a sack. 

    Wilson has not looked impressive against a consistent pass rush this season. Even before he fell to injury against Louisiana-Monroe, he was having issues with the pass rush. Auburn has two of the best defensive ends in the league in Corey Lemonier and Dee Ford. They should make it a long game for Wilson.

    The second key to Auburn’s success is the run game. The Tigers will do two things by having success on the ground. 

    Auburn will give Kiehl Frazier confidence by providing consistent drives, and the run game will eat up the time of possession in the game. It doesn’t take long for Tyler Wilson and Cobi Hamilton to score on a defense. The less time they have with the ball, the better for Auburn. 

    Time of possession has been a struggle already this season for the Tigers. There hasn’t been a reliance on the ground game like there needs to be, pushing the Tigers into a lot of 3-and-out situations.

    If Auburn runs the ball and puts pressure on Wilson, the Tigers win this game.

Arkansas Will Win If...

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    The Arkansas Razorbacks need a big win this Saturday to gain back some hope of a productive season. Theoretically, the Razorbacks can still make it to a bowl game, but the turnaround has to happen now.

    Arkansas will win this game against Auburn if Tyler Wilson doesn’t turn the football over, and if the Hogs can stop the rushing attack for Auburn.

    Tyler Wilson is the gauge for the Arkansas team. Whenever Wilson is not able to perform, the Razorbacks lose big. Wilson can’t afford to give the ball away in this game. Every drive will count for the Hogs offense. Key interceptions are what gave Texas A&M the runaway win last Saturday.

    Auburn is going to try and run the ball to control the clock and keep the ball from the explosive Arkansas offense. Arkansas needs to focus on stopping the Tigers' rushing attack and keeping Auburn drives short. 

    Arkansas will be playing in a very hostile Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Razorbacks will be able to take the crowd out of the game with a fast start by limiting the Tigers drives. 

Game Prediction

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    Auburn and Arkansas both need this win. With only two wins between them, both teams are severely underperforming in the 2012 season. 

    Arkansas will look to pass on the Auburn defense, getting Cobi Hamilton the ball on the perimeter, allowing him to make plays for the Razorbacks. 

    The Tigers will look to limit the Arkansas passing attack by getting to Tyler Wilson consistently with the defensive pass rush. The Arkansas offensive line has struggled to keep opposing defenders off of Wilson this season, and that has led to the majority of Wilson’s turnovers. 

    If Auburn wants to stop the Arkansas pass, they can’t focus on Hamilton. If they do, they will get scorched. The defense needs to stay aggressive. 

    Auburn has to find yards on the ground against Arkansas. The key for Auburn will be time of possession and rushing yardage. The Tigers can control the Arkansas offense by keeping the football. 

    The Tigers have the ability to push for big yards on the ground, but to do it they have to be dedicated to the early downs and not put themselves in 2-and-longs early in the game. 

    This will be a fun game to watch on Saturday morning. This should jump-start what will be a great day of college football. 

    Auburn 31, Arkansas 17