Arkansas and Auburn were not expecting to start the season the way they have. Auburn currently stands at 1-3, while Arkansas is 1-4. Both teams head into Saturday’s matchup needing a win to stay alive in the SEC.
The Razorbacks won their opening game against Jacksonville State 49-24. Since the win, they have lost four straight, including a shut out by Alabama, 52-0.
On the other hand, the Tigers are not doing much better. Their only win is an overtime victory against Louisiana-Monroe. Auburn has been outscored 66-39 in their three losses.
Just last season, Arkansas was one of the better teams in the SEC as they went 6-2, 10-2 overall. They finished behind LSU and Alabama. Auburn finished in fourth, going 4-4 in the conference and 7-5 overall.
This season, both teams are currently tied for last in the conference with a 0-2 record.
Auburn is struggling mostly because of the quarterback play of Kiehl Frazier. In his first year as starter, he’s thrown for 546 yards with seven interceptions and only two touchdowns. Although he’s played strong teams like Mississippi State and LSU, the Tigers need Frazier to make smarter decisions.
However, the Tigers lack of success is not just on Frazier. No matter how many times the ball is up in the air, it’s up to the receivers to make the catch.
Emory Blake has been Auburn’s most consistent wide receiver. He has 222 yards with one touchdown. The next closest receiver is Quan Bray with only 82 yards.
According to Foxsports.com, Auburn coach Gene Chizik said that the week off helped Frazier get back on track.
''I feel like any time he gets is certainly beneficial,'' Chizik said. “He spent a lot of time looking at one month's worth of cut-ups and game film and looking at his decision-making and looking at his technique.”
Auburn has seen their fair share of drops from their wide receivers so far in this early football season. If the receivers can keep the ball in their hands, they should have some success on Saturday as Arkansas has given up 349 passing yards per game.
Arkansas is still relying on the arm of Tyler Wilson. After the numbers he put up last year, you can’t blame them. He threw for 3638 yards with 24 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
With a great quarterback, come great wide receivers. Cobi Hamilton is currently leading the team with 591 yards and four touchdowns. Chris Gragg is behind him with 234 yards and two touchdowns.
Who will win Saturday's matchup?
However, it won’t matter how many yards Wilson throws for if their defense can’t stop the opposing offense. The defense has allowed 130 first downs and 804 rushing yards in five games.
Auburn’s defense is not much better, though. In four games, they allowed 833 rushing and 844 receiving yards. With the way both teams’ defenses are playing, I expect this game to be a shootout.
Both teams are great on the offensive side of the ball. Though, in order for them to get back to being SEC powerhouses, their defenses needs to play at a much higher level.
It’s obvious that Arkansas have fallen farther from grace. For Arkansas to have four losses at this point in the season with the offensive weapons they have is disappointing. They had only two all of last year.
If Arkansas wins the rest of its games, the overtime loss to ULM could come back to haunt them.