Arkansas vs Auburn: Razorbacks Coming Together

Donald FincherAnalyst IOctober 14, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Texas A&M Aggies at Cowboys Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Arkansas had a good win this past Saturday.  Auburn was on a five game winning streak while Arkansas had one decent win against Texas A&M to even their record at 2-2.  The home team had lost this game seven of the last eight years which did not bode well for Arkansas entering the game.  Gus Malzahn would pull out all the stops to do what he couldn't do last year at Tulsa and beat the Hogs.

But that storyline didn't work out.  Arkansas put this game away early.  Once up 34-3, the Hogs put it on cruise control and let down a bit.  However, when the other team has to score four touchdowns and two-point conversions just to take the lead and that's if Arkansas were to score no more points going forward, it's hard to keep up the intensity.

Last week, I said in this space that I thought Arkansas would find their rhythm early, limit Auburn's time of possession, and make Auburn play uncomfortable, mistake-prone football by having to play from behind.  I further said that Auburn's defense had not been tested like Mallett would test them.

Finally, I said that the Auburn game would be a measuring stick as to whether Arkansas was as good as they looked against A&M or as bad as they looked against Bama.  Some disagreed that the Auburn game could be so indicative.  But, to me at least, it appears that it was.

Auburn clearly seems now to have been overrated.  But they are dangerous and they do have a fairly prolific offense that was to be matched up against Arkansas' previously porous defense.  Therefore, it was widely believed that unless Arkansas found a run game and stopped being such a one-dimensional passing team, Auburn would win the shootout.

So it was a significant win for Arkansas.  What does it mean for the Razorbacks season?  It certainly is a confidence booster.  The Razorbacks haven't won back to back games since the first two cupcakes last year (and both of those were pulled out in the last minute). 

It will give them some confidence and a feeling that their back isn't so against the wall going into Florida.  Florida would have to help Arkansas win the game but they have done that at times in the past with teams that they should have beaten (such as Ole Miss last year) so it's not outside the realm of possibility, but it's certainly unlikely.

But Florida aside, with Ole Miss slumping and QB Snead getting a first hand experience of Nutt the quarterback killer and with LSU not looking as impressive as we thought they might, it is conceivable that Arkansas could win the rest of their games outside of Florida.  The Auburn game was a key to getting the needed confidence.

Now we watch and wait and hope that Arkansas wins seven or eight (or nine) games instead of just six games so as to go to a real bowl rather than that excuse for a bowl that resides in Shreveport.