Arkansas Football: Winners and Losers from Razorbacks' Win vs. Auburn
In a game that pitted two top 15-ranked teams against each other on Saturday, the Arkansas Razorbacks made this meeting a rather one-sided affair.
Arkansas (5-1, 1-1 SEC) started out slow, but then the defense showed up and put a halt to just about anything Auburn tried to do after the first quarter, which turned this game ugly in a hurry. Bouncing back from its ugly loss to Alabama, Arkansas notched its first win in the SEC for the year with this 38-14 win at home.
Auburn fell to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the SEC and seemed to find out the hard way that Arkansas is the real deal. The Tigers struggled on offense and made three costly turnovers that tilted the game in Arkansas' favor.
With the Razorbacks putting on such an impressive performance, there are more positives than negatives to take away from this game. What follows is a list of some winners and a losers for the Razorbacks from their game on Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark.
Winner: Arkansas' Defense
Perhaps the most impressive thing to take away from this game was the play of the Arkansas defense.
After giving up touchdowns in their first four series’ on the field, the Razorbacks went on to shut out Auburn’s offense for the rest of the game. After the second touchdown the Hogs gave up to Kiehl Frazier in the first quarter, some of the defensive statistics are downright startling.
The Razorbacks only allowed Auburn to tally 173 yards and forced three interceptions from the second quarter on.
They also gave up a grand total of 104 passing yards for the game. Yes, for the entire game. Looking at that makes you think Auburn runs some crazy triple option offense from back in your grandpa's day, but it doesn't.
They Tigers were just completely incapable of throwing the ball.
I am well aware that Auburn is not exactly the most potent offense though the air, but whenever you hold a ranked opponent to a 36 percent completion percentage, the defense deserves a nice pat on the back.
Winner: Tyler Wilson
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So far this season, quarterback Tyler Wilson is the man.
After getting treated like the little red-headed stepchild against Alabama, he went on to post a school-record 510 yards last week in a win against Texas A&M. Then this week, he came out and led the Razorbacks to another win over a top 15-ranked team when the Hogs dismantled Auburn.
Not only is Wilson helping fans look past the bad loss to Alabama by knocking out ranked foes, he is making a name for himself with his play since then.
Now, with wins in both of the Razorbacks' past two games, Wilson is leading a team that is ranked in the top 10 again with five very winnable games remaining until a showdown with number one LSU.
After this performance, there is some chatter starting up about Wilson on the national scene. He is starting to make a name for himself, and by season's end, could very well be the premiere quarterback in the conference if he continues to play at this level.
Loser: Arkansas' Ground Game
OK, I know, Arkansas had 172 yards on the ground. That looks real good. But take a deeper look and you’ll see that 92 of those came on one single run by Joe Adams on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.
Even though everyone loves 92-yard runs, when one play constitutes over 52 percent of your ground game, that is not a good thing.
Though the Razorbacks did not need the run in this game because of their defense and passing efficiency, this is something to keep an eye on. You cannot count on the big play on a regular basis, and if you take that play away, Arkansas had a tough time running the ball.
The Hogs were able to make due and pull out a decisive win over an SEC opponent and mask this issue to a degree, but this is issue they have had all season.
So far this season they ranked 92nd in rushing compared to all FBS schools. If Arkansas wants to even have a shot against LSU at the end of the year, being respectable in the running game is what will give the offense a shot.
Winner: Coach Petrino
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This game was huge for head coach Bobby Petrino and the program. This was the third game in a row against a ranked opponent and came out of that run with a 2-1 record, which will make just about anyone with realistic expectations happy.
Being able to refocus the team after their humbling defeat in Alabama is something that cannot be overlooked. With this win, coupled with their comeback win over Texas A&M, the Razorbacks have firmly planted themselves in the top 10 in the country for what can be weeks to come.
What we are also starting to see here is potentially another star quarterback wearing a Razorback uniform under the tutelage of Petrino. Having a player like Wilson step in after having a quarterback to the caliber of Ryan Mallet shows the strength of the program that Petrino is leading in Fayetteville, Ark.
Winning their last two games has put the Hogs on a national stage yet another season. With five more winnable games on the horizon before a showdown against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Arkansas can make its way even higher up the rankings as the season moves on.