Heavyweight Tigers Too Much For Gimpy Hogs

After Auburn's Carnell "Cadillac" Williams ran through Arkansas' defense for 13 yards on a second-quarter carry, Hogs cornerback Darius Vinnett and Tigers tackle Marcus McNeill bowed up, chinstrap to wide eyes.

McNeill shoved Vinnett back with a big ol' taped up paw. Hopping mad, Vinnett pushed back, but McNeill easily held his ground.

Vinnett is 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds. McNeill stands 6-9 and weighs 332 pounds.

That pretty much symbolized this mismatch, especially with Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones too gimpy to be effective.

This wasn't a fair fight.

Saw this 38-20 Auburn knockout of Arkansas coming.

And think we see where No. 4 Auburn's going: To Miami's Orange Bowl for the BCS "national championship" matchup.

Folks, these Tigers are that good (and USC, Oklahoma and Miami are not).

"I thought we were very convincing," said Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville.

And Saturday, in front of 87,451 celebratory fans in Jordan-Hare Stadium that made more noise than we've heard all season, Arkansas was that bad.

While Jones, the Hogs' phenomenal senior, awkwardly struggled with the groin he pulled on the first snap and the Tigers attacked Hogs running backs like Great White Sharks hit baby seals, Arkansas again made special teams blunders (why in the name of Ken Hatfield does Cedric Washington keep starting to take a knee in the end zone, then try to run it out?) and Auburn quarterback Marcus Campbell kept Arkansas at bay with pin-point passing augmented by big-time rushing.

Auburn's offensive line gave Campbell (17 of 19 for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns) more than enough time to pick the Hogs' green secondary apart and created huge gaps, especially when Williams and Ronnie Brown ran wide, making Tigers running backs look like they were blowing past red-legged mannequins as they combined for 172 yards and 2 TDs.

"Offensively, I didn't think we could ever slow ‘em down," said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt.

They didn't.

When it was mercifully over, the Arkansas locker room was almost silent. There wasn't much to say. Except the obvious.

Arkansas senior defensive end Jeb Huckeba said Campbell and too many Auburn third down conversions sank the Hogs.

It didn't take long for the Tigers to flex their muscles. A minute and 10 seconds into this, Campbell took a pitch from Courtney Taylor then flipped the ball to Devin Aromashodu, who caught it around the Arkansas 33 and outran Michael Coe to the left corner of the end zone.

Before you could say, "Damn, they're good!" the Tigers led 7-0. Auburn had 30 points with almost five minutes left in the first half. Bet you were saying all sorts of colorful things by then.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Tigers fans were streaming back to their tailgates and Robert Johnson was the Arkansas quarterback.

Auburn piled 522 yards on Arkansas while the beat up Hogs (the visitors sideline was awash in ice and wrap) managed just 337, more than 100 shy of their average.

"I hate that we weren't full-speed," Nutt said. "I think we could've scored more points than people think."

Instead, it was Auburn which scored with the national CBS audience, and, surely, poll voters.

"I think it is great talk for all our fans," Tuberville said. "Our players and coaches are just blocking it out."

An ice pack strapped to his right shoulder, Jones tipped his helmet to the Tigers.

"They have a chance to do something special this year," Jones said. "They have a chance to go to the SEC Championship Game and, possibly, the national championship game."

Huckeba summed Saturday up best.

"They were just a better team," he said.

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