Campbell Makes Soup Of Visiting Razorbacks

Jason Campbell set a school record with his pinpoint passing performance as Auburn stayed unbeaten with a 38-20 victory over Arkansas.

Auburn, Ala.--A magnificent, record-setting passing performance by Jason Campbell led the Tigers to a key 38-20 divisional victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks and put the Tigers on the inside track in their drive toward the SEC Championship Game.

Campbell completed 17-19 passes for a career-high 297 yards and could have thrown for many more yards if Auburn had not decided to burn the clock much of the second half after building a big halftime lead. He threw touchdown passes to Devin Aromashodu, Courtney Taylor and Ben Obomanu and was almost automatic when a big play was needed.

Auburn improved its record to 7-0 with its ninth straight victory dating back to the 2003 Alabama game. The Tigers have placed themselves in a position to be one of the top teams when the first Bowl Championship Series rankings are released on Monday.

Campbell's 89.1 completion percentage is the best in school history in a game with a minimum of 15 attempts. His 210 first half yards were a career personal high for a first half and his 297 total was a personal high, too.

The senior quarterback says the 7-0 start is something to enjoy. "It is great for Auburn," he said. "It is great for the university. It is great for the people. It is great for the team. We have been working hard. The main thing we want to do is continue to stay focused and play one week at a time."

Campbell's new position coach and offensive coordinator, Al Borges, wouldn't call it the best performance by one of his quarterbacks, but said Campbell would be on a very short list of the best when recounting similar days as a passer.

Borges, who put in a dozen new plays this week to throw the Razorbacks off balance because they had two weeks to prepare for the Tigers, said that he had seen similar defenses over the years in the Big Ten and Pac 10 and had a good idea of how to attack it. However, he deflected the praise saying, "It's nice to have a plan, but it is even better to have the guys who can execute it," Borges said. "When you throw 19 passes and complete 17 passes that goes way beyond knowing the opponent's defense."

Head coach Tommy Tuberville, who squared his AU record at 3-3 vs. his homestate team, said he couldn't be more impressed with his senior quarterback. "It doesn't get any better than that. The guy was on target. We knew we were going to throw the ball down the field some, but we got in some third down situations where we needed to throw it.

"The thing about Jason, if you noticed it several times he could have run the ball, but it threw it to open receivers and completed it and kept the chains the moving. Jason just gets better every week. His protection has been good. He is learning how to step up in the pocket, which he hasn't done in the past. I am just proud for him."

Devin Aromashodu catches a 67-yard touchdown pass from Jason Campbell on the Tigers' first posession of the game.

Wide receiver Anthony Mix said he is enjoying the ride as his senior quarterback continues to play like a champion and Borges' offense continues to come through for the Tigers.

"Coach Borges is calling the right plays and putting us in situations to make plays," Mix said. "Jason is real poised back there. He is making the plays, taking the lick when he has to and is just a great quarterback right now."

Auburn safety Junior Rosegreen, who has to play pass defense against Campbell day after day in practice, is certain that his friend is headed for an All-SEC season. "To me Jason is showing that he is the best quarterback in the SEC," Rosegreen said. "As long as he keeps doing his thing there is no doubt in my mind that everybody will give him his props."

The first quarter delighted the sellout crowd with the Auburn offense as sharp as it has been all season.

On the third play of the game, Al Borges went to a previously undisplayed page in his playbook with a razzle-dazzle flea flicker that gave the Tigers a quick 7-0 lead.

Williams took a handoff from Campbell and gave the ball to Courtney Taylor on a reverse. The wide receiver flipped the ball back to Campbell who threw to Devin Aromashodu, who was behind the Arkansas defense.

Although the ball was slightly underthrown into a brisk wind from the south, Aromashodu showed his speed and his pulled away from the defense for a 67-yard touchdown just one minute and 10 seconds into the first quarter.

Arkansas responded with a strong drive, moving 49 yards on 10 plays. The drive stalled at the Auburn 34 when Travis Williams deflected a fourth down and nine pass from Jones.

Auburn made the score 10-0 by moving 56 yards on seven plays. A 22-yard run by Williams was the biggest play on the possession that ended with a fourth and two at the Arkansas 10. Tuberville called for the field goal and John Vaughn's kick made it 10-0 with 8:02 left in the first quarter.

After a three and out for the Razorback offense, the Tigers went the distance on their third possession. Campbell hit Aromashodu for 21 yards and Taylor for 11 before throwing a perfect 30-yard TD strike to Taylor, who streaked straight for the end zone when the Razorbacks jumped offsides just ahead of the snap. The 80-yard drive took just seven plays as the Tigers moved ahead 17-0 with 3:31 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers scored on their next possession for another touchdown. Ronnie Brown, who rushed for 101 yards on 15 carries, powered in from a yard out on third and goal to cap a drive that covered 53 yards on nine plays.

Jones almost negated the Auburn score by racing 54 yards on first down from the 20 after the Auburn kickoff. Once again on fourth down, the defense stepped up and Jones and the Razorbacks turned the ball over on downs as a pass was incomplete.

The Tigers took over at their 27 and took just eight plays to score again to go on top 30-0 with 4:36 left in the first half. That was the score that ended Auburn's consecutive makes streak on points after touchdown. Vaughn made his first try, but the Tigers received a five-yard penalty for not having enough men on the line of scrimmage. He pushed his second effort, which was pressured by the defense, wide right.

At the half the Tigers totaled 322 yards with 112 on the ground on 23 running plays and 210 in the air as Campbell was on target. He hit 11-12 passes for two touchdowns.

Arkansas couldn't move the ball consistently, but did end the half with lots of yardage. Its 205 yards on 33 plays included 105 on 17 running plays and 100 more in the air as Jones was 7-16 passing.

Arkansas put together its best drive on its final possession of the half moving 73 yards on eight plays. The touchdown came on a second and nine play from the Tiger 19. Jones stayed in the pocket without pressure and found wideout Chris Baker, who was open in the end zone on a crossing route. The score came with 1:06 left.

After Anthony Mix was called for a block in the back on the kickoff return, the Tigers started at their own eight and decided to have Campbell take a knee twice and take the 30-7 lead into the dressing room at the half.

The Razorbacks took the second half kickoff and quickly moved 74 yards on just five plays. Jones found flanker Steven Harris open just behind cornerback Kevin Hobbs on a 61-yard play. Hobbs split time with Montae Pitts on Saturday.

The Tigers looked like they would respond, but Mix lost a fumble on the Arkansas 12-yard line after catching a third down pass that would have given Auburn a first down.

The Jordan-Hare Stadium crowd got into the game in a big-time way on the next Arkansas possession. The Razorbacks converted a third down because of an illegal participation penalty on the Tigers, but had to punt and did it badly. The Jacob Skinner punt traveled just 14 yards before going out of bounds putting Auburn in business at the Arkansas 43.

Campbell was magnificent again in converting a pair of third and longs for first downs and then finding Obomanu in the end zone vs. one on one coverage and hitting him for a 19-yard TD. The Tigers then ran a spread formation for a two-point conversion and Campbell hit uncovered Obomanu in the flat for two more points and a 38-14 lead.

Arkansas added a fourth quarter touchdown when backup quarterback Brandon Cox tried to throw a sideline route and was picked off Vickiel Vaughn, who ran it back 40 yards to set up a touchdown pass by backup QB Brandon Kenney, who found Robert Johnson on a four-yard pass in the flat. A pass for two failed leaving AU ahead 38-20 with 3:39 left.

Carnell Williams rushed for 71 yards on 16 carries and Aromashodu became the first AU receiver to have a 100-yard game with his total of 102 on four catches. Auburn netted 225 on the ground for a total of 522 yards to 337 for Arkansas.

Matt Jones led the Razorbacks with four carries for 54 yards and hit hit 12-27 passes for 189 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. He played the game at less than full speed as he pulled a groin muscle on the first pass play of the game."

Box Score

The Tigers return to action next Saturday with a 1:30 p.m. SEC home game vs. the Kentucky Wildcats.


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