Facing quarterback Matt Jones and the prolific Arkansas offense, Auburn's defense was in for a huge test, but the Tiger offense was the one that stole the show. Putting 30 first half points on the board and all but putting the game out of reach, quarterback Jason Campbell and company freed up the defense to attack in the second half, something that linebacker Antarrious Williams said has become a luxury for the defense this season.
"It helps a lot because it gives us an energy boost and gets the crowd into the game," Williams said. "I think our offense did a real good job of doing that. We just give kudos to Coach Borges. He did a real good job with his game plan. We're fighting together and we know if they're going out and putting up points they are fighting for us as a team. We just have to go out and hold up our end of the stick as well."
Antarrious Williams and the Auburn defense wraps up an Arkansas ball carrier in Saturday's game.
The defense did just that with a solid tackling game on Jones and running backs Decori Birmingham and De'Arrius Howard. Auburn held Arkansas to just 128 rushing yards, well below its season average. Forced to throw the ball early and often, Jones completed just 12 of 27 passes for 189 yards. Junior defensive lineman Tommy Jackson said having so many points early really let the defense pin its ears back and go after the Razorback passing game.
"That really gives you a comfort level," Jackson said. "You feel like we can get after them because our offense is going to put up points. Those guys are playing good, playing great football. What we can do is play extremely hard and feel like whatever mistakes we make they've got our backs. That's the key to having a family."
Confidence is running high right now for the Tigers following another impressive conference victory. That's something that was present very little during the last few seasons on the Plains on both sides of the ball. Jackson said the relationships and closeness of this team makes it different than any he's been around.
"I think we have confidence in each other more than the confidence we have in stopping them," Jackson said. "It's not really that, but we believe in each other. We believe in the offense so much. We believe in giving them the ball and letting them put points up. The big thing for us is to go out each game and work really hard and get that to happen."
Sometimes things don't work out as planned and the opponent hits the Tigers for a big play. It happened twice on Saturday as Jones popped a 54 yard run and also hit for a 61 yard touchdown pass to Steven Harris. Redshirt freshman Quentin Groves said the only thing a defense can do it forget about those plays and move forward, something the Tigers did a good job of Saturday.
"It gives us a lot of confidence," Groves said of coming back strong after a big play. "We feel like we can line up and stop anybody if we play our defense. Our coaches stress to us one play at a time. If a big play happens just line up and go to the next play. You just have to go on because no matter what you do, you can't rewind the play and go back. You just keep going."
Auburn now begins preparations for the Kentucky Wildcats and another SEC match-up. Before that happens the first BCS polls of the year will come out on Monday. Jackson said that while people are beginning to talk about championships down the road the team doesn't want to get ahead of itself too much because all it takes is one loss for everything to fall apart.
"We appreciate people having that vote of confidence," Jackson said. "That's great, but if you don't win your next ball game there is no BCS talk period. We're worrying about Kentucky now. They're coming in and they're dangerous. Every game from here on out is important. You have to win."