Razorbacks Overpower AU to Take SEC West Lead

A report from Jordan-Hare Stadium is featured on a 27-10 Arkansas football victory over Auburn.

Auburn, Ala.--Arkansas beat the number two out of Auburn on Saturday and in the process took the lead in the SEC West.

The Razorback offense rushed for 279 yards to lead the charge. Tailback Darren McFadden led the charge with 145 yards and one score on 28 carries. Felix Jones added 104 rushing yards and one score on 28 carries.

The Razorback defense was impressive, too, holding the Tigers to 60 net rushing yards. Tiger star Kenny Irons, who dominated the Arkansas defense last year, was held to 75 yards on 15 carries and no scores.

Even the normally rock-solid kicking game abandoned the Tigers, who gave the Razorbacks a short field to score their third touchdown after a 19-yard punt by Kody Bliss.

The 27-10 victory was such a delight for Arkansas coach Houston Nuttt that he went into the stands to celebrate with the small contingent of Razorback fans who made the trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said the Razorbacks outcoached his team and outplayed the Tigers. He said there was no looking ahead to next week's game vs. Florida for his team that was ranked second nationally, but it is sure to drop like a rock in next week's poll.

"We started the week off by making sure our guys fully understood this was the most important game we are probably going to play all year long because they are the only other (SEC West) undefeated team," Tuberville said.

Tuberville took the blame as Auburn dropped to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the SEC while Arkansas improved to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the league.

"This not the players' fault, this is my fault," Tuberville said. "We have got to get systems, whether it is offense or defense, plays called, defensive calls, to help what kind of talent we have. We almost didn't do it last week. And we surely didn't do it this week. That starts with me. The players are giving good effort. I have got no problem with that. They are going to continue to give good effort. This is a good group of guys. Today we just got bea. In no uncertain terms did anything else happen."

Auburn's offense was hold to just 213 yards of offense after running over the Razorbacks last season in Fayetteville. "They came in to win this game," Tuberville said. "They came in to press us, put pressure on us. They did exactly that and it worked. It was a good game plan by a good football team."

Senior tailback Kenny Irons said he believes the Tigers will continue to be a major factor in the SEC race. "We just got to work our way back up to the top," Irons said. "We have to come back to the practice field on Sunday ready to work hard and get better."

Auburn opened the game with a pair of 11-yard gainers on a run by Kenny Irons and a pass from Brandon Cox to Rodgeriqus Smith. However, the third play went awry as Tre Smith attempted a halfback throwback pass to Cox. Smith was tackled for an 11-yard loss and the Tigers couldn't get out of that hole and punted to the Razorbacks.

The visitors put together a 10-play drive that covered 60 yards on their first possession. Jeremy Davis finished it with a 34-yard field goal with 7:56 left in the opening quarter.

Auburn's hole quickly grew deeper after a three and out for the offense. Arkansas scored in just five plays.

On third and six, Mitch Mustain got his pass off just ahead of the Auburn blitz and found wide receiver Marcus Monk on a short pass with one on one coverage with cornerback Jonathan Wilhite. Monk got away from the defensive back and with no safety help for the Tigers he scored on a 50-yard play. That put the Razorbacks up 10-0 with 3:43 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers responded by driving 90 yards on 10 plays to cut the lead to 10-7 early in the second quarter. The scoring play was a 24-yard pass to Rodgeriqus Smith on third and 13.

Auburn had a chance to go for a tie on its next possession, but the Tigers decided not to kick a 51-yard field goal with the wind and went for a fourth and five. Cox rolled left, couldn't find a receiver and tried to run for the first down, but came up four yards short.

Darren McFadden is tackled by Auburn's Aairon Savage.

The Razorbacks got their seven-point lead back just two plays later. With five minutes to play in the first half, McFadden found a hole in the middle of the AU defense and raced untouched 63 yards for a score.

On the following kickoff Brad Lester hesitated running out of the end zone, but fortunately for the Tigers he decided to go for it. His 68-yard return put Auburn in great field position at the Razorback 32.

The Tigers managed a first down, but on fourth and 10 John Vaughn kicked a 36-yard field goal with 1:50 left in the period to end the first half scoring.

At halftime the Tigers had given up 231 yards on 23 Razorback plays while gaining 177 on their 38 plays.

The Razorbacks stretched the lead to 24-10 after a 19-yard punt by Kody Bliss, who mishit a running rugby style punt. That put the Razorbacks in great field position at the Tiger 34.

Four plays later Felix Jones scored from a yard out at left end on a third and one play with 4:54 left in the third period.

The Tigers then put together a drive, but turned the ball over on downs on the last play of the third quarter. On third down, a bad exchange set up a fourth and nine from the Arkansas 35. Cox dropped back to pass, but was overwhelmed and sacked for a 10-yard loss.

Auburn got the ball back with 11:51 and a major need to score. However, the Tigers couldn't move the ball off their 11-yard line and punted. By the time the offense got the ball back it was too late with the Razorbacks adding a 22-yard insurance field goal with 3:53 to play.

Brad Lester rushed for 28 yards on four carries and caught a pass for two yards.

Rodgeriqus Smith caught four passes for 64 yards for the touchdown on a day in which Cox completed 17-29 passes for 153 yards, but he was sacked five times for 42 yards in losses.

Safeties Eric Brock and Aairon Savage led the defense with 11 sacks apiece. and Karibi Dede added nine.

The Tigers stay in the conference for another week as they take on the Florida Gators at 6:45 p.m. next Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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