Auburn "D" Gets Dominated

Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp says his team prepared for Arkansas' rushing attack, but on Saturday that didn't matter.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn defense got a good old fashioned butt-kicking in a 27-10 loss to Arkansas. The Razorbacks didn't do anything fancy as both Darren McFadden and Felix Jones topped the 100-yard mark.

"They were playing Arkansas football," says defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. "Running the football. I take full blame for the loss. We didn't get the kids in the right spots. Against a team like that you can't make mistakes in the running game."

Playing against a true freshman quarterback in Mitch Mustain, the Razorbacks kept it simple and pounded the Auburn defense for 279 yards. Mustain completed just 2-4 attempts in the final three quarters.

"They didn't have to ask him to do much," Muschamp notes. "They were jamming it down our throat."

Mustain finished the game 7-10 for 87 yards and a score.

Arkansas had two weeks to prepare for the game, but didn't do much of anything other than running the football.

"They ran the counter play and the power play, the same plays we've been repping a looking at and we didn't fit them right and we didn't tackle well," Muschamp says. "But hey, we've got to do a better job of getting kids in the right spots."

The only play that Auburn hadn't prepared for was the "water-bucket" play that Reggie Fish took around left end midway through the third quarter that set up the Razorbacks with their third touchdown of the game.

"They had the ball to #7 coming around and it was something we haven't seen," Muschamp notes. "We're in a regular defense and we should have had corner support on that side and the kids got a little confused on it."

Fish lined up squatting beside the quarterback, and the offensive linemen and running backs went right, then Fish squirted out with the ball to the left down to the six-yard line.

Arkansas got its first touchdown on Marcus Monk's only reception of the game.

"We max-blitzed and came free on the quarterback," Muschamp says. "He threw it up to #85 and the kid made a play on the ball."

Monk came over the top of Jonathan Wilhite for the catch, and with Wilhite on the ground Monk was able to walk into the end zone for a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

Auburn struck bad with a score of its own and had a chance to tie the game with a field goal from 51-yards out, but Tommy Tuberville elected to go for it on fourth and five. Brandon Cox was stopped short of the marker, which gave Arkansas the ball and the momentum.

Two plays and 67 yards later McFadden was in the end zone.

"We were in an eight-man front bringing the safety and the mike linebacker," Muschamp says of the 63-yard score. "He bent the ball back, we got displaced, their offensive line did a good job picking it up and he split us. He's the type of back that can do that."

McFadden finished with 28 carries for 148 yards. Jones, who averaged 8.4 yards per carry coming into the game ran 13 times for 104 yards. Most of his big gainers came on motion plays and reverses.

"He outran us at times," Muschamp says of Jones. "He's a guy that runs well and they're using him well in their schemes. We prepared for that."

On the same kind of plays that McFadden had success on the Tigers in 2005, Jones was able to gash Auburn in Jordan-Hare.

Considering that the Tigers were playing against a true freshman quarterback, the fact that Auburn forced zero fumbles, zero interceptions and zero sacks tells the story that the Tigers' did not accomplish their game plan.

The Tigers also had just two tackles for a loss, compared to 11 by Arkansas, and the two leading tacklers were the starting safeties. Eric Brock and Aairon Savage had 11 tackles apiece.

"Obviously we got out-coached and out-prepared," Muschamp says. "They came in and we knew what they were going to try to do. We felt like we had a good plan of stopping the run game. They've got two good backs with McFadden and Jones and we had a hard time with them.

"We prepared and felt like we had a good preparation coming in and we had good, physical, tough practices coming in and it just didn't happen the way you wanted it to," he adds. "You regroup, you've got a good football team coming in next week and that's what we'll do."

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