Razorbacks Pull Away Late For 24-7 Victory

Auburn's fourth quarter problems continued as Arkansas took control in the final period to defeat the Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn, Ala.--Coming into Jordan-Hare Stadium the Arkansas Razorbacks were giving up an SEC-worst 40.6 points per game, but even a struggling opponent was not enough to get the SEC's worst offense back on track as Auburn was defeated 24-7 on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The performance was so dreadful that Auburn's head coach apologized after his team dropped to 1-4.

"The bottom line is that the Auburn fans and the Auburn Family, they did not deserve this today, and I apologize to anybody who came to the game to watch it," Gene Chizik said. "(Arkansas) was a good football team talent-wise, but we certainly have plenty of opportunities to play much better. We just didn't get it done. So, it is no excuses, and that is about as simple as I can put it."

The Razorbacks, who picked up their second win of the season to go with four losses, didn't have a big day offensively, but the Arkansas defense teed off on the Auburn quarterbacks to finish the game with eight sacks.

Arkansas coach John L. Smith said those plays, which led to 80 yards in losses, were a big reason for his team's victory.

"It was critical," Smith said. "We felt like we could coming into the game. Our defensive plan was to bring some pressure, bring some heat, and we didn't vary from that. I think Coach (Paul) Haynes up in the box did a good job of ‘don't let me get conservative, keep me going.' We're talking all the time and he's talking and I think he did a good job with that. That was crucial for us."

Turnovers continue to be a major problem for Auburn, which came into the game with the SEC's worst turnover ratio. Three intercepted passes, two by Clint Moseley in a reserve role and one by starter Kiehl Frazier, who was pulled at halftime, hurt the Auburn cause as did a pair of lost fumbles.

About the only bright spot for the Tigers on a sunny day at Jordan-Hare Stadium was a respectable performance by the defense, which held the Razorbacks to 372 yards of total offense.

"I think there are some signs that we are better, but the explosive play thing continues to haunt us," defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said. "There was some better play and there was some awkward play, too. We have just got to keep working to get better--bottom line."

Auburn caught an early break when the Razorbacks raced from their own 25-yard line to the Auburn 16 in three plays with the help of a 41-yard pass play to Cobi Hamilton on The Opening snap. After moving to a first down at the six-yard line, Arkansas stalled and settled for a 26-yard field goal try by Zach Hocker, which hit the upright.

However, the Auburn offense was ineffective in the opening quarter and the Tigers trailed going into the second period 7-0. The Razorbacks opened the scoring with Dennis Johnson running in at left guard from two yards out to cap a drive that covered 80 yards in 10 plays.

Auburn managed to gain just 47 yards in the first quarter. The Tigers gained 112 yards in the second quarter, but trailed 10-0 at halftime as Hocker made one of his two field goal tries in the period. He was good from 27 yards out and wide right on a 50-yarder in the closing minute of the quarter.

Cody Parkey missed a 49-yard field goal try after Frazier took an ill-advised sack for a loss of nine yards on third down just as he had done earlier, prompting the Tigers to punt after moving into long field goal range at the 33.

The Tigers were out-gained 224-159 at intermission with the Razorbacks hitting 14-18 passes for 163 yards. Auburn converted 2-5 third downs, Arkansas converted 2-6. The Tigers had two turnovers (Emory Blake fumble and a Kiehl Frazier interception) while the visitors had none. The fumble recovery in the second period ended a streak of 15 consecutive quarters for the Razorbacks without a takeaway.

Tre Mason runs vs. the Razorbacks.

To open the third quarter Chizik pulled Frazier and inserted Moseley, who made his first appearance since starting in the bowl victory over Virginia last year.

"I was very excited," Moseley said of his opportunity. "We had been working hard and we were expecting to win. We were right there in the game. There's no way you can throw two picks in the red zone and fumble and win a game against anybody. It's disappointing offensively to turn the ball over like that. We did some good things. I felt pretty good about the way I played until the two picks. I would love to have those back."

"It's the same thing every week I feel like when we talk about the team," the junior added. "We're right there. It was 10-7 at one point and one touchdown and you never know what will happens. It's just disappointing and something we have to change. We can't keep saying we want to change, we have to change."

It didn't take long for the pass protection problems to affect Moseley, too. He was sacked on his second play.

With the defense playing better in the third quarter, the Tigers had opportunities to cut into the lead, but could not put together a scoring drive until late in the period when they took possession at their own 32.

Moseley hit Tre Mason on a dump pass for 22 to get the drive started and hooked up with Blake for a 21-yard TD pass in front of the Auburn student section to cut the lead to 10-7 with 33 seconds left in the third period. Blake caught 10 passes for 118 yards in the game.

However, it soon became apparent Auburn's problems with finishing strongly in the fourth quarter have not been resolved. The Tigers allowed Arkansas to race 75 yards on five plays to bump the lead back to 10 points. with 13:30 left. The touchdown came on a 36-yard end-around pass play from wide receiver Brandon Mitchell to Javontee Herndon, who got behind Auburn cornerback Josh Holsey in the end zone.

Auburn's attempt to respond was thwarted five plays later when Mike Blakely fumbled the football at the Auburn 40. The Razorbacks put the Tigers away by scoring seven plays later on a two-yard run by Johnson with 8:20 to play.

Wilson led the Razorbacks as he hit 20-27 passes for 216 yards. He didn't have a touchdown throw, but he also did not throw an interception. Johnson rushed for 76 yards on 17 carries. Trey Flowers led the sack Parade for the Pigs with 3 1/2.

Jonathon Mincy led Auburn in tackles with eight while Demetruce McNeal, Daren Bates and Jermaine Whitehead each finished with seven.

Blakely led Auburn in rushing with 38 yards on seven carries while Tre Mason ran the ball six times for 32 yards.

After the game, Chizik didn't say where the quarterback situation stands. Frazier hit 9-14 passes for 118 yards with his one pick while Moseley threw the ball 21 times and completed 13 for 163 yards to go with his two interceptions. Jonathan Wallace, the true freshman, played briefly and ran the ball two times for 11 yards.

Asked if Moseley would start next week against Ole Miss, Chizik said, "I can't say that. I can't say that because he was under duress some today and some when he wasn't, he made some errant throws and again I think he just has to look at everything.

"An errant throw could have been a receiver not breaking a route off at the right time," Chizik added. "Again, the game moves fast. You have different reasons for execution that was very poor, and I am sure as we go back and look at it tomorrow there will be poor execution by quarterbacks, running backs, offensive linemen and wide receivers. I am sure of that–and tight ends."

The Tigers will return to the practice field on Sunday as they prepare for a road trip to Ole Miss. Kickoff is set for 11:21 a.m. with TV coverage on the SEC Network.

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