Fayetteville, Ark. – Auburn’s Carnell Williams ran for 150 yards and the game’s only touchdown as the Tigers claimed a 10-3 victory over the seventh-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday afternoon.Arkansas suffered its first loss of the season and fell to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn improved to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the SEC.
“This one hurt,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “It was a hard-fought game. We had some guys go out, but I really appreciated the crowd. It was a great atmosphere. We can’t dwell on this. We have to start over and get the bad taste out of our mouths. We need to keep a good attitude.”
Although the game featured a pair of prolific tailbacks, defense dominated the day. Arkansas held the Tigers to 278 yards of total offense. Auburn managed just 160 yards rushing and 116 yards passing on the day.
In turn, the Tigers held the SEC’s top rushing team to 173 yards on the ground and 166 yards passing for a 341 total.
Cedric Cobbs was held to 78 yards on 16 carries for the day. Matt Jones rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries, while De’Arrius Howard had nine rushes for 50 yards.
Jones connected on 13-of-28 passes for 168 yards with DeCori Birmingham on the receiving end of three catches for 45 yards. George Wilson also had three receptions for 43 yards.
Williams led all rushers with 150 yards on 35 totes, including a six-yard scoring run. Quarterback Jason Campbell hit 10-of-18 passes for 118 yards with one interception.
Arkansas prevented an Auburn score on the Tigers first drive of the game when Tony Bua intercepted a Campbell pass at the Arkansas six-yard line. It was Bua’s fifth career interception and first of the season.
The Razorbacks moved into scoring position on their third possession of the game. Jones hit Chris Baker on a 33-yard pass completion to put the ball on the Auburn 20-yard line with just under four minutes left in the first quarter.
On third-and-seven at the 17, Jones’ pass attempt to Birmingham was incomplete setting up a field goal attempt. Chris Balseiro’s 35-yard attempt hooked left to keep the game knotted in a 0-0 tie.
Late in the first half the Razorbacks marched to the Auburn 35-yard line and faced a third-and-one. On consecutive plays the Razorbacks were stuffed at the line of scrimmage and turned the ball over to Auburn on downs.
With less than two minutes left in the first half, the Razorbacks punted to the Tigers who took over at the 50. Arkansas was flagged for a 15-yard personal foul on the play that put Auburn in Arkansas territory.
Two plays put Auburn inside the Arkansas five-yard line with 36 seconds remaining in the half.
On second down, Williams burst untouched up the middle for the Auburn score to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 29 seconds left in the half.
Following a squib quick, the Razorbacks had the ball at the 33-yard line, but were unable to net any yardage on two plays and went into the locker room trailing by a touchdown.
The Razorbacks opened the second half in promising fashion as they held the Tigers on third-and-13 to force a punt. Auburn’s Kody Bliss pinned the Hogs on the three-yard line following a 53-yard punt.
Following a first-down catch by Wilson, Cobbs scampered 63 yards off left tackle. But, a holding penalty during the run pushed the play back to the Auburn 40-yard line.
An option run by Jones and another carry by Cobbs crossed midfield and gave the Razorbacks a first down at the Auburn 41.
Three plays netted seven yards and put the Razorbacks in a fourth-and-three. On fourth down, Jones threw incomplete to Wilson to give the Tigers the ball on downs.
The Razorbacks held the Tigers on the ensuing possession and snuffed out a fake punt and took over at the Auburn 42-yard line with just over five minutes left in the third quarter.
Arkansas, however, lost 14 yards on a busted flea-flicker and faced a third-and-22 at its 46. Jones promptly hit Birmingham on a 25-yard pass to give the Hogs a first down at the 29.
A second down pass to Wilson netted 23 yards to give the Razorbacks a first-and-goal at the Auburn eight-yard line.
After a pair of incomplete passes, the Razorbacks faced third-and-goal from the eight with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
On third down, Jones’ pass to Wilson fell incomplete and set up another field goal attempt by the Hogs. Balseiro’s 25-yard attempt was good and cut the Arkansas deficit to 7-3 with 2:14 remaining in the third quarter.
On the ensuing possession, the Tigers marched to the Arkansas 17-yard line and set up for a 34-yard field goal. John Vaughn’s kick sailed through to push the Auburn lead to 10-3 with 9:50 left in the fourth quarter.
Auburn’s scoring drive went 62 yards in 14 plays and consumed 7:24 off the clock.
On Arkansas’ ensuing possession, Jones had a 78-yard touchdown run called back on a holding penalty during the run. The penalty put the Hogs in a third-and-five at their 25-yard line with 8:38 left in the game.
Jones hit Birmingham on third down with a seven-yard pass to give the Razorbacks a first down.
With the aide of a pass interference penalty in the end zone, the Razorbacks marched to the Auburn 21-yard line with 6:30 left in the game.
On first down, Jones ran left and appeared to be inside the Auburn 10, but fumbled to give the Tigers the ball at the eight-yard line.
The Razorbacks held the Tigers to three-and-out and took over at the Auburn 48-yard line following the Auburn punt.
Three plays netted a first down to the 37 with less than four minutes remaining. Two incomplete passes brought up third-and-10 with 3:17 on the clock.
Jones took the ball and ran right for two yards to give the Hogs a fourth-and-eight. On fourth down, Jones was sacked by Karlos Dansby with 2:30 remaining and Arkansas with no timeouts.
Auburn took over at its 41 and gained only seven yards on three plays. The Tigers were forced to punt facing a fourth-and-three with 25 seconds left in the game.
Marvin Jackson took the punt at the eight and returned it to the 22 with 13 ticks on the clock.
Jones took the snap and ran a keeper to the right, but was tackled after a minimal gain. With no timeouts, the Razorbacks were unable to stop the clock for a final play as the Tigers held on for the victory.