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Auburn Shuts Down Hog Ground Game for 34-17 Victory

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Auburn Shuts Down Hog Ground Game for 34-17 Victory

The Arkansas defense kept Auburn out of the end-zone for a half, but the Tigers responded with touchdowns on their first four possessions of the second half en route to a 34-17 win at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Trailing 10-6 at halftime, No. 21 Auburn’s offense responded with a 73-yard touchdown drive to open the second half. Quarterback Brandon Cox connected with Devin Aromashodu for a 17-yard touchdown pass, giving the Tigers (5-1, 3-0) their first lead of the game, 13-10. After an Arkansas punt, Auburn held the ball for more than seven minutes during an 85-yard, 14-play drive that culminated in a five yard touchdown pass from Cox to running back Tre Smith. The Tigers led 20-10 at the end of the third quarter.

Arkansas quarterback Robert Johnson was intercepted on the second play of the fourth quarter while throwing out of his own end zone. The Tigers took over on the Arkansas 24 and extended the lead to 27-10 on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Cox to tight end Cooper Wallace.

The Razorbacks responded with a quick scoring drive. Arkansas moved the ball 80 yards in just six plays. Darren McFadden tallied his second touchdown of the game when he scampered in from the 17, cutting the Auburn lead to 27-17 with 9:34 remaining in the game.

Auburn answered with yet another touchdown drive. A seven-yard touchdown run by Smith made it 34-17 and put the game out of reach with only 3:37 left to play.

An interception by Michael Coe on the Tigers first possession of the game set up a 19-yard Chris Balseiro field-goal to give Arkansas (2-4, 0-3) an early 3-0 advantage with 9:26 to play in the first quarter. The Razorbacks came up empty on their next possession after a fumble inside the Auburn 20 spoiled a promising drive.

Auburn tied the game 3-3 on a 22-yard field-goal by John Vaughn with 11:58 to play in the second quarter. The Tigers drove the ball 75 yards in 14 plays, but the Hog defense dug in near the goal line. Matterral Richardson broke up Cox’s pass on third-and-four just short of the goal-line to force the field goal attempt.

Two possessions later, Arkansas had an opportunity to regain the lead, but Chris Balseiro’s 38-yard field goal attempt was partially blocked by Will Herring with 4:53 left to play in the second quarter.

Arkansas’ defense responded by continuing to pressure Cox. The Auburn quarterback was called for intentional grounding and a 15-yard-loss on the first play following the blocked kick, pinning the Tigers deep in their own territory. Vickiel Vaughn intercepted Cox’s pass on third down and Arkansas had the ball on the Auburn 13 to start its drive. Three plays later McFadden scampered in from five yards out to score the first touchdown of the game. Arkansas led 10-3 with 2:20 to play in the first half.

Auburn answered quickly as Cox completed four consecutive passes to move the ball inside the Arkansas red zone. The Razorback defense held once again and Auburn settled for a 38-yard field goal to cut the lead to 10-6 just before halftime.

Cox completed 17-of-26 passes for 203 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Aromashodu had six receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown. Tailback Kenny Irons ran for 182 yards on 33 carries, helping the Tigers rush for 233 as a team. Auburn had 436 yards of total offense.

McFadden finished with 108 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, but Arkansas, which entered the game third in the nation with 286.4 rushing yards per game, were held to 148 yards on 30 attempts.

Johnson was 17-of-28 passing for 174 yards. Peyton Hillis had career highs of seven receptions for 81 yards while Cedric Washington added 58 yards on three catches.

The Razorbacks travel to Georgia for an 11:30 a.m. (Central) game on Saturday.



Sports Category : Football