Auburn vs. Arkansas prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the SEC West matchup between the Tigers and Razorbacks.
Auburn vs. Arkansas Game Preview
When: Saturday, October 22 – 6:00 p.m. ET
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL
TV Broadcast: ESPN
After struggling earlier in the season, Auburn has turned it around with three straight wins going into last week’s bye week. The defense carried the Tigers earlier in the season, but since head coach Gus Malzahn gave up play-calling duty, the offense has improved in all facets.
Arkansas is coming off a big win against Ole Miss in which quarterback Austin Allen threw for 229 yards and three touchdowns to lead the upset. The Razorbacks pounded the ball on the ground as well, as running back Rawleigh Williams III finished with 180 rushing yards.
What To Know About Auburn
The rushing attack seems to be back for Auburn, as the Tigers are No. 12 in the nation, averaging 262.8 yards per game on the ground. Running back Kerryon Johnson suffered a slight injury in the win against Mississippi State, but should be back. If not, Kam Pettway has proven that he can shoulder the load. Quarterback Sean White is accurate when given time, and Auburn’s young receivers are starting to step up and play well.
The defense will have to take on the large offensive line of Arkansas, but should be up to the task. Defensive lineman Carl Lawson is one of the best in the nation, and alongside Marlon Davidson can provide a pass rush while also stuffing the run. The play of the secondary has been a surprise, as the Tigers allow fewer than 200 yards per game through the air.
What to Know About Arkansas
Sure, Allen can throw the ball, but the Razorbacks like to set the tone with the big uglies up front and the running game. Williams is a star at the running back position, and Auburn has given some yards on the ground, averaging 147 yards by the opponents against them this season.
Stopping the running game and forcing Auburn to beat them by passing will be a big goal for Arkansas. Linebacker Brooks Ellis remains the leader of the Razorbacks defense, recording nine tackles in the upset of Ole Miss.
Offense: Tie. Both like to pound the ball on the ground, while the quarterbacks can each be effective if given time.
Defense: Auburn. Linebacker Deshaun Davis benefits from the attention paid to the talented defensive front.
Special Teams: Auburn. Kicker Daniel Carlson will be making a lot of money in the NFL soon.
Coaching: Arkansas. Bret Bielema won at Wisconsin, and now has rebuilt Arkansas into an SEC contender.
Intangibles: Auburn. Coming off a bye week and having the home-field advantage will benefit the Tigers.
Matchup To Watch
Auburn defensive line vs. Arkansas offensive line
This is strength versus strength, as both units take pride on controlling the line of scrimmage.
Auburn vs. Arkansas Betting Odds
Spread: Auburn -9.5
Over/Under: No line (as of post)
Auburn vs. Arkansas Prediction
The feud between Malzahn and Bielema has seemingly ended since they exchanged barbs a few seasons ago, but the tension on the field will still be high. Auburn has improved each and every week, while Arkansas is coming off of a big upset. If Auburn’s running game gets going, the Tigers will have success on offense. I see that happening, with Johnson and Pettway punishing Arkansas on the ground to help the Tigers win their fourth straight in a close one.
Auburn vs. Arkansas Score Prediction: Auburn 34, Arkansas 28