Auburn vs Arkansas: 3 Keys to Victory

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Oct 5, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Barry Brunetti (11) is brought down by Auburn Tigers defensive end Carl Lawson (55) and defensive lineman Gabe Wright (90) during the second quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

3. Win the Line of Scrimmage: Finally, as Nathan Deal pointed out in his weekly Preview and Predictions piece, the Tigers defensive line must step up to control the Razorbacks’ rushing attack. Arkansas has a stable of talented running backs and a sturdy offensive line that helped run for an average of 208.7 yards per game last season and 222 against Auburn.

Auburn, on the other hand, will be playing a new lineup of defensive linemen because of graduation and injury. Pass rusher extraordinaire Dee Ford is now in the NFL, and his heir apparent Carl Lawson, tore his ACL during spring practice. That means All-SEC-caliber defensive tackle Gabe Wright will be called upon to step in and play at defensive end.

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  • The good news is that Auburn’s front four is big, which should allow them to eat up space and make running lanes smaller for Arkansas. With Wright moving outside, he adds another 25 pounds or so to the first team D-Line. Jeff Whitaker and Angelo Blackson will man the middle, and each weigh more than 300 pounds – giving the Tigers a pair of big run-stuffers. Elijah Daniel will get the start opposite Wright at the other defensive end spot ahead of returning starter LaDarius Owens, who has struggled to stay healthy this fall.

    Fortunately, Owens will play on Saturday, as will a solid rotation of down linemen. We’ll see Montravius Adams, Ben Bradley, DaVonte Lambert and Devaroe Lawrence getting reps against the Hogs, and that should help the starters stay fresh all game. With the heat and humidity expected in Auburn at 3:00 pm on Saturday, staying fresh will be vital to winning the line of scrimmage – and the game.