Auburn football: Sloppy on offense, but special teams come up big

Jarrett Stidham came up short on this run, but later scored on a run against Arkansas. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Jarrett Stidham came up short on this run, but later scored on a run against Arkansas. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

The No. 9 Auburn football team defeated Arkansas, 34-3, on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn improved to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the SEC after losing to LSU last week, while Arkansas (1-3, 0-1) was playing its first conference game.

The Razorbacks are coming off back-to-back losses to Colorado State and North Texas.

Follow here for live updates throughout the night:

Auburn-Arkansas recap

Check out our first-half analysis here. Five observations from a frustrating half of football.

Fourth quarter

Auburn 34, Arkansas 3. Anders Carlson hits his second field goal of the night. Another big Ryan Davis punt return set up this one.

Auburn 31, Arkansas 3: Finally, some offense. Stidham hit some passes, Kam Martin and Whitlow had some positive runs and Whitlow scores from the 15. The drive covered 72 yards on eight plays. (3Q, 8:18)

Obviously, Auburn is just a better team that Arkansas. But this has not been the Tigers’ best performance. The 72-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter moved the needle past the 200 yards of total offense mark for the night (Auburn has 232).

Third quarter

Auburn 24, Arkansas 3: Who needs offense when you have Noah Igbinoghene? The receiver-turned-cornerback goes 96 yards on the kickoff. (3Q, 9:05)

Auburn 17, Arkansas 3. The Hogs get on the board with a 29-yard field goal. The drive included a 45-yard run and conversion on fourth-and-2. Let’s see what the Auburn offense can do — it did nothing to start the half, three-and-out. (3Q, 9:19)

Second quarter

Yes, Auburn got the short end of another officiating call at the end of the half when it looked like Javaris Davis’ pick-six on the final play of the half should have counted because there wasn’t a block in the back. Still … Auburn should be dominating this game on the scoreboard and it isn’t. Still, Auburn got a chance for points, but Anders Carlson missed a 51-yarder to end the half.

Auburn gets the ball to start the second half and instant offense will be expected.

Auburn 17, Arkansas 0: Jordyn Peters blocked a punt and KJ Britt returned it to the 9. After bailing out Auburn with a facemask on a third-down stop, the Tigers get new life and Stidham scores from the 4 on third down.

First quarter

Quick analysis: How has the Auburn offense been so far? In a word: Ugly. It needed seven plays to go 27 yards for its first score, then couldn’t get into the end zone after having first-and-goal from the 1. What gives?

Auburn 10, Arkansas 0: After missing a 54-yarder wide right, Anders Carlson connects from point blank on a possession set up by a Daniel Thomas fumble recovery to the 1.

Auburn 7, Arkansas 0: Auburn gets a stop on defense and Ryan Davis has an incredible 48-yard punt return to put the Tigers at the Hogs’ 27. Seven players — all runs — JaTarvious Whitlow punches it in from the 5. (1Q, 10:36)


– Update: The SEC Network announced that the game will kick off at 7:38 p.m. ET on SEC Network. The South Carolina-Vanderbilt game will move to SEC Network Alternate.

– The official starting lineup, courtesy of Auburn University. And guess who’s your starting running back — not that it matters — JaTarvious “Boobee” Whitlow.

– We’re about 40 minutes from kickoff and we know of at least two changes to the starting lineup. According to Josh Vitale of the Montgomery Advertiser, the Tigers have two new starters on offense.

That means Nick Brahms replaces Kaleb Kim and Seth Williams takes over for the departed Nate Craig-Myers.

– Possible injury situation on the defensive front?

Some more pre-game sights and sounds from reporters on the ground in Auburn today:

Auburn-Arkansas game time, information

When: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018
Game time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.
TV: SEC Network
Watch Online: Auburn-Arkansas game can be viewed online on fuboTV or WatchESPN.
Line: Auburn (-30)
Weather report: The high Saturday is 91 with a low of 68 (complete report here)

Auburn-Arkansas preview

How will Tigers respond?

Auburn football fans will be curious to see how the Tigers bounce back from the disappointing loss last week. For the second consecutive season against LSU, Auburn couldn’t hold onto a double-figure lead in the second half. This one was especially disappointing because Auburn was a near 10-point favorite and most the experts expected it to win. Now, Auburn comes into this game as huge favorites.

What will the offense do?

The run game has been average at best although JaTarvious Whitlow owns a pair of 100-yard outings and Shaun Shivers has one. The passing game has been average, too. Jarrett Stidham threw his first two picks of the season last week and they were costly. The Auburn offense became stagnant after scoring on three consecutive scoring drives last week. We’ve been saying in since fall camp, but the Tigers need to keep the gas down when/if they get a lead against Arkansas on Saturday night.

Razorbacks in disarray

Things did not go well last week against North Texas in a 44-17 loss. Arkansas tossed six interceptions — Cole Kelley threw four — and Ty Storey has been named the starter this week. He’s completed 17-of-30 passes for 297 yards, three TDs and two interceptions this season. Most of that came in the season-opening win against Eastern Illinois. He did not play last week against North Texas.

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