The No. 9 Auburn football team had its way with Arkansas on Saturday night, beating the Razorbacks, 34-3.
But the score was more of an indicator that Auburn simply is a more talented football team with better players. Overall, especially on offense, it wasn’t the Tigers best performance.
Arkansas outgained Auburn on the ground and through the air. But the defense kept the Razorbacks out of the end zone and, outside of a pair of Anders Carlson misses, the special teams effort was the best we’ve seen in years.
Here’s our stock up, stock down report for individual players after the Week 4 game:
- Ryan Davis: He set the tone right at the start. After the Auburn defense forced Arkansas punt on its first possession, his dynamic, 42-yard return put the Tigers on the Arkansas 27 and seven players later, it was 7-0. He later added a 36-yard return and if not for being tripped up, would have scored. That’s two returns for a 42-yard average. On a night when the offense was struggling, his returns led to 10 points. That’s big.
- Noah Igbinoghene: We’ll keep it in the return category. He showed flashes of his big-play ability in the kickoff return game last season and hit it big Saturday night with a 96-yard TD return. It’s been a long time since Auburn had legitimate threats to take it to the house in both return games and it looks like that’s exactly what the Tigers have this season.
- Anthony Schwartz: It’s clear the speedy freshman is going to be a big role in the offense. He’s the jet sweep guy and has been a reliable target for Jarrett Stidham. He took a quick out pass and sprinted down the sidelines for a 42-yard gain when it looked like at least three Razorbacks had the angle on him. Stidham tried to hit him deep once, but overshot him but a foot or two.
- Big Kat Bryant: The Buck was only credited with two tackles and one quarterback hurry Saturday, but he was a split second away from a big play all night. He kept Hogs QB Ty Storey uncomfortable a good part of the night and proved difficult for Arkansas to block.
- Daniel Thomas: He’s playing with confidence and is getting after the ball. He scooped up a fumble and returned it 40 yards and almost got into the end zone. He nearly picked off a quick pass when he jumped the route (it was a pass breakup) and tied for the team lead with six tackles.
- Jarrett Stidham: Something is just off with Stidham this season and that was evident Saturday night. Yes, he completed 15-of-22 passes and had a couple of them dropped (Davis, Kam Martin), but it wasn’t until the fourth quarter when he actually threw some passes forward. Most of his 134 passing yards came after the catch to Ryan Davis or Anthony Schwartz at the line of scrimmage. He also missed Darius Slayton for a sure-touchdown strike. Slayton had 4-5 steps on the Arkansas DB and Stidham put too much zip on it and the pass sailed over Slayton. He also missed a wide-open Seth Williams on a third-down throw. To his defense, Stidham was getting pressure most the night. It wasn’t often that he had time to set his feet and throw. That could be part of a bigger problem.
- Shaun Shivers: What happened to the freshman running back Saturday? It’s as if he barely played after becoming what looked like Auburn’s No. 2 option at running back. He finally got a couple of touches late in the fourth quarter and totaled one yard. On a night when the offense was looking for a spark, inserting Shivers earlier in the game seemed like a good option.
- TD Moultry: Where has he been? You see No. 55 on the field, but he’s struggling to get to the quarterback and make game-affecting plays. If Auburn can get him making an impact, the defense will be better than it already is.