Defensive touchdown vs Arkansas

Sophomore Marcus Harris recovers a fumble for a touchdown in Auburn's 38–23 win over Arkansas

Auburn snapped a six game skid against ranked opponents on Saturday, defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks 38–23 in Fayetteville. 

Here are three takeaways from the win.

#1: Pass game improves

According to Pro Football Focus, Auburn had seven drops last week against Georgia to give them 23 on the year. Against the Razorbacks on Saturday, receivers only had two drops, and neither of them were particularly easy catches. Bo Nix looked impressive in the win, completing 21 of 26 passes for 292 yards and two scores. The junior quarterback also added 42 yards on the ground, with a game-sealing 23-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Nix completed passes to 10 different receivers, in an offensive attack that got everybody involved.

#2: Explosive plays return

Saturday’s matchup saw several game-changing, explosive plays on both sides of the ball for the Tigers. On the opening drive Nix connected with receiver Ja’Varrius Johnson for a 39-yard score to give Auburn an early lead. Later in the third quarter, Arkansas quarterback K.J. Jefferson was sacked in the end zone by Derick Hall, who fumbled and recovered in the end zone by Auburn for a touchdown. 

The game-changing play came following a fourth down stop by the defense, and Nix heaved a deep pass to receiver Demetris Robertson for a 71-yard touchdown, giving Auburn an 11-point lead.

#3: Defensive issues persist

Even with scoring a defensive touchdown and sacking Jefferson three times, the Auburn defense had issues all day in the win. It appeared as if receivers were open all day, and could not stop the passes to the tight ends in the flat. The Tigers gave up 460 total yards, 232 of those coming in the rushing attack. The Razorbacks averaged 4.3 yards per carry. 

The Razorbacks continued to eat on third downs, converting 10 of 19 attempts against the Tiger defense. Many of them were catch-and-runs by Razorback receivers to convert for first downs. The pass rush was also hit or miss, with defenders either getting home or having no pressure on Jefferson at all. The front seven will have to be more consistent in rushing the passer, and will be helped once EDGE T.D. Moultry and linebacker Owen Pappoe return.

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