Two teams that could really use a win will kick off on Saturday morning at Reynolds-Razorback Stadium when Auburn makes its biennial trip to Northwest Arkansas to play an SEC football game. Auburn has had success against Arkansas in recent years and will try to extend a five-game winning streak vs. the Razorbacks.
The host team got off to an impressive 2021 debut and excited Razorback fans with statement victories over Texas A&M and Texas as part of a 4-0 start. However, since then the Razorbacks’ momentum hit a brick wall on a road trip to play the Georgia Bulldogs followed by an agonizing 52-51 loss in a shootout at Ole Miss last Saturday.
Auburn didn’t do a whole lot better in its match-up with Georgia, but did manage to score points last Saturday in a 34-10 setback to the Bulldogs, who a week earlier cruised to a 37-0 victory over the Razorbacks.
It looks like the Tigers will arrive in Fayetteville as a slight underdog, but this is a game they should have a solid chance to win without doing anything out of the ordinary.
However, in several areas Coach Bryan Harsin’s team is playing below the ordinary level and that needs to change with nobody but SEC opponents remaining on the schedule.
First and foremost, the offense needs to take advantage of the plays that are there for the making. Dropped passes have been a major problem in the past four games and eliminated any chance of the Tigers pulling off the upset against now No. 1 ranked Georgia.
The dropped passes have led to the Tigers missing opportunities to make “explosive plays” of 20 yards or longer, which are a major key to success for any offense. Preventing those type of plays is a big deal for defenses and Auburn needs to step up in that area, too.
Going into Saturday’s road game vs. 17th-ranked Arkansas, the Tigers have allowed opposing offenses to gain 20 or more yards on 56 plays. That ranks Auburn in a tie for 56th nationally for the category.
Auburn’s defense has given up 11 plays of 30 yards or longer, which ranks 61st nationally. Two of those plays on passes from Stetson Bennett to Ladd McConkey helped Georgia win on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers have given up 11 plays of 40 yards or longer, which ties them for 84th nationally.
The Tigers begin the second half of their regular season schedule on Saturday and how good a job they do making and defending against explosive plays will be something to watch and will likely be a major factor in determining how many games Auburn wins this year