Arkansas Razorbacks

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 22: Kamryn Pettway #36 of the Auburn Tigers runs the ball in the second quarter of the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

No. 21 Auburn rushes for 543 yards in 56-3 win over No. 17 Arkansas

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No. 21 Auburn (5-2, 3-1 SEC) rushed for more yards against No. 17 Arkansas (5-3, 1-3 SEC) than any team has since before the turn of the century en route to a smashing 56-3 victory over the Razorbacks Saturday evening in Jordan Hare Stadium. When all was said and done, the Tigers racked up 543 rushing yards.

Kamryn Pettway led the ground attack with 192 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Eli Stove had a 78-yard touchdown run to boost his 94-yard day and Stanton Truitt rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns to add to Auburn’s wildly productive day on the ground. Quarterback Sean White was a part of the fun too, with 61 rushing yards and a score to go with his 77 passing yards and passing touchdown.

On the other side, Auburn’s defense never allowed Arkansas to get a running game going. The Razorbacks ran 31 running plays and managed just 25 rushing yards in the game. A combined loss of 14 yards were credited to Arkansas quarterbacks Austin Allen and Ty Storey. Allen was forced to leave the game in the first half due to an apparent knee injury but he returned after a brief absence. Rawleigh Williams III was the leading rusher for the Razorbacks with 22 yards on 13 carries.

Auburn also played a pretty clean game with just two penalties for 10 yards and no turnovers (Arkansas had two turnovers). The Razorbacks are going to have to think long and hard about this one, or simply put the game film in the trash and forget about it. Either way, there was no denying this was one of the worst losses Arkansas has experienced under Bret Bielema.

Arkansas will get a little extra time to prepare for their next game. The Razorbacks have a much-needed bye week coming up next weekend, giving them an extra week to prepare for a home game against Florida.

OK, so time to look forward for Auburn. Before you start looking to the end of the year with the Iron Bowl matchup with Alabama, Auburn has to go on the road next week to play Ole Miss. Yes, the Rebels may be a fringe top-25 team this season, but there is no question they can be a dangerous opponent. However, Auburn’s defense has been playing very well the past month and has now held each of their past four opponents to fewer than 15 points. Doing that against Ole Miss may be difficult, especially on the road, but Auburn is playing with confidence.

Auburn running all over and around Arkansas, 28-3

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 22: A young fan of the Auburn Tigers cheers as the team takes the field before the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
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It took one play for Auburn to put some points on the scoreboard, and the Tigers have yet to look back on Arkansas. Auburn holds a decisive 28-3 lead on the Razorbacks at the half. Auburn has run for 268 yards to just 26 yards on the ground by Arkansas.

Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen left the game in the first half with an apparent knee injury. He was helped off the field and replaced with redshirt freshman Ty Storey. Allen did return to the game.

Eli Stove (85 yards) took off for a 78-yard touchdown run on the first offensive play Auburn got to run after Arkansas was forced to punt on the game’s opening possession. Auburn’s second touchdown drive took a little longer (10-plays, 91 yards). Kamryn Petway (117 yards) finished off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead. Arkansas fumbled away the ensuing possession after just three plays, and Auburn capitalized with a Stanton Truitt touchdown run from 20 yards out.

It’s just been a mess of a first half by Arkansas, and the bad news is there is a second half to play.

Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson could be game-day decision vs. Arkansas

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Kerryon Johnson #21 of the Auburn Tigers dives into the end zone for a touchdown during their game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Jordan Hare Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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A week ago, Auburn was “very optimistic” that it would have its leading rusher coming off the bye this past weekend.  With the Arkansas game fast approaching, the signs are still pointing in that general direction.

On the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday, Gus Malzahn confirmed that Kerryon Johnson was a full participant in practice Tuesday.  The running back sustained a sprained ankle in the Week 6 win over Mississippi State.

As for his Week 8 availability?  It appears a final decision won’t be made until closer to kick off, even as the program is optimistic Johnson will be available.

“He was better than he was on Sunday,” the Tigers head coach said. “We’ll just have to keep checking to see his progress up until Saturday.”

Johnson’s 538 yards rushing and six touchdowns are tops among all Tiger backs.  Kamryn Pettway is second with 505, with a career-high 169 of those coming after Johnson sustained his injury.  Three of Pettway’s four touchdowns this season also came in the Miss. St. game.

AP Top 25: Idle Michigan rises to No. 3, Clemson falls

FILE - In this June 8, 2016, file photo, Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh encourages high school football players in their speed drill at a Michigan Satellite Camp at Pearl High School in Pearl, Miss. Plenty of coaches use Twitter, whether they’re capitalizing on the new rule or communicating indirectly with fellow coaches. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh called out Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, Georgia coach Kirby Smart and Tennessee coach Butch Jones on Twitter during the offseason for their comments about his decisions to hold spring practice sessions in Florida and conduct satellite camps. (Elijah Baylis/The Clarion-Ledger via AP, File)
AP Photo

The Michigan Wolverines did not play a single down this weekend, but that did not stop the Wolverines from moving up one spot in the poll. Michigan moved up one spot in the AP poll this week after Clemson struggled at home against North Carolina State. Alabama remains the top-ranked team in the poll this week, followed by Ohio State.

Alabama received 60 first-place votes in this week’s AP poll. Michigan was the only other team to receive a first-place vote, as they have received each week of the season so far from Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News. Nebraska moved up two spots within the top 10 this week, and Baylor moved up two spots to crack the top 10. Despite its second loss, Wisconsin remained in the top 10 after falling two spots.

West Virginia is on the move once again, jumping up eight spots to No. 12 in this week’s AP poll. At No. 14, Boise State is the second-highest-ranked Group of Five program this week. No. 11 Houston remains at the top of the Group of Five pack, despite a loss to No. 24 Navy.

New teams in the poll this week include No. 22 North Carolina and No. 25 LSU. Big drops were experienced by No. 18 Tennessee (down nine spots) and No. 23 Ole Miss (down 11 spots).

Miami and Virginia Tech each dropped out of the poll this week following losses.

AP Top 25 By Conference:

  • ACC – 4
  • American – 2
  • Big 12 – 3
  • Big Ten – 4
  • MAC – 1
  • Mountain West – 1
  • Pac-12 – 2
  • SEC – 8

Here is this week’s updated AP Top 25, with first-place votes noted:

  1. Alabama (60)
  2. Ohio State
  3. Michigan (1)
  4. Clemson
  5. Washington
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Louisville
  8. Nebraska
  9. Baylor
  10. Wisconsin
  11. Houston
  12. West Virginia
  13. Florida State
  14. Boise State
  15. Florida
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Arkansas
  18. Tennessee
  19. Utah
  20. Western Michigan
  21. Auburn
  22. North Carolina
  23. Ole Miss
  24. Navy
  25. LSU

No. 22 Arkansas outlasts No. 12 Ole Miss in thriller

Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams III (22) carries for a gain during the first quarter of an NCAA football game against Mississippi on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Chris Brashers)
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The Arkansas defense has been bad this season. Really bad.

The Razorbacks entered Saturday night ranked No. 64 nationally in total defense, but No. 120 in yards per play allowed. But the 22nd-ranked Hogs (5-2, 1-2 SEC) made the plays they needed to fend off No. 12 Ole Miss 34-30 in a game that proved a worthy successor to last year’s 4th-and-25, season-changing affair.

After a furious run of offense that saw the teams combined to score six times in seven drives plus a 90-yard Ole Miss drive that needed only five snaps and 48 seconds to tie the game at 20-20 through one half, the defenses settled in to open the second half. In fact, an interception, a punt and a three-and-out allowed the Hogs to mount a 38-yard touchdown drive, punctuated by a Rawleigh Williams III two-yard reception, to reclaim its lead at 27-20 with 3:29 to go in the third quarter.

Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2 SEC) responded with a Gary Wunderlich field goal and, after a pressure led to an interception of Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen, a short touchdown drive going the other way. Chad Kelly‘s eight-yard scoring dash gave the Rebels their first (and only) lead at 30-27 with exactly nine minutes remaining.

The Hogs punted on their next possession, but their embattled defense forced three consecutive possessions to snuff out what could have been a game-clinching drive for the Rebels, allowing their offense to take over at their own 44 with 6:30 remaining. Arkansas methodically covered 56 yards in 10 plays and four-and-a-half minutes, culminating in a backfield hand-off to wide receiver Jared Cornelius for the go-ahead six-yard touchdown scamper with 2:20 remaining.

Presented with one final chance to mount another game-winning touchdown drive, Ole Miss forced an incompletion on first down, permitted a seven-yard catch on second, then sacked Kelly for an eight-yard loss on third down. Flushed from the pocket on fourth down, Kelly appeared headed toward first down yardage until a ferocious hit separated Kelly from the ball and effectively ended the game.

Kelly led the Rebels with 253 passing yards, 89 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. For Arkansas, Allen passed for 229 yards and three scores, while Williams carried 27 times for 180 yards and a touchdown catch.