Record Day on the Ground pushes Auburn past Arkansas
Auburn celebrates Eli Stove's first career touchdown (Photo: Matt Gaught)
#21 Auburn football returned to Jordan-Hare Stadium after three long weeks away and continued where they left off. In a game that was dominated by an unbreakable defense and a diverse running game, Auburn was able to pick up a key conference win by defeating 17th ranked Arkansas, 56-3. Quarterback Sean White had very little to do with Auburn’s win, but the good news is… is that he did not have to. Running back Kerryon Johnson missed the game due to needed extra time to recover from an ankle injury that he suffered against Mississippi State. In his absence, six Tigers rushed for over 35 total yards, totaling 543 yards. Kamryn Pettway led the team with 192 total yards on the ground. That total is the most ever by a SEC team against an SEC team in the regular season. Prior to this game, the last time Auburn had that many rushing yards against a SEC opponent, was in the 2013 Tennessee game, when the Tigers rushed for 444 total yards. Auburn also holds the record for rushing yards in the SEC championship game, when they finished with 545 against Missouri, also in 2013. The rushing game was key in the win, but not as much of a factor as the defense. Arkansas’ Rawleigh Williams led the SEC in rushing with 785 total yards entering the game, the tough Auburn defense held him to 22 total yards and the entire running game to 25 total yards. The defense also spends plenty of time in the backfield as well, quarterback Austin Allen was sacked four times in the game. Andrew Williams, Jeff Holland, and Devaroe Lawrence totaled a sack, while Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson combined to record the other. All in all, Arkansas scored three points, gained a total of 215 yards, and controlled time of possession by nearly five minutes. Auburn wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the first quarter. After forcing Arkansas to punt on their first possession, it was an unlikely Tiger that provided fireworks. Quarterback Sean White handed the ball to freshman receiver Eli Stove, and he found enough open space to jet 78 yards to the end zone, for his first collegiate touchdown. After a successful extra point by Daniel Carlson, Auburn was up 7-0 at the 11-minute mark in the first quarter. The Tiger defense would stand strong on Arkansas’ second possession as well, allowing the offense to find the end zone again. Running back Kamryn Pettway, who got the start at the position over Kerryon Johnson due to injury, rushed for 9 yards to the end zone with 3:00 to go in the quarter. White set up the score perfectly, as he rushed 41-yards on an option keeper. Pettway would score just two plays later. The offense would take advantage of an Arkansas turnover on their next drive. Defensive end Marlon Davidson recovered a fumble by Razorback quarterback Austin Allen at the Auburn 27-yard line. On the second play of the drive, Stanton Truitt would rush the ball to the right side for 20 yards, and a score. Carlson’s extra point would put a dagger in first quarter scoring, Auburn ended the first quarter up, 21-0. Auburn dominated the stat sheet but did so in a short amount of time. Arkansas entered the game #2 in the nation for time of possession, and they were able to dominate the clock, 11:43 to 3:17. Auburn gained 196 yards to Arkansas’ 57. The defense played a key role in the quarter as well. At the end of the first quarter, Allen had been sacked three times. Freshman Marlon Davidson and Sophomore Andrew Williams each recorded a sack, while Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson teamed up to record the other. Pettway had more carries in the first quarter, but Eli Stove’s 78-yard touchdown scamper allowed him to end as the team’s leader in rushing heading into the second. Arkansas avoided a major blow in the second quarter. Quarterback Austin Allen went down with an injury with 10:22 remaining. The good news is that his injury was minor enough to keep him out until the next drive. Auburn found the end zone again with 1:28 remaining in the half. After an Arkansas punt, the Tigers began their drive at the Hog 20 yard line. Pettway ate up many yards on this drive, as his 27-yard rush set up White’s seventh touchdown of the season. White connected with Truitt, and the end result was a 45-yard touchdown pass to cap a 5 play, 80-yard drive. The touchdown would be Truitt’s second of the game and would extend Auburn’s lead to 28-0. Arkansas’ Adam McFain got his team on the board as time expired, by nailing a 54-yard field goal. Auburn entered the locker room with a hefty 28-3 lead. Auburn outgained the Razorbacks 328 to 155, with rushing being the highlight of the half. Kamryn Pettway carried the ball 16 times for 117 yards, and a touchdown in the half, while Auburn as a whole rushed for 268 yards. In the third quarter, Auburn succeeded on their first lengthy drive of the game. On a drive that chewed up 5:10 off the clock, and ended on a fourth down conversion at the 1-yard line, Sean White kept the option and walked into the end zone to extend the Auburn lead to 35-3 with 6:06 to go in the quarter. In the drive, quarterback John Franklin III entered the game for the first time. His highlight play was an 11-yard rush. Auburn would quickly find themselves in the end zone again. A 7 play, 69-yard drive was capped off by Pettway, who scored his second touchdown of the night, when he rushed from 29 yards out, into the end zone to extend the lead to 42-7. The offense has defensive back Javaris Davis to thank for their score, as he pulled down an Austin Allen interception with 3:26 to go in the quarter. Auburn would score twice more to secure the win. Both times in the fourth quarter. Stanton Truitt scored his third touchdown of the night when he broke open a 31-yard rush with 12:55 remaining in the game. Then, another freshman would join the scoring party. Kam Martin scored on a 51 yard rush with 4:27 to go, which would be the final touchdown of the game. Auburn will look to continue their conference winning streak next week at Ole Miss. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:15 P.M. at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.