After a gut-wrenching, last-second loss to LSU, Auburn redeemed itself with 34-3 win over Arkansas to get the Tigers their first win in SEC play this year.
The Tigers struggled offensively, but, as usual under Kevin Steele, the defense held the opposition at bay to give Auburn the win.
“Our defense played outstanding,” head coach Gus Malzahn said during postgame.
Auburn’s defense held the Arkansas offense to 3 of 17 on third-down conversions, all of which came in the first half of the game.
“We pride ourselves on third down,” linebacker Darrell Williams said. “ We want to be elite on third down. We just got to get back in the film room and look at what we can do better to tighten up on third down.”
The defense also forced two turnovers, two fumbles, one of which Auburn recovered, and had an interception.
In the final minutes of the first half, defensive back Javaris Davis intercepted a pass from Ty Storey. Davis returned it all the way for the score, but an illegal block-in-the-back would bring it back to the 33.
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A major key to this game from a defensive standpoint was to keep pressure on the quarterback. Arkansas has been vocal about its struggles at the position, and the Tigers’ defense knew it would be important to take advantage of that.
“Really our goal was to put pressure on the quarterback,” Malzahn said. “I feel like we disrupted the quarterback.”
Ty Storey got the start at quarterback for the Razorbacks against Auburn after a loss to North Texas where Cole Kelley threw four interceptions.
Storey finished his night 13-of-31 for a total of 141 yards. He threw one interception and was sacked twice.
“The emphasis was just getting better and I think we did that,” Noah Igbinoghene said. “(Arkansas) really didn’t have that many pass yards against us. We just need to continue to get better, and I think we will every single week.”
Arkansas was also held to 149 rushing yards.
“Definitely just trying to play and fill our gaps to do our jobs,” defensive linemen Derrick Brown said of how they approached the run defense.
Auburn switched things up a good bit defensively throughout the game. Twenty-three different players were used in Auburn’s defensive game.
“I feel like they did pretty good to get experience,” safety Daniel Thomas said. “It’s a long season and we’re all going to need each other. They did pretty good … they’re all coming along. I’m proud of them.”
It might not have been exactly the kind of game Auburn wanted to have, but it did get it to 3-1 on the season and 1-1 in conference play.
“You get a win, and I think that’s the number one thing,” Malzahn said.
The Tigers will face Southern Miss on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 3 p.m. CST for homecoming in its last outing of a four-game homestand.
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