A Tale of Two Halves

By halftime of Saturday's Arkansas-Auburn game the Razorbacks had stunned a sellout crowd of over 78 thousand at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The scoreboard read 21-21. Arkansas was on pace to record over 500 yards of total offense and while Auburn had shredded the Hogs' secondary the vaunted Tigers running game had been held to a mere 68 yards.

As the Razorbacks ran by their fans on the way to the halftime locker-room they had every reason to believe that their SEC and season opener would remain a battle in the second half.

They were wrong.

After piling up 260 yards of total offense with a good blend of running and passing the Hogs managed just 61 yards in the second half and were shut out on the scoreboard.

With regular starting quarterback Nick Marshall back on the field after serving a first half suspension Auburn began to bowl over and run by the Razorback defense rushing for 234 yards in the second half. Auburn scored 24 unanswered points to win going away 45-21.

So what happened?

"I don't know that there's an exact explanation but I think we didn't come out in the second half like we needed to and they made some really good halftime adjustments," senior tight end A.J. Derby told the Razorback Nation following the game.

There was apparently nothing in the halftime locker-room to indicate that the direction of the game was about to take a dramatic turn. "We were ready," senior defensive end Trey Flowers recalled. "Everybody believed. We knew that the whole world was against us and we knew we had the momentum on our side."

"We felt good. We knew we had to keep coming and things just didn't go our way in the second half," sophomore nose tackle Taiwan Johnson added. "We got to learn from the mistakes we made to make sure we're in a better position to finish out the game. Four quarters."

Senior safety A.J. Turner blamed Auburn's second half success on a breakdown of fundamentals. "Missed tackles," Turner asserted. "I know a lot of times we missed tackles. We had him (running back Cameron Artis-Payne) and he bounced off. He's a very good back."

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said he debated changing the play calling in the second half to reflect the success Auburn was having but he said execution was the issue not the plays that were being called. Chaney also said an elevator snafu at halftime that kept him from addressing the offense in the locker-room had no bearing on the outcome of the game. Several Arkansas assistant coaches were stuck between levels of the stadium when the elevator they were riding malfunctioned. By the time they got out it was too late to try to make it to Arkansas' locker-room.


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