FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas pulled off a mild surprise this past Saturday defeating Florida 39-36 in The Swamp thus keeping their bowl hopes alive.
Arkansas will now host Auburn on Saturday needing a win to keep its bowl hopes alive. Arkansas (3-6, 1-5) needs to win out for bowl eligibility. They will host FIU next Saturday and then finish on Friday, Nov. 24, hosting Missouri.
Auburn enters the game having won two SEC games in a row. Auburn (5-4, 2-4) will become bowl eligible with a win on Saturday. They have games remaining with New Mexico State and Alabama. So even if they lose to Arkansas they should get that eligibility against New Mexico State, but a win over Arkansas as well would likely land them in a higher bowl.
Here’s five keys to defeat Auburn.
Keep The Offense Rolling
Auburn now has film of what a Kenny Guiton offense looks like so they will know more what to expect than maybe Florida did. But Guiton did an outstanding job keeping Florida off balance on Saturday. That was something the Hogs struggled doing earlier in the season with predictable play calling. KJ Jefferson was back to being himself last week and Raheim “Rocket” Sanders easily had his best outing of the season. The Hogs need both of them to standout again on Saturday.
Keep Auburn’s Running Game In Check
Auburn likes to run the football. It will be important for Travis Williams’ defense to not allow Auburn to run the ball at will all day. If the Tigers are able to do that it could be a long day for the Hogs. Jarquez Hunter and others head the Auburn running game. The Arkansas defense has generally been very good this year and given the team a chance to win most games. Williams needs his unit to have a great showing again on Saturday and maybe even come up with another defensive touchdown, something this unit has excelled at.
Limit Turnovers, Penalties
Arkansas didn’t have many penalties against the Gators, but the ones they did have stung them. However, Arkansas was able to overcome then including a holding call in overtime. The Hogs can’t afford interceptions, fumble and excessive penalties. Eliminating turnovers and keeping the penalties to a minimum will give Arkansas an excellent chance at winning the game. The Hogs had six penalties for 45 yards against Florida.
7 Not 3 In Red Zone
Last week in four trips inside the Florida red zone Arkansas got two touchdowns and a pair of field goals. At least they came away with points, but get touchdowns there instead of field goals and the game doesn’t go into overtime. The Gators got two touchdowns in three trips inside the Arkansas red zone and a field goal the other time. If Arkansas can get touchdowns each time inside Auburn’s red zone they should be in pretty good shape.
Jump On Tigers Early, Get Crowd Excited, Into Game
The last two games in Fayetteville haven’t ended well for the Hogs. It’s very important Arkansas has early success against the Tigers, gets the crowd excited and into game and then keep their foot on the gas all game. The crowd should be a decent sized one with the later start. But, as noted, the last two games, particularly Mississippi State, in Fayetteville went so bad for Arkansas they need to get this crowd into the game early. The crowd can also make a strong impression on recruits and an excited, loud group of fans may help the Hogs with the prospects visiting.
The kickoff is set for 3 p.m. and televised on the SEC Network. The temperature at kickoff is expected to be in the 60s.