The Razorbacks shook off a 17-0 second quarter Auburn lead to take a one point margin in the final minutes of the game but a 39 yard Anders Carlson field goal with seconds left gave the Tigers a 30-28 win. Immediately before the kick Auburn quarterback Bo Nix fumbled a snap, took a step back, picked the ball up and intentionally grounded it. The officials immediately ruled the ball down and Carlson kicked the winning field goal. Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman appeared to be arguing that Nix’s intentional grounding was actually a backward pass for a fumble.
Arkansas took the ball first under a steady rain. The Razorbacks stayed on the ground for all three opening plays and were forced to punt. Auburn set up on its own 28 and after an initial first down the Tigers punted it back. This time the Hogs started on the 10 yard line.
Feleipe Franks gave the Hogs their initial first down of the game with a 19 yard completion to Mike Woods. But Auburn stuffed Arkansas on a 3rd and one forcing yet another punt, this one to the Tigers’ 16.
Auburn stayed on the ground for a couple of first downs to just past midfield but the punt exchange continued with Auburn winning the field position battle. Arkansas had to start its third possession on its own three yard line. On third and short from the seven Franks was sacked for the second time in the game and Auburn took the lead on the second blocked punt of the season against Arkansas. With 4:32 left in the first it was Auburn 7, Arkansas nothing.
Arkansas started with good field position after the Auburn kickoff but went three and out again. Auburn’s D.J. Williams then broke off the Tigers’ longest run of the season, a 41 yard gain to near the Arkansas 30. The Hogs defense stiffened at that point but Carlson came on to boot 47 yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
After a first down Arkansas was again forced to punt and the Tigers came within a whisker of coming up with another blocked punt. Auburn took over from its own 20 on its first possession of the second quarter and reeled off an impressive 80 yard drive capped by a 15 yard touchdown run by quarterback Bo Nix. The home team pushed its lead to 17-0.
Arkansas’ offense finally came alive at that point using a good combination of running and passing on a 65 yard touchdown drive. Smith accounted for 27 yards of that. Franks found Mike Woods on a four yard touchdown pass. Arkansas botched the extra point attempt when holder George Caratan mishandled the snap. Still Arkansas had closed the gap to 17-6.
The Hogs came right back after forcing another Auburn punt. Franks hit Warren for 44 yards to the Auburn 31. A few plays later the two hooked up again with De’Vion Warren scoring on a seven yard catch. The point after failed and it was Auburn 17, Arkansas 12.
The Tigers had just enough time left in the half to quickly move the ball 57 yards where Carlson kicked a 25 yard field goal for a 20-12 halftime lead.
Auburn took the second half kickoff and drove to midfield where Arkansas’ defense forced a punt after Jonathan Marshall and Grant Morgan brought down Nix on back to back sacks. The Hogs began the ensuing drive on their own 15 where Smith reeled off runs of 14 and 13 yards for a couple of first downs. He then torched Auburn’s defense for 40 more yards on three catches including a five yard touchdown grab on 3rd and goal. Yet another two point conversion failed when Franks sailed a pass under pressure past the endzone but the Hogs had closed Auburn’s lead to 20-18.
Auburn’s offense began to click again at that point. The Tigers drove 64 yards in nine plays with Nix tossing a 17 yard touchdown pass to Anthony Schwartz for a 27-18 lead.
The Hogs added a field goal to close it to 27-21 and forced Auburn’s offense into a three and out after the kickoff. Arkansas then took its first lead of the game, traveling 70 yards on 10 plays, the capper a Franks to Warren touchdown pass on a 4th and five from the Auburn 30. With 5:29 left in the game the Hogs were finally up 28-27.
Auburn then drove to the Arkansas 17 where Carlson missed 34 yard field goal. The Hogs took the ball but could not advance it. Auburn got ball back after a punt and was able to drive close enough for the winning field goal.