AUBURN, Ala. -- — No putting any lipstick on this pig: Auburn's season is in freefall.
A previously dormant Arkansas defense looked like a top-tier SEC defense Saturday, while the Tigers' offense bumbled again in a 24-7 defeat which had a majority of 85,813 fans streaming for the Jordan-Hare Stadium exits midway through another miserable fourth quarter. This is Auburn's first 1-4 start since 1998, in Terry Bowden's final year when the Tigers finished 3-8.
After getting just seven sacks and two turnovers in its first five games - none in two cracks at SEC competition - Arkansas (2-3, 1-2 SEC) sacked Auburn quarterbacks eight times and forced five turnovers. The Tigers (1-4, 0-3) gave junior quarterback Clint Moseley his shot after halftime, relieving sophomore Kiehl Frazier of his duties at least temporarily, but they combined to put up just seven points after Arkansas had allowed 40.8 points per game entering the weekend.
Even the one touchdown wasn't pretty, when Moseley found senior wide receiver Emory Blake wide-open in lost coverage for a 21-yard score. Moseley threw low to Blake, who had to sidestep the sideline and reach across the pylon for Auburn's only points. The touchdown stood when instant replay was inconclusive.
What was clear as the autumn sky Saturday is Auburn has another heaping pile of problems to fix offensively. Frazier and Moseley were each sacked four times for a combined 68 yards.
Following Blake's score, Auburn responded with a trick play. Wide receiver Brandon Mitchell took the ball on a reverse, backing off and tossing to Javontee Herndon in the corner of the end zone for 26 yards and a 17-7 lead.
Blake caught 10 balls for 118 yards in a statistically breakout game. Freshman running back Mike Blakely led Auburn with 38 yards on the ground, but his second costly fumble in three games gave Arkansas the ball back with that ten-point lead midway through the fourth, instigating many orange-clad fans to beat the traffic.
Auburn goes back on the road next week to Ole Miss, with kickoff at noon ET in a game televised by SEC Network.