Arkansas showed more grit during the pregame walkthrough than it did under the lights at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday night.
Razorback players refused to yield midfield over to Auburn about 90 minutes before kickoff to allow the Tigers to gather for their weekly pregame prayer circle.
Players from both programs jawed for a couple minutes before coaches stepped in to separate the teams.
Arkansas didn’t put up the same kind fight when the game actually started.
Auburn ran all over its SEC West rival putting up 543 rushing yards on the way to a 56-3 win.
The Tigers’ 543 yards on the ground were the most against a conference opponent in school history. The offense surpassed the previous mark with more than 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“We are starting to kind of gel,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “I felt the off week was good. We are a downhill running team and were able to do that tonight.”
Auburn set the record without starting running back Kerryon Johnson even in the lineup. Johnson dressed for Saturday’s game, but did not play thanks to a nagging ankle injury.
The offense didn’t feel his absence with Kamryn Pettway, Eli Stove and Stanton Truitt getting off to a blistering start with 183 yards in the first quarter.
Auburn scored on their first three possessions of the game with each one of the backs finding the end zone.
Stove, who had three career carries coming into the game, went 78-yards for a touchdown on Auburn’s first play of the game. It was the first time the Tigers scored on its opening play since their 2003 game against Alabama.
“The first play that goes to the house you knew they couldn’t wait to get off that bus and run that play,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said.
On Auburn’s second drive, Pettway dominated the ball with seven touches in 10 plays. The Tigers went 91 yards in less than three minutes thanks to Pettway’s punishing style and a career best 41-yard run from White.
Pettway bowled through Arkansas defensive back Josh Liddell at the goal line for a 9-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 with 3:00 left in the first quarter. The scoring drive was Auburn’s longest of the season.
The sophomore set a new career-high for a second straight game going for 192 yards on 27 carries with a pair of touchdowns. The sophomore ran for 169 yards in Auburn’s win over Mississippi State before the bye week.
“He’s running downhill, big strong guy, he’s hard to tackle,” Arkansas defensive lineman Taiwan Johnson said. “They just ran him, you know, workhorse.”
Truitt scored Auburn’s other first half touchdowns.
The receiver turned running back ran it in from 20-yards out and caught a 45-yard pass out of the backfield for a touchdown. The sophomore switched positions to give Auburn added depth at running back after Malik Miller injured his MCL in a win over ULM.
“It speaks to our team,” Auburn offensive lineman Alex Kozan said. “We are unselfish. We have a bunch of young guys carrying the ball. A lot of those guys are getting their first opportunities. They’re really starting to step into their roles. It’s great to see that anyone can step in and get yards.”
White’s night ended after three quarters having only thrown the ball 11 times. One of those throws was the touchdown to Truitt, but Auburn saw little reason to go to the air with the offense averaging 9.5 yards per carry. The sophomore quarterback contributed to the effort with 61 yards on four carries.
Arkansas found little relief when it had possession of the ball.
Quarterback Austin Allen was under duress early and often with his much maligned offensive line struggling against both Auburn’s first- and second-string defensive lines.
Auburn sacked Allen three times, forced a fumble and had eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage before halftime. The quarterback went to the bench early in the fourth quarter with the game well out of hand having completed 17 of 30 passes for 187 yards with an interception.
It was the first time in eight career starts Allen was held without a touchdown.
Arkansas’ production on the ground was even worse.
Auburn held the SEC’s leading rusher Rawleigh Williams to 22 yards. Three of the running back’s 12 carries were for negative yards.
The Razorbacks’ 25 rushing yards as a team marked the program’s lowest total since Bielema took over as coach in 2013.
“That’s a wow thing, really, to be able to hold them to 25 yards rushing,” Malzahn said.
AUB—Stove 78 run (Carlson kick), 11:00
AUB—K.Pettway 9 run (Carlson kick), 3:00
AUB—Truitt 20 run (Carlson kick), :57
AUB—Truitt 45 pass from White (Carlson kick), 1:28
ARK—FG McFain 54, :00
AUB—White 1 run (Carlson kick), 6:06
AUB—K.Pettway 23 run (Carlson kick), :42
AUB—Truitt 31 run (Carlson kick), 12:25
AUB—Martin 51 run (Carlson kick), 4:27
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Arkansas, R.Williams 13-22, Whaley 8-11, Mitchell 1-4, Hammonds 4-2, Allen 4-(minus 4), Storey 1-(minus 10). Auburn, K.Pettway 27-192, Stove 3-94, Martin 7-80, Truitt 8-78, White 4-61, Franklin 7-39, (Team) 1-(minus 1).
PASSING—Arkansas, Allen 17-30-1-187, Storey 1-3-0-3. Auburn, White 6-11-0-77, Franklin 1-1-0-12.
RECEIVING—Arkansas, Hatcher 7-81, D.Morgan 4-42, R.Williams 2-19, Cornelius 2-17, Cantrell 2-15, Sprinkle 1-16. Auburn, R.Davis 3-15, Truitt 1-45, Stove 1-12, Craig-Myers 1-10, Cox 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.