Auburn players arrived to Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday afternoon to an unseemly sight — Arkansas players standing on the AU logo at midfield.
Multiple Auburn players said the disrespectful act “added fuel to the fire” for the annual SEC West showdown.
“It was disrespectful to us, to our fans, just to the Auburn family,” Auburn defensive back Carlton Davis said.
The pregame scene briefly escalated when Arkansas players wouldn’t leave the area for Auburn to gather for its pregame prayer circle.
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Arkansas defensive lineman Taiwan Johnson offered an innocent explanation for the pregame exchange.
“Every pregame we have a little captain’s walk where we talk in the middle of the field,” Johnson said. “I guess Auburn didn’t really like it, we were on their logo. We tried to diffuse the situation, but it just escalated. We just got out of the way.”
Auburn players didn’t accept the excuse.
“You don’t come in and do something like that,” Auburn linebacker Deshaun Davis said.
While Auburn doesn’t specifically ask teams to stay off the midfield logo, a team spokesperson referred to it as an “unwritten rule.”
When Auburn visits an SEC school they do its prayer circle without stepping on the opposing team’s logo.
All coach Gus Malzahn said of the incident was that it was the first of its kind during his three-plus years at the school.
“I just think the AU in the middle of the field is the one thing we ask is for them to not step on it, we just hope the opponents wouldn’t do that,” Auburn quarterback Sean White said. “They didn’t really care. We just said we’ll come out in the game and handle it there.”
Auburn did just that running up a four possession lead by halftime time en route to a 56-3 win, the most lopsided victory in the 25-game series between the schools.