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Kevin Steele: Auburn’s win over Arkansas ‘started up front and ended up front’

Auburn defensive lineman Carl Lawson dances in the pregame before playing Arkansas Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn defensive lineman Carl Lawson dances in the pregame before playing Arkansas Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

AUBURN, Ala. Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele meticulously laid out the formula for his group’s success in Saturday night’s 56-3 win over Arkansas.

It turned out to be a pretty simple one.

“It started up front and ended up front,” Steele said during his weekly press conference Sunday night.

Steele broke the performance down by the numbers.

“From start to finish, snap one to 64 that the front played exceptionally well,” Steele said. “They affected the run game, affected the passer. On every single play, we had the front four either knocking people back or affecting the rusher.”

According to Steele, Arkansas called 26 run plays to 38 pass attempts. The Razorbacks gained 40 yards for an average of 1.5 yards per carry. The quarterback was knocked down 15 times and sacked four times.

Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson made major contributions — Lawson had a career-high seven quarterback hurries — but it was a complete effort up front with all eight players in the rotation making at least one impact play.

“We’ve always said we’ve got a group of about eight to nine, when we’re fully healthy, that we feel comfortable playing,” Steele said. “There are probably six to seven of those guys we feel comfortable playing at any point and time in the game.”

Steele’s praise of the defensive line echoed what players said Saturday night.

“Our defensive line played lights out today,” Auburn linebacker Deshaun Davis said.

The group deserves the praise, but now it’s time to tune it out. Steele indulged the media’s questions about the Arkansas game, but starting tomorrow he won’t be kind to any players he hears talking about the dominant performance.

“All in all, it was a very good complete game,” Steele said. “It's over. It's done with. Henceforth, until the banquet occurs and they show the highlight tape, they're not allowed to talk about Arkansas except to say thank you. We've moved on to Ole Miss.”

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