War Eagle Extra

Rhett Lashlee: Offensive numbers against Arkansas will be hard to replicate in Oxford

Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway takes a handoff in pregame drills Saturdat, Oct. 22, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway takes a handoff in pregame drills Saturdat, Oct. 22, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee hasn’t seen very many box scores like the one from Saturday’s 56-3 win over Arkansas.

The Tigers ran the ball 57 times for 543 yards with seven touchdowns for an average of 9.53 yards per carry.

“It's a huge plus when you have that ability to lean on a strength like that,” Lashlee said.

With Auburn heading to Oxford to face the worst rushing defense in the SEC, is a repeat performance on-deck? Lashlee isn’t so sure.

“Saturday was kind of unusual,” Lashlee said. “I think the last time it was like that was probably the Tennessee game in ‘13. You're averaging around 10 yards per carry and there's not as much need to throw the football. That's very rare. That's not going to happen again this year, probably.”

A look through the record books proves Lashlee right.

Auburn’s seven completions against Arkansas were the third fewest during Lashlee’s 47 games as offensive coordinator. It was only the fifth time during that time span the offense finished with less than 100 passing yards.

Quarterback Nick Marshall’s three completions for 35 yards in the 2013 Tennessee game Lashlee referenced are the lowest totals in both categories.

Rushing for 500 yards is also a rare feat.

Auburn ran for 545 yards in the 2013 SEC Championship against Missouri, but Saturday’s game against Arkansas was the first time the program had more than 500 rushing yards against an SEC opponent during the regular season.

The team’s 444 rushing yards in the ’13 Tennessee game was its previous record against an SEC opponent.

“They really remind me of the Tre Mason days now to where they’re just so committed to what they do and who they are,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said on Wednesday’s weekly coaches conference call. “I just think they’ve got back their identity and really committed to it. It’s the same stuff that I’ve seen from Gus over his years and now Rhett’s just carrying it on.”

Last week, LSU running back Leonard Fournette ran for 284 yards last week in a 38-21 win over the Rebels.

Ole Miss hadn’t given up more yards per carry in game (8.64) in more than five years.

The recent results would suggest Saturday’s game is a mismatch in Auburn’s favor, but Lashlee isn’t writing off a struggling Rebels defense.

“They have had a couple games in the running category where they’ve given up some big plays, and I really think that’s the reason it’s skewed that way,” Lashlee said. “They’re a lot different than say Arkansas or Mississippi State. They’re very athletic. They’re not quite as big up front, but they’re very athletic, they rush the passer better than both those teams, they move a lot, and I think that allows those guys to make plays. Just from a scheme standpoint, they do a little bit more blitzing. They’re a little bit more of an aggressive defense.”

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra