War Eagle Extra

Auburn football: Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn directs record offense in Tigers' victory over Arkansas

Comes against his former team

By ANDY BITTER

abitter@ledger-enquirer.com

AUBURN, Ala. — So much for Arkansas having Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn’s number.

Malzahn directed the Tigers to a record-setting performance in a 65-43 victory Saturday against the Razorbacks.

Auburn’s 65 points are the most it has scored in an SEC game, breaking the program’s record of 63 set in 1970 against Florida. The Tigers hadn’t scored this many points since putting 73 on Louisiana-Monroe in 2003.

“Unstoppable? I wouldn’t say that,” Auburn quarterback Cam Newton said. “Our job is to just execute and do what the coaches tell us to do. I feel if we do that, only success is going to be down the road we travel.”

Malzahn, who got his start as a college coordinator at Arkansas in 2006, hadn’t had much success against his former team. He was on the losing end of a 30-23 final while at Tulsa in 2008. Last year, Auburn had a comedy of first-half errors in a 44-23 loss in Fayetteville, Ark.

There was no stopping his group Saturday, however. The Tigers finished with 470 yards and, more impressively, finished out drives. Auburn went 9-for-9 in the red zone: six touchdowns and three field goals.

“I think it is probably one of the most important things that an offense can do,” Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said. “Going 9-for-9 down there is pretty special.”

As is his nature, Malzahn focused on the things Auburn didn’t do well, but he managed some faint praise for the running game.

The Tigers ran the ball at will, carrying 49 times for 330 yards. It was the fourth time they topped 300 yards in a game this year and the third time they have done it against an SEC opponent.

Auburn had five touchdown runs by four players: Tailbacks Mario Fannin, Onterio McCalebb and Mike Dyer all found the end zone; Newton did three times.

“I really liked that we had a must-run situation at the end, and we just opened up a hole for Mike,” Malzahn said. “Kind of put the game away. That’s nice.”

Much of the credit for the yardage goes to Newton, who ran 25 times for 188 yards. He has 860 rushing yards this season, most in the league. He has four of the top-50 rushing performances in Auburn history, despite playing only seven games, but was quick to pass the credit.

“The honor goes to the offensive line,” Newton said, rattling off the linemen’s names. “Those guys come in every single day, don’t complain, don’t do nothing but their job, and, ever since they took that challenge early in the season, they really haven’t looked back.”

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