Recap: Arkansas vs. Auburn
Fayetteville, AR (SportsNetwork.com) - Tre Mason had four touchdown runs to power the eighth-ranked Auburn Tigers to a 35-17 road win over the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Mason finished with 168 yards on a career-high 32 carries for Auburn (8-1, 4-1 SEC).
Nick Marshall started at quarterback for the Tigers after suffering a shoulder injury in last Saturday's win over Florida Atlantic. He was 7-of-8 passing for 118 yards with a third-quarter touchdown of 88 yards to Sammie Coates.
Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen, shaken up early in the game, completed 10- of-22 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. Jonathan Williams rushed for 104 yards on 15 carries and Alex Collins added 92 rushing yards for the Razorbacks (3-6, 0-5), who have dropped six straight.
"We're learning how to run the football better, learning how to do certain things in the passing game," said Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema. "It's not what everybody wants to hear, it's baby steps and I'd much rather be sprinting, but we're walking."
Arkansas ran the ball effectively on the game's opening drive, with three carries by Williams quickly moving the ball into Auburn territory.
The positive start to the possession, however, was followed by an injury to Allen, whose right foot was stepped on at the end of a short run to the Auburn 20. Backup quarterback AJ Derby took over the offense and had his first pass attempt batted by defensive end Dee Ford and picked off by linebacker Cassanova McKinzy.
Allen missed the next Arkansas series during which Derby committed a second turnover, fumbling the snap. Auburn's Kris Frost made the recovery at the Arkansas 29 and consecutive runs by Mason staked the Tigers to a 7-0 lead.
A personal foul on Auburn extended the Razorbacks' third drive, one that featured the return of Allen to the contest and ended with Zach Hocker kicking a 34-yard field goal two-plus minutes into the second quarter.
The Razorbacks then tried to surprise the Tigers with an onside kick, but were unsuccessful as Auburn recovered in excellent field position. Mason capped a 6-play, 38-yard drive with a 4-yard TD run.
Arkansas meticulously moved the ball down the field on its next possession, consuming over eight minutes of the clock. Allen hooked up with Keon Hatcher for 20 yards to set up a 1st-and-goal from the Auburn 4. The Tigers defense came through with a goal-line stand as Williams, on the 17th play of the drive, was tackled for a loss on fourth down from the 1.
"It felt like a big play in the game was that fourth down stop by our defense," said Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn.
The Tigers scored touchdowns on their first two drives in the third quarter to go up 28-3. Mason's third trip to the end zone preceded the long scoring strike between Marshall and Coates.
Arkansas, though, didn't go away easily.
Korliss Marshall returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards and Allen lobbed a pass to Hatcher for a 13-yard touchdown.
After a rare three-and-out by Auburn, Allen hit Hatcher for 12 yards on 3rd- and-9 from the Arkansas 28. Later, the Tigers were flagged for consecutive pass interference penalties, advancing the ball to their 16-yard line. Kiero Small then opened the fourth quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run, closing the gap to 28-17.
The Tigers then orchestrated a 9-play drive that Mason capped with his fourth TD run.Game Notes
Mason has now rushed for at least one touchdown in six consecutive games ...
The Razorbacks played a school-record fifth straight ranked opponent ...
Auburn owns a 12-10-1 mark overall against Arkansas.