No. 15 Auburn Tigers (4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) at No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS), Saturday October 8th, 2011. 7:00PM EST, College Football Week 6
Razorback Stadium Fayetteville, Ark
By Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Aub +10/Ark -10
Over/Under Total: 63
SEC West action heats up this Saturday when the no. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks host the no. 15 Auburn Tigers from Razorback Stadium. Both teams enter this Saturday’s meeting fresh off big wins last week. The Razorbacks bounced back from an embarrassing loss to Alabama by knocking off the Texas A&M Aggies who were ranked inside the top 10 by a score of 42-38. The Tigers also knocked off a top ten opponent by upsetting the South Carolina Gamecocks 16-13. Auburn was actually a double digit underdog on the road at South Carolina, but come up with a big defensive performance to remain undefeated in conference play.
The Razorbacks were completely embarrassed by Alabama two weeks ago 38-14. The loss to the Crimson Tide appeared to not only be a big setback but show the separation gap between the Razorbacks and top echelon of the SEC. However, the Razorbacks responded by knocking off a highly ranked Texas A&M team last week and storming back from a 35-17 halftime deficit to make a statement to the rest of the nation. QB Tyler Wilson led the Razorbacks passing attack and mounted the comeback in the 2nd half. Wilson completed 31 of 50 passing for 510 yards with 3 scores and 0 picks. It was a big performance for the Razorbacks junior quarterback, but just what the offense needed to start clicking after an embarrassing performance the week before.
The Razorbacks already have one of the best receiving corps in the entire nation and a passing attack that ranks 7th in the NCAA by posting 359 yards per game. Receivers Jarius Wright, Cobi Hamilton, and Joe Adams all have big play capability. Wright leads the group with 5 scores and 478 yards through the air. Hamilton has not disappointed either averaging just less than 20 yards per reception and 318 yards on the year. Arkansas has the talent in the passing game to make any defensive team wary and the Razorbacks may be extremely aggressive this Saturday when they battle an Auburn secondary that has given up 232 yards per game on the year (74th in NCAA).
Therefore the Auburn defense will need to play well again this Saturday as they did against the Gamecocks last week. The Tigers gave up a few big plays through the air last week, but were solid overall. The Tigers rushing attack was the major difference on the offensive side of the football in their game against South Carolina. Running back Michael Dyer had a huge game carrying the ball 41 times for 141 yards and 1 touchdown. The Tigers rushing attack controlled the tempo of the game which resulted in Auburn controlling the football for nearly 40 of the 60 minutes of play.
The Auburn rushing attack has been a consistent force for the offense this season. Dyer has been stellar with 567 yards on the season with 7 scores and backup tailback Onterio McCalebb has added 221 yards as well. On the other hand, the Tigers passing attack has been up and down this season behind the play of QB Barrett Trotter. Trotter has completed 59% passing for 895 yards with 9 scores and 5 picks. Trotter threw for just 112 yards with 1 score and 2 picks in last week’s win over South Carolina in what was a frustrating offensive performance. It will be interesting to see how the Tigers react if the Arkansas offense comes out and starts putting points on the scoreboard. Will Trotter have to step up and put up big numbers throwing the football? Something he has failed to do this season or will Auburn stick to the rushing attack on the ground?
The biggest concern possibly for both teams will be how each offense starts this Saturday. Arkansas was held to just 10 points against Alabama and appeared to be in another offensive slump before catching fire in the 2nd half against the Aggies. Auburn was held to just 9 points in nearly 58 minutes of play against South Carolina before scoring a late touchdown to capture the victory. The Tigers had over 90 offensive snaps in their victory over the Gamecocks but only 16 points to show for it. Therefore, I believe it will be interesting to see which offense can obtain a good start this Saturday and sustain some type of momentum.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Barring any letdown performance, I believe Arkansas has the ability to expose the Tigers rather weak secondary in the passing game. Not only do the Razorbacks have too much offensive firepower, but they also have a solid defense that will be ready for the Tigers rushing game. Take Arkansas for a big win.
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