Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
GAME WEEK: ARKANSAS AT NO. 6 AUBURN:
UA won't be in awe at Auburn
Arkansas has had success on Plains
University of Arkansas running back Alex Collins is taken down by Auburn defenders Robenson Therezie and Jermain Whitehead during the second quarter of Saturday night's game at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas jogged off the field victorious the last time it visited Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium.
That 24-7 victory Oct. 6, 2012, wasn't out of the ordinary for the Razorbacks, who have won in three of their past four visits to Auburn and own a 5-5-1 record there heading into Saturday's 3 p.m. season opener.
Arkansas vs. Auburn
• A look at Arkansas’ past five games against Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.:
ARKANSAS 24, AUBURN 7
The Razorbacks won the battle between two teams going nowhere, with Trey Flowers racking up 3 1/2 of Arkansas’ 8 sacks. Brandon Mitchell threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Javontee Herndon off a reverse in one of the few daring decisions made by John L. Smith’s staff during a 4-8 season. Current Razorbacks Alan Turner and Will Hines had interceptions among the Hogs’ five takeaways.
NO. 7 AUBURN 65, NO. 12 ARKANSAS 43
Cam Newton, who accounted for four touchdowns and 328 total yards, was almost unstoppable for the Tigers, who would go on to win the BCS national championship. The Razorbacks, who lost quarterback Ryan Mallett to a concussion in the first quarter, were feisty. Tyler Wilson led Arkansas on a 22-7 run midway through the game to take a 43-37 lead early in the fourth quarter. If not for a pair of controversial officiating decisions — a Mario Fannin touchdown run in which it appeared the Auburn runner fumbled before reaching the goal line, and a Tigers fumble return for a touchdown on which Arkansas’ Broderick Green was essentially on his back when the ball came loose — the Hogs might have had a chance.
ARKANSAS 25, NO. 20 AUBURN 22
Coach Bobby Petrino’s first team shocked the Tigers the week after Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville, a Camden native, gave offensive coordinator Tony Franklin his walking papers, a precursor to the end of the Tuberville era. Michael Smith had a 63-yard touchdown as part of his 176 rushing yards and quarterback Casey Dick had a fourth-down touchdown run and a 6-yard throwback pass touchdown from Joe Adams. The Razorbacks dominated Auburn 416-193 in total yardage but still needed a goal-line stand with three consecutive incomplete passes by Auburn quarterback Kodi Burns, a Fort Smith native, from the Arkansas 4 late in the game.
ARKANSAS 27, NO. 2 AUBURN 10
The unranked Razorbacks upset the No. 2 Tigers, outgaining Auburn 366-213 in total yardage to gain the upper hand in the SEC West race, which the Razorbacks would go on to win. Darren McFadden rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown and Felix Jones added 104 yards and a score. Quarterback Mitch Mustain completed 7 of 10 passes for 87 yards, including a 50-yard TD strike to Marcus Monk. The game’s most notable play was receiver Reggie Fish’s 28-yard run on a misdirection play that Arkansas offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn named “Woody” for Chris Wood, now the coach at Springdale Har-Ber, that set up Jones’ 1-yard score and a 24-10 lead.
NO. 4 AUBURN 38, ARKANSAS 20
Jason Campbell passed for a career-high 297 yards and three touchdowns as the Tigers notched victory No. 7 en route to a 13-0 season and a No. 2 final ranking for Tommy Tuberville’s team. Auburn scored on its first five possessions for a 30-0 lead. The Razorbacks, who had won 38-17 in their last visit to the Plains in 2002, put up 20 points, the most allowed by the Tigers until Tennessee scored 28 in the SEC Championship Game.
Arkansas has the second-best winning percentage among SEC teams that have played more than one game at Jordan-Hare Stadium, where Auburn has a 297-74-7 record (.795).
NOTE Texas A&M is 1-0 at Jordan Hare; Missouri has not played there.
Research: Tom Murphy
"It jumped out to me a year ago when I saw the statistics, obviously," Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema said. "To have the traveling record over there, I think it's a good indicator that sometimes past history is one of the best things you can predict the future with, so I'm excited about sharing that with our guys."
Arkansas' success in Jordan-Hare is known by Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn, a Fort Smith native who as offensive coordinator helped orchestrate the Razorbacks' most notable achievement on the Plains, a 27-10 upset of the No. 2 Tigers in 2006.
"They definitely have had success," Malzahn said. "The thing about it is each year is definitely new and it's different. We played very good at home last year, so we're hoping the same thing will happen this year."
The Tigers, 8-0 at Jordan-Hare last year, have been equally undaunted at Reynolds Razorback Stadium with a 6-4 record at the Hogs' home, including a 35-17 victory last year.
"That series has always seemed to be a give-and-take series, where the visiting team has had some significant success," said Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney, who was a quarterback on Razorbacks teams that went 1-2-1 against Auburn, with a tie and a loss in Auburn, and the victory a 30-28 decision over the No. 11 Tigers in Little Rock en route to the 1995 SEC West title.
Arkansas defensive end Trey Flowers, an Alabama native, had 3 1/2 sacks for 43 yards in losses as part of his team's eight sacks in the 2012 game, a loss that hastened Gene Chizik's departure two years after he led the Tigers to the BCS national championship.
"We know it's a whole different team," Flowers said of Saturday's matchup. "Obviously they've got more confidence than they had two years ago. They've got a new offense.
"We know we're going to get a whole new team, so we've got a whole different mind-set."
Current Arkansas defensive backs Will Hines, Rohan Gaines, Davyon McKinney and Alan Turner started the 24-7 victory at Auburn, with Hines and Turner notching interceptions. Senior tackle Brey Cook is the only Arkansas offensive player who logged significant playing time in that game.
"I'm 1-0 at Auburn's stadium, so I'm excited to go back there," Cook said. "It's a fun place to play. It'll be fun for me and my teammates to go back.
Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen, who watched the 2012 game at Auburn on the sideline as a redshirt freshman, is aware of the Razorbacks' previous victories at Jordan-Hare.
"It's past teams. It's not really us yet," Allen said. "We need to be prepared to go down there and win all the same, but I think our preparation and work we're getting done is going to really drive us to win that game."
Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said he was uncertain whether the Razorbacks players knew about the program's success in Auburn.
"We don't make much to-do with all that stuff," Chaney said. "It's this team, this time, this Saturday."
The Razorbacks have beaten three Auburn teams ranked in the top 25 at Jordan-Hare, including the 27-10 decision against the 2006 Tigers, who were coached by Camden native Tommy Tuberville.
"We've all seen Arkansas teams go down there and play well," Lunney said. "Certainly it's been done before. It's not like something that's never been done. Hopefully we can go do it again."
Sports on 08/29/2014