Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Elevator strands assistants
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema signals to a players during the first half against Auburn of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
AUBURN, Ala. --Arkansas’ assistant coaches who work from the press box, including offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, weren’t able to make it to the team locker room at halftime because of an elevator problem.
Razorbacks Coach Bret Bielema said after the game that he didn’t know the details, but that the coaches were “stuck” in an elevator.
He said the assistants had to stay upstairs and they communicated at halftime on cellphones.
Weather flagged for delay
Arkansas' game against Auburn on Saturday was delayed by lightning with 9:55 left in the fourth quarter and the Tigers leading 38-21.
Both teams went to their locker rooms and fans were advised to seek cover -- a warning ignored by many Auburn students who remained in the stands -- after lightning struck 8 miles from Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The game was delayed 1 hour and 28 minutes before play resumed at 7:20 p.m.
It was the first time an Arkansas game was delayed by lightning since Oct. 12, 2012, when the Razorbacks' 49-7 victory over Kentucky in Fayetteville was called with 5:08 left in the third quarter after two delays.
That game also marked Arkansas' last SEC victory.
Arkansas had two first-time starters on the defensive line with redshirt sophomores Taiwan Johnson at nose guard and JaMichael Winston at end.
Senior TQ Coleman made his first start at outside linebacker, where he moved last spring after being a backup safety last season and playing almost exclusively on special teams.
Senior receiver Demetrius Wilson, who redshirted last season because of a knee injury, made his first career start.
Redshirt junior Mitch Smothers made his first start at center after starting the first four games at offensive tackle as a true freshman in 2011.
Senior AJ Derby made his first start at tight end after making one start at quarterback last season at Rutgers in place of injured Brandon Allen.
The Razorbacks opened with two tight ends as sophomore Hunter Henry started along with Derby.
The Razorbacks played six true freshmen: Nose guard Bijhon Jackson, receiver Jared Cornelius, cornerback Henre Toliver, linebackers Dewayne Eugene and Randy Ramsey and safety Josh Liddell.
There also were six redshirt freshmen who played: Defensive ends Tevin Beanum and Karl Roesler, safety De'Andre Coley, running back Denzell Evans, cornerback Kevin Richardson and receiver Anthony Antwine.
Junior college transfers who played were linebacker Josh Williams, receiver Cody Hollister and guard Sebastian Tretola.
Pass and catching
Arkansas tight end AJ Derby, who was the backup quarterback last season and threw one touchdown pass, scored a touchdown on the first reception of his career. He caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Allen in the third quarter.
Arkansas' 93-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter -- capped by Jonathan Williams' 6-yard run -- was the longest by the Razorbacks since they had a 95-yarder against Ole Miss in 2012.
Auburn linebacker Robenson Therezie was declared eligible top play by Arkansas on Friday night after his status had been in doubt because of what the school had termed "eligibility issues."
Robenson made a key play in the third quarter when his hit on quarterback Brandon Allen forced a wobbly pass that Jermaine Whitehead intercepted and returned 33 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 35-21 lead.
SEC Network play-byplay man Brent Musburger couldn’t resist calling on an old Arkansas stereotype after the Razorbacks rallied from two touchdowns down to tie Auburn 21-21 at halftime of Saturday’s game.
“Hey you folks shopping at Wal-Mart in Arkansas, you need to head on home and watch the second half of this football game,” Musburger said.
There was no need to hurry, as it turned out. Auburn outscored Arkansas 24-0 in a second-half that was extended by an 88-minute weather delay and beat the Razorbacks 45-21 in the season opener for both teams.
Turning 30 again
Auburn scored 30 or more points for the 11th consecutive game, including the final 10 last season when their high came in a 62-3 victory over Western Carolina.
The Tigers beat Arkansas 35-17 last season.
The last time Auburn failed to score 30 or more points came in the Tigers' 35-21 loss to LSU.
Arkansas fell to 0-9 against nationally ranked teams the past three seasons with its loss to No. 6 Auburn.
Last season the Razorbacks lost to No. 10 Texas A&M, No. 18 Florida, No. 14 South Carolina, No. 1 Alabama, No. 8 Auburn and No. 15 LSU.
In 2012, Arkansas lost to No. 1 Alabama, No. 12 South Carolina and No. 8 LSU.
Arkansas’ last victory over a ranked team came in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 7, 2012, when the Razorbacks beat No. 11 Kansas State 29-16.
Gus at Auburn
Gus Malzahn improved to 30-3 in games at Jordan-Hare Stadium in which he’s been a head coach and offensive coordinator. His first victory came as Arkansas’ offensive coordinator when the Razorbacks beat the Tigers 27-10 in 2006.
Arkansas fell to 0-3 when opening the season against a conference team.
Previously the Razorbacks lost to Baylor 12-0 in Little Rock in 1958 and lost at Texas 23-17 in 1980.
Auburn is 16-10 in season openers against SEC teams and has won four in a row. In addition to Saturday’s victory, the Tigers’ beat Ole Miss in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
Sports on 08/31/2014