How Arkansas and Auburn compare at each position

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Saturday, September 22, 2018
Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey looks to throw during a game against Colorado State on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Fort Collins, Colo.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey looks to throw during a game against Colorado State on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Fort Collins, Colo.

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks

Can Ty Storey (17-30-2, 297 yards, 3 TD) be the first Hogs QB to play a full game? He’ll have to operate better under pressure than at Colorado State or at Auburn in 2016. Cole Kelley (31-56-4, 379 yards, 3 TD) drops back to 2nd team after his 4-INT game. Storey has a 159.49 efficiency rating to Kelley’s 115.6 and was a DNP vs. North Texas. Hogs are No. 100 in pass efficiency (119.5)

Jarrett Stidham (48-75-2, 584 yards, 3 TD) is completing 64 percent of his passes. His efficiency rating of 137.3 ranks No. 65 in the FBS and his 194.7 passing yards per game is No. 71. Stidham has 36 rushing yards. He went 19 of 28 for 218 yards, with 0 TD and 1 INT last year vs. Arkansas as the Tigers rolled up 345 rushing yards. The Tigers are No. 69 in passing efficiency (137.3).

ADVANTAGE Auburn

Running backs

Not many holes last week for Devwah Whaley (45-205, 2 TD) and crew. Maleek Williams (8-91, 1) had a 68-yard TD romp. Chase Hayden (20-87) and T.J. Hammonds (7-22) are seeking a breakout game. Rakeem Boyd (13-79) had one at Colorado State, but followed it with no carries vs. North Texas. The Hogs are No. 75 in rushing (168.3).

Freshman JaTarvious Whitlow (44-254, 2), a 6-foot, 216-pounder, is listed behind Kam Martin (31-124, 1), but he’s playing more like the lead back for former Hog Tim Horton. Shaun Shivers (21-149, 2) averages 7.1 ypc, better than Whitlow (5.8) and Martin (4.0). WR Anthony Schwarz (4-44, 1) is the top jet sweep guy. Auburn is No. 28 in rushing (253.3).

ADVANTAGE Auburn

Receivers/tight ends

La’Michael Pettway (11-173, 3) and Mike Woods (4-61) were top targets last week. Jordan Jones (7-147, 1) remains a deep threat. Chase Harrell (4-60), Deon Stewart (4-22), Jared Cornelius (2-27) and Jonathan Nance look to break out. Can Cheyenne O’Grady resume his spring form to pitch in with TEs Jeremy Patton (4-39) and Austin Cantrell (3-63, TD) and Grayson Gunter (1-11)?

Ryan Davis (13-109) is Stidham’s favorite target, with H-back Chandler Cox (7-72) not far behind. Darius Slayton (6-74, 1) and Schwarz (5-104, 1) have been deeper threats, while Seth Williams (4-72) also chips in. Arkansas native Will Hastings and Eli Stove, who had a 78-yard end around TD on Auburn’s first snap vs. the Hogs in 2016, might return from injury against the Razorbacks.

ADVANTAGE Even

Offensive line

The Arkansas front had a rough game vs. UNT, struggling to move double teams or blow open gaps and yielding 5 sacks vs. frosh QB Connor Noland. Even veterans Johnny Gibson and Brian Wallace struggled. LT Colton Jackson should see more action. C Hjalte Froholdt and LG Ty Clary might reverse roles some. The Hogs are No. 80 in total offense (402.0) and No. 89 in sacks allowed (2.33).

The Tigers are looking for more consistency after amassing 328 yards and giving up 2 sacks vs. LSU. It’s an all-junior front: LT Prince Tega Wanogho, LG Marquel Harrell, C Kaleb Kim, RG Mike Horton and RT Jack Driscoll with freshmen Nick Brahms and Austin Troxell pushing for more playing time. The Tigers are 57 in total offense (438.3) and No. 24 in sacks allowed (1.0).

ADVANTAGE Auburn

DEFENSE

Line

Armon Watts (9, 3.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 hurry) has a sack per game. Watts and McTelvin Agim (9, 2.5 TFL, 7 hurries) are tied for the SEC lead with 2 FF. Randy Ramsey (1, 3 hurries) is healthier. Jamario Bell (8, 1 hurry), T.J. Smith (7, 1 TFL), Gabe Richardson (7, 1.5 TFL), Michael Taylor (7, 1 FF), Briston Guidry (6, 1 FR) and Jonathan Marshall (2) play. The Hogs are No. 15 run defense (87.3).

DTs Derrick Brown (15, 1 sack, 1 hurry) and Dontavious Russell (7, 3.5 TFL, 1 sack) are 6-5 and 6-3, respectively, weigh 320 each and make the A gaps tough sledding. The top ends are Marlon Davidson (8, 2 hurries), 6-5, 282-pound “Buck” Nick Coe (5, 3 TFL, 1 sack) and Big Kat Bryant (5, 2 sacks). Auburn is No. 17 in rushing defense (90.0).

ADVANTAGE Auburn

Linebackers

Arkansas MLB De’Jon Harris (32, 1 TFL, 4 PBU, 1 FF) leads the SEC in tackles. WLB Dre Greenlaw (10, 2 TFL) looks ready after missing 2 games. Bumper Pool (13, 1.5 TFL, 3 PBU, 1 FR), Grant Morgan (12, 2 TFL), Dee Walker (7) and Hayden Henry (6) have helped in his stead. Arkansas is No. 90 in total defense (403.3) and No. 64 in turnover margin (0.0).

The Tigers can boast three senior starters in Deshaun Davis (24, 4.5 TFL, 1 sack, 3 hurries) in the middle, Darrell Williams (14, 1 TFL, 2 PBU) on the strong side and Montavious Atkinson (5, 1 hurry) on the weak side. Top backups are K.J. Britt (7, 1.5 TFL) and Chandler Wooten (3). Auburn ranks No. 40 in total defense (324.3) and No. 64 in turnover margin (0.0).

ADVANTAGE Even

Secondary

Even stalwart FS Santos Ramirez (20, 1 FR), CB Ryan Pulley (11, 1 INT, 2 PBU) and nickel D’Vone McClure (12, 1 sack, 2 PBU) had mis-steps last week. SS Kam Curl (12, 3 PBU, 1 FF) has been steady. Kevin Richardson should return from injury. Jarques McClellion (7, 2 PBU) and Montaric Brown (2) will work at CB with Chevin Calloway (7, 2 FF) and Britto Tutt (1) out. The Hogs are No. 80 in efficiency and No. 119 in passing yards (316.0).

Strong safety Daniel Thomas (12, 2 INT, 1 PBU) has half the team’s 4 interceptions. Noah Igbinoghene (11, 3 PBU) and Jamel Dean (6, 1 INT, 2 PBU) are the starting CBs. Free safety Jeremiah Dinson (12, 1.5 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 hurry) has made plays all over the field. The Tigers are No. 44 in pass efficiency defense and No. 83 in passing yards (234.3).

ADVANTAGE Auburn

Special teams

Connor Limpert is 12 of 12 on PAT, 5 of 7 on FGA, with a long of 54. He has 7 touchbacks on 20 kickoffs. Arkansas is No. 125 in net punting (29.1) and No. 123 in average (34.0). Top KORs De’Vion Warren (25.0), Gary Cross and Tutt are all out. Deon Stewart (23.0) has taken over punt return duties and the Hogs are No. 12 in that statistic. Aside from the 90-yard faux fair catch play last week, the coverage units have been solid.

The Tigers are No. 15 in net punting (42.4) behind Arryon Siposs (44.2 avg.). 6-5 kicker Anders Carlson (3 of 6 FGs, 9 of 9 PAT) is no Daniel Carlson, but neither is Daniel apparently. The newest Carlson has an impressive 14 touchbacks on 16 kickoffs. Auburn ranks No. 44 on punt returns (12.0) and No. 72 on kickoff returns (20.1).

ADVANTAGE Auburn

Intangibles

The Razorbacks are looking for some kind of spark, their confidence hurting after losing 2 in a row to Group of 5 teams. The Hogs also need something to hang their hat on offensively after six interceptions last week. They have lost the last two games against Arkansas native Gus Malzahn by a combined 108-23. Signs aren’t positive for the Hogs at Jordan-Hare.

Auburn’s home loss to LSU last week, the Tigers’ second in a row in the series, will have the home crowd out for blood against a beleaguered opponent that is a rare four-touchdown underdog. Gus Malzahn’s role as an older brother in the hurry up, no huddle ranks to Chad Morris will hardly prevent him from rolling up a big win margin if possible.

ADVANTAGE Auburn

Discussion

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