Like It Is

Auburn just keeps sinking deeper under Harsin

Auburn coach Bryan Harsin (left) shakes hands with Arkansas coach Sam Pittman following the Razorbacks' 41-27 victory on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Auburn, Ala.

AUBURN, Ala. — They came, they saw and got the heck out of there long before the Arkansas Razorbacks had beaten their hometown heroes 41-27.

All things considered — and there’s a laundry list of considerations — Auburn fans are loyal and deserve better.

The Tiger Nation is suffering through what Razorback Nation went through during the Chad Morris era.

Against cool temperatures and gray skies, the Auburn fans almost filled Jordan-Hare Stadium. They arrived full of hope and left as the fourth quarter started — once again full of disappointment.

For months, head coach Bryan Harsin has been on the hot seat and it warmed up even more Saturday as the Razorbacks pounded and passed for 520 yards with a dominating second-half performance.

So many of Harsin’s recruits have transferred that the school should consider adding a Greyhound bus station on campus.

He’s been accused of not caring about his players and was investigated last winter. He was retained rather than given a buyout, a buyout that is down to $16 million and drops considerably if he finishes the season.

He closed last season losing the final five games and opened this season by losing five and winning just three.

The recruiting hasn’t been up to Auburn standards, and sandwiched between Alabama and Georgia it has to be exceptional, which means top 10.

However, the Tigers were not without speed and some talent, but they were not consistent on either side of the ball. There were mental and physical breakdowns, and in the eighth game of the season were flagged for having too many players on the field.

The Razorbacks handed the Tigers a golden opportunity to start the game. On the Hogs’ first play, KJ Jefferson was sacked, and the possession ended in a shanked punt that put Auburn in play at its 49 but ended with a missed field goal.

On its second possession, Arkansas lost the ball on a fumble, giving Auburn possession at the Hogs’ 47. This time they hit a field goal, but 3-0 will never be the hole a 14-0 score can be.

The Razorbacks settled down on their third possession and drove 75 yards in eight plays for a 7-3 lead. It was an advantage they never lost.

The teams went into halftime almost even statistically and on the scoreboard with the Razorbacks leading 17-13.

Auburn came out and ground its way to the Arkansas 28, but Jordan Domineck sacked quarterback Robby Ashford and the Tigers’ long field-goal try was blocked.

The Razorbacks drove 64 yards and scored on a 11-yard pass from Jefferson to Jadon Haselwood.

Arkansas started its next drive on its 6, but on first down Raheim Sanders changed the game with a 76-yard run that set up a 2-yard touchdown run out of the Wild Hog by Rashod Dubinion.

That made it 31-13, and the most action in the stadium was the fans heading for the exits.

Sanders would finish the day with 171 yards on 16 carries and Jefferson completed 16 of 24 passes for 234 yards.

The defense did bend, but it didn’t break. It allowed Auburn a total of 468 yards, its most in an SEC game this season.

When they needed big plays, they came up with them.

Arkansas is now 5-3, one win short of being bowl eligible. The Razorbacks are riding a two-game winning streak but with a huge challenge coming to town this Saturday in Liberty, led by former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.

The Flames, who had an open date this weekend, are 7-1 and the only loss was to a very good Wake Forest, which is No. 10 in The Associated Press poll.

It won’t get any easier for Auburn, on or off the field.