The No. 11 Auburn Tigers are in search of some much needed recalibration.
The loss to Florida shook up the national narrative surrounding quarterback Bo Nix. Can the freshman pick it back up as they visit the struggling Arkansas Razorbacks?
Refreshed, ready to go?
Not quite. The loss on the road at Florida stunned the Tigers. Arguably the toughest opponent Auburn had seen, their offense was dismantled by a locked-on Florida defense. Nix threw three of his five interceptions against Florida, and recorded his lowest completion rate in his freshman season.
Unquestionably, Auburn’s offense took a major hit with the loss of running back JaTarvious Whitlow. Whitlow suffered a knee injury late in the Florida game; an injury that resulted into something worse. Whitlow underwent a surgical procedure to correct the knee injury, and will miss four to six weeks. Behind Whitlow is Nix himself, who has established himself as a reliable dual threat. Nix has collected 191 yards and two touchdowns off of 45 carries.
Auburn has no shortage of options in its ground game, but designating another number one will be quite the challenge. None quite as impactful as Whitlow in the wildcat, but likely enough to get by. Senior Kam Martin has plenty of experience behind him, despite limited action this season. Martin’s brought 174 yards and two touchdowns to the table so far. But with plenty of wiggle room in four other running backs, expect Auburn to get experimental, especially against Arkansas.
Meanwhile, Auburn’s defense was fluttered by Florida. But Arkansas offers a chance to ease back in to the second half of the season, with Arkansas’s offense throwing up a measly 122 yards against Kentucky.
Nevertheless, Arkansas has made its presence felt in its past three games, with losses only within a touchdown. Is it a sign of a team pulling things together? Could they capitalize off of a down Auburn?
In spite of Arkansas’s lackluster season, Malzahn gave some insight on his and Morris’s relationship, noting his awareness of Arkansas’s capabilities.
Visit the Razorbacks
Auburn’s visit to Arkansas kicks off Saturday at noon on SEC Network.