Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) throws against BYU during an NCAA college football game in Provo, Utah, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (Ben B. Braun/The Deseret News via AP)

Arkansas Travels to Auburn

For the first time in nearly a month, Auburn returns to Jordan-Hare Stadium to host the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday. Both Arkansas (4-3) and Auburn (3-4) come into this SEC West matchup with a healthier, better-rested squad after last week’s bye.

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Entering this weekend, both teams hold conference records of 1-3 and are joined by Texas A&M at the bottom of the SEC West rankings. However, this season’s slate of games for both Auburn and Arkansas has been stacked. Going into week nine, Auburn has faced three ranked opponents (Penn State, Georgia and Ole Miss), while Arkansas has faced four (Cincinnati, Texas A&M, Alabama and Mississippi State).

Arkansas entered the bye with a 52-35 win over BYU. The win ended their three-game losing streak.

Auburn on the other hand, recorded their third consecutive loss after falling 48-34 to Ole Miss.

Coaches Take

Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman is hungry for his first win against Auburn and hopes his squad can break their six-game losing streak in the series. However, he isn’t entering this weekend with overconfidence.

Pittman says that an opponent’s record is not something to focus on as much as their film. When preparing for this weekend, he said that Auburn is scary on both sides of the ball due to their talent and grit. On top of this, lacking a home field advantage is another circumstance Arkansas has to account for on Saturday.

Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin took a similar stance when preparing for the weekend. In his eyes, each week is a blank slate. He said there is work to be done and mistakes to build off of every week, regardless of factors like record and ranking.

Harsin believes his team has turned the corner and is prepared to up the momentum in the latter half of the season.

Key Players

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson put on a powerful performance against BYU after missing the Mississippi State matchup due to injury. Jefferson racked up a career-high five touchdowns on the road, bringing his season stats to 14 touchdowns and only one interception. After a strong showing and additional recovery time during the bye, Jefferson is a major threat against Auburn.

Other players Harsin has on his radar include running back Raheim Sanders on offense, and linebacker Drew Sanders.

Drew Sanders, a transfer from Alabama, has had a stellar season. He earned himself the accolade of a spot on the midseason All-America team last week and leads the SEC in sacks.

Sanders leads the SEC with 870 rushing yards and is explosive on the field. Slowing him down and marking him strategically is a priority on Auburn’s defensive agenda.

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Auburn has been in the face of adversity this season. From injured starters to the transfer of Bo Nix to Oregon, Auburn looks to persevere through a tough start to the season.

With eyes on the game ahead, Owen Pappoe is a player to watch on Auburn’s defense. He has been climbing up the SEC tackle standings after recording a career-high of 16 tackles in Oxford. It will be crucial for a strong performance from Pappoe and Auburn’s entire defensive line to stop the chemistry that Arkansas has displayed on offense.

Game Details

Kickoff in Auburn is slated for Saturday at noon.

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