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Well, the stats don't lie. Just liked we talked about, Arkansas can't seem to stop the run game, though it appeared to be getting traction in the 3rd quarter by stuffing the Mason/CAP combo. Nor could they score points, giving up typical yards and points on the group while being held under their season average of points.
Face it, though. They knew what was coming and stacked the box accordingly in the 2nd half. Had I known better, I might have thought Tommy Tuberville was calling plays. It sure looked that way as Auburn ran several 3 and out series right up the gut. But, it killed time in the 4th quarter and ultimately doomed the Hogs who could only run the ball. Painful to watch, yet effective.
Auburn kept to their typical MO, smashing the Hogs in the face in the first half with brutal runs. Mason rolled up 4...GASP....4 TDs. The 5th Auburn TD coming on that gorgeous pass to Coates, who upped his yards per catch yet again and still leads the nation. Who would have thought...right?
Speaking of stats, the total yards and the yardage breakdown were eerily similar. Rushing yards, passing yards, total yards....all incredibly similar. But, the scoreboard says otherwise thanks to that bend over backwards but come up big Auburn defense. That included a 4th and goal stop that really, to me, was the end of the game. Auburn, on the other hand, can't be stopped in the redzone.
I called it wrong on the feature back of the day. CAP only saw a couple of carries, which really surprised me. But, 4 TDs from Mason surprised me to. We all knew Mason was the #1, but there is a big difference in being the #1 and being the feature back. I think it's obvious that he will be used as a work horse to the extent we are used to seeing Auburn use, as in Bo, Tate, etc.
As far as the dedication to improving the deep ball? Well, how is 1 for 1...88 yards and a TD? I think that qualifies.
Grant did see some touches, but with Mason being on fire, it wasn't enough to spring him for big yards.
Defensively, the Tigers had a hard time slowing down the rushing attack. But, they came up big with several turnovers and a critical 4th and goal stop. They held the Hogs right at 350 yards. That was 50 more than I expected, but also 2 more turnovers than I expected as well. A host of new-ish faces made impacts on defense...which was really awesome to see.
Overall, the game was difficult for me to watch. The defense gave up huge chunks of land...particularly on 3rd down. The 3rd and to go must have averaged 6-8 yards, and yet the Hogs continually picked it up. So frustrating. Additionally, the MLB play in the first half was, once again, atrocious. At one point, Holland literally ducked out of the way of a blocker as the runner ran by.
I was very close on the score. My guess was 35-10 and the scoreboard says 35-17. I'll take it, even if I wasn't really close on my predictions for specific stats.