For the first 30 minutes, Arkansas went blow-for-blow with the defending SEC champion.
But depth and halftime adjustments pushed Auburn to a 45-21 win in the season opener.
The Razorbacks’ offense was held to just 51 yards after halftime as they were outscored 24-0.
“I think we began to press a little bit when we were down by two scores whether it was coaches or players,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. “We had a plan that was working. We were able to run the football effectively. We just didn’t go to it much in third quarter.>
Tied 21-21 at the half, Auburn brought Nick Marshall in at quarterback to start the third quarter and it appeared that was the jump start the Tigers needed. Auburn took the second half kick off and marched down the field, capped by a 19-yard scoring run by Marshall to regain the lead for good. Marshall sat out the entire first half. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn had suspended Marshall after the quarterback was cited for marijuana possession last month.
The Auburn defense then stiffened up in the second half. Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen was hit on a third quarter throw, causing the pass to shoot straight toward Auburn safety Jermaine Whitehead. Whitehead returned the interception 33 yards for the score and essentially put the game away.
“I think they did bring a little more pressure in the second half,” Allen said. “We were running the ball really well but credit them. They made some good adjustments to our run game.”
Auburn (1-0, 1-0 SEC) jumped out to an early lead and then pushed that advantage to 21-7 but Arkansas’s ground game took over. The Razorbacks (0-1, 0-1) put together touchdown drives of 75 and 93 yards in the second quarter to tie the game at 21.
Brandon Allen finished 18-of-31 passing for 175 yards and two touchdowns along with the interception. Alex Collins led the ground game with 68 yards but Korliss Marshall left the game in the first half with a right arm injury.
Auburn finished with 595 yards of total offense, 243 coming from Jeremy Johnson who started the game at quarterback for the Tigers.