AUBURN, Ala. – At the midpoint of the season, Auburn (4-2, 1-1) controls its Southeastern Conference destiny, one of six such teams, a motivator for the Tigers.
“Knowing that we can compete for the SEC championship, that motivates the whole team and the coaches as well,” senior running back Shaun Shivers said. “We know what we can do and what kind of team we are. We’re going out there and doing what we’re supposed to do on the practice field, then bringing it to the game field.”
The game field Saturday will be inside Reynolds Razorback Stadium, where Arkansas (4-2, 1-2) returns after consecutive losses at Georgia and Ole Miss.
“Tough, physical, those two things stand out,” said Auburn coach Bryan Harsin of the Razorbacks, who began the season with four straight wins, including victories against Texas and Texas A&M. “They’re two points away from being 5-1.”
Among SEC quarterbacks, the Razorbacks K.J. Jefferson ranks second in rushing yards with 320. Jefferson (No. 7) and Auburn’s Bo Nix (No. 9) rank in the top 10 in the conference in total offense.
“He’s definitely a run threat,” Auburn edge rusher Derick Hall said. “That’s going to be huge for us, being able to set edges and contain him in the pass lane.”
After playing at night in Auburn’s first two away games, the Tigers will kick off at 11 a.m. CT Saturday in Fayetteville. The game will be televised on CBS with Noah Eagle, Rick Neuheisel, Aaron Murray and Jenny Dell on the call. You can also listen to Andy Burcham, Stan White and Ronnie Brown who will have the radio call on 93.9 Tiger FM and online at AuburnTigers.com.
“Just keep growing,” Harsin said. “Keep developing and keep believing in what we’re doing, and have ourselves ready to go again this week against a really good team.”
THREE QUESTIONS WITH … RB SHAUN SHIVERS
Q: You missed a couple of games. What’s it been like to be back with this offense?
A: It felt great because I know what I bring to the team. I know I can bring explosiveness to the offense and just help my team with the positive energy, help us get out there and get going. I’m just so grateful to be back out here.
A: I just love how physical we are. We all run hard, we’re all going to break tackles, we all love contact – downhill, physical. One thing I love about Jarquez, I love how he’s real athletic. He can jump over people. He can do everything. I just love the way he plays.
Q: For you, where’s that physical mentality come from?
A: I’ve had that mentality since I was a kid. I’ve been playing football since I was 4 years old, so as I got older, that’s when I really started doing those things. We used to do a lot of inside drills. I was fast, so I just wanted to outrun people. But my coach, he told me to hit it up the middle, stay downhill and just be physical. From that point on, that’s just been me.
INSIDE THE SERIES: ARKANSAS
Auburn holds an 18-11-1 advantage in the series history with Arkansas, and the Tigers were
51-10 winners in the last matchup in Fayetteville in 2019. Auburn was a 30-28 winner last season in Auburn. The current five-game win streak by Auburn is the longest winning streak by either team in series history and is tied for Auburn’s longest active winning against an SEC opponent. The Tigers have also won five in a row against Ole Miss.
Auburn has scored at least 30 points in eight straight games against the Razorbacks.
Through the first 25 games in the series, Auburn outscored Arkansas by a total of just 633-629, an average differential of just 0.16 points per contest. The first 10 games (1984-2000) of the series featured six games decided by six points or fewer, including one tie; only three games were decided by 17 or more points.
In contrast, the last 20 games (2001-2020) of the series have featured 15 games decided by 17 points or more. During that span, the average margin of victory is 20.4 points per game.
Series: Auburn, 18-11-1
At Auburn: Auburn, 8-5-1
At Georgia: Auburn, 8-5
At Neutral Sites: Tied, 1-1
First Meeting: 1984 (Auburn, 21-15)
Most AU points: 65 (2010)
Current Streak: Auburn, W5
BY THE NUMBERS
9.2: Anders Carlson ranks fifth in the SEC in scoring at 9.2 points per game. He ranks No. 3 in Auburn career scoring with 330 points.
12: Freshman running back Jarquez Hunter has 12 carries of 10 or more yards, including seven of 20 or more. Hunter’s school-record 94-yard touchdown run against Alabama State is tied for the longest run nationally this season.
49: With 49 tackles for loss, Auburn ranks second in the SEC and sixth nationally, averaging 8.17 per game. Eku Leota (6), T.D. Moultry (6), Derick Hall (5) and Colby Wooden (5) lead the Tigers individually. In all, 17 Auburn defenders have had a hand in at least one TFL this season.
210: Auburn has scored 210 points in six games (35 points per game), the 12th most in six games in program history. The highest total was 256 points in 1995.