Auburn hands Arkansas 6th straight loss
Posted: November 2, 2013 at 8:22 p.m.
FAYETTEVILLE Gus Malzahn finally has his homecoming win.
The first-year Auburn coach, an Arkansas high school coaching legend and former Razorbacks offensive coordinator, led his No. 11 Tigers to a 35-17 win over Arkansas on Saturday at Razorback Stadium. Malzahn was previously 0-3 in trips to Fayetteville as an offensive coordinator at Tulsa and Auburn.
Tre Mason rushed for 168 yards and a career-high 4 touchdowns as the Tigers (8-1, 4-1 SEC) held off a mini Arkansas rally to win their fifth straight game and hand the Razorbacks their sixth straight defeat.
Auburn led by as many as 25 points midway through the third quarter but Arkansas pulled within 28-17 on a short Kiero Small touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Mason's fourth touchdown run of 12 yards extended the Tigers' lead to 35-17 with 10:17 remaining. Arkansas had a fourth down conversion deep inside Auburn territory erased because of offensive pass interference on the next drive, allowing Auburn to work the clock and seal the win.
Arkansas had an impressive opening drive reach the red zone, but it ended when quarterback Brandon Allen left the game briefly with a leg injury suffered on a slide. Backup quarterback AJ Derby was intercepted on his first pass to end that drive and he fumbled a snap recovered by the Tigers at the Razorbacks' 29 on the second possession.
Mason's 20-yard run set up his first touchdown from 9 yards out to give Auburn a 7-0 lead.
Arkansas pulled within 7-3 on a 34-yard field goal by Zach Hocker early in the second quarter. But the Razorbacks' decision to attempt an onside kick backfired when Auburn recovered it at the Arkansas 38 to set up a second touchdown drive capped by a 4-yard Mason run.
The Razorbacks had a 17-play drive late in the second quarter end with an Auburn goal line stand. After reaching the 1-yard line, Jonathan Williams was stopped twice on runs up the middle and the Tigers led 14-3 at halftime.
Mason scored from 12 yards out on Auburn's first possession of the second half and the Tigers went up 28-3 when quarterback Nick Marshall connected on an 88-yard touchdown pass to Sammie Coats later in the quarter.
An 87-yard kickoff return by Korliss Marshall helped set up a 13-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Keon Hatcher and pull the Razorbacks within 28-10 late in the quarter. It was the first touchdown for Arkansas (3-6, 0-5 SEC) since an opening possession score against South Carolina on Oct. 12.
The Razorbacks scored again on their next drive, using a swinging gate play to convert a fourth down. With its field goal unit on the field, Brian Beuhner took a snap out of the formation and threw a 6-yard pass to Austin Tate to the Auburn 2.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema reported Auburn to the SEC office earlier in the week for not including a swinging gate formation it uses for extra points on the game film sent to the Razorbacks.
Small's 2-yard touchdown run on the next play pulled Arkansas within 11, but the Razorbacks could get no closer. Mason capped a 9-play, 75-yard drive with his final touchdown on the Tigers' next possession.
Williams rushed for 104 yards and Alex Collins added 94 yards for the Razorbacks. Collins was injured on the final offensive play of the game for Arkansas and taken for X-rays following the game.
Arkansas' six-game losing streak is the program's longest since 1990. The Razorbacks have lost a school record nine-straight SEC games and 12 of their last 14.
Arkansas will travel to Ole Miss next Saturday. That game is scheduled to kickoff at 11:21 a.m.