AUBURN, Ala. — After losing 20 straight SEC games, Arkansas was finally in the business of trying to build a winning streak after beating Mississippi State. Auburn had other plans, and the Hogs streak stops at one, falling in a 30-28 heartbreaker.
The game started out soaked in rain from Hurricane Delta, and play was just as sloppy as that would suggest. The first points of the game came when Auburn blocked an Arkansas punt then landed on it in the end zone. That was a trend all afternoon, as the Razorbacks special teams once again struggled with penalties, blocking, and tackling.
Arkansas managed just two first downs in the first quarter, then the Tigers kicked a 47-yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead in the second. After a Bo Nix TD pass capped an 80-yard Auburn drive to start the second quarter, things felt bleak for the Hogs, facing a 17-0 deficit. Then, the offense showed up.
The Hogs reeled off back-to-back touchdown drives, with Franks hitting Mike Woods and DeVion Warren for scores. AJ Reed slipped on the first extra point, and Trey Knox dropped a two point conversion. After Auburn kicked another field goal, the Hogs trailed 2012 at the half.
Trelon Smith, playing instead of an injured Rakeem Boyd, took over on the Hog's first drive of the second half, capping things with a short touchdown catch. Another failed two point conversion and some punts later, and Arkansas entered the fourth quarter trailing 20-18.
That didn't last long. On a third and ten, Nix hit Anthony Schwartz for a 17-yard score to put the Tigers back up by nine. Franks drove the Hogs down the field with his arm, but the drive stalled and Arkansas settled for a field goal with 11:30 left to cut the deficit to 27-21. After the defense came up with a stop, the best game of the year for the Arkansas offense got better. After a 4th and six Franks to Woods connection kept the drive alive, Warren scored his second touchdown of the game, the Hogs managed a PAT, and took a 28-27 point lead with five minutes to play.
Finally, a special teams mistake goes the Hogs way. Auburn missed a 34-yard kick with 2:30 left, and Arkansas could smell the upset. The offense went three and out, and Auburn got the ball back down one with just over two minutes left. Another illegal formation by the Arkansas punt team gave Auburn good field position, and the Tigers picked up enough to get back in field goal range. Then, controversy. Bo Nix appeared to spike the ball backwards, which would be a fumble, and Arkansas recovered. Instead, intentional grounding was called, Auburn kicked the field goal, and the Hogs fall, 30-28.