FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –Bo Nix accounted for three touchdowns and Auburn took the lead on a defensive score in the third quarter to help the Tigers beat No. 17 Arkansas 38-23 Saturday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“I’m really proud of our coaches, I’m proud of our players,” Auburn coach Bryan Harsin said. “They had a good plan and they worked really hard leading into this game, and we had some guys really step up and make plays, which we needed to win. Overall, good team win.”
Leading 31-23, the Tigers put away the game with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up 6 minutes and 11 seconds, culminating on Nix’s 23-yard touchdown run with 2:30 to play.
“At the end, we wanted to run the ball, take up as much clock as possible and gain some yards on the ground and that’s exactly what we did,” Nix said. “The O-line did a great job getting a hat on a hat, and the tight ends did a good job of moving guys out of the way.”
Nix completed 21 of 26 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns, adding 42 rushing yards on five carries and a TD.
Arkansas claimed a 17-14 lead on the opening drive of the second half on KJ Jefferson’s second touchdown pass to Treylon Burks, a 30-yarder.
After Oscar Chapman’s 57-yard punt pinned the Razorbacks at their 11-yard-line, Colby Wooden’s second sack set up third-and-15 at the Arkansas 6. Derick Hall sacked Jefferson in the end zone, forcing a fumble that Marcus Harris recovered for a touchdown to give Auburn a 21-17 lead.
Harris made another huge play on the next drive, stopping Jefferson short of a first down on fourth-and-3 at Auburn’s 29-yard-line.
The Tigers scored on the next play when Nix connected with Demetris Robertson for a 71-yard touchdown pass to put Auburn ahead 28-17 with 4:16 remaining in the third quarter.
The Razorbacks drove 75 yards in 13 plays, scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter.
Roger McCreary broke up the Razorbacks’ pass on a 2-point attempt, preserving Auburn’s 28-23 lead as the fourth quarter commenced.
After Anders Carlson kicked a 29-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 31-23 lead with 10:35 to play, Auburn forced a three-and-out, giving Auburn possession at its 25-yard-line with 8:41 to play, setting the stage for Nix’s touchdown run.
Auburn marched 75 yards on six plays on the game’s opening drive with Nix completing all five of his pass attempts for 72 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Varrius Johnson for a 7-0 Tigers lead.
After Arkansas kicked a field goal to trim Auburn’s lead to 7-3 after the first quarter, the Tigers made it 14-3 with 9:59 left in the half on Tank Bigsby’s 1-yard touchdown run. Nix was 3-for-3 on the drive for 36 yards, including a 19-yard completion to Landen King on third-and-4.
Bigsby rushed for 17 yards to the Razorbacks’ 1-yard line before scoring two plays later. Bigsby led the Tigers with 68 rushing yards on 18 carries.
Late in the half, the Razorbacks drove 84 yards on 12 plays, scoring on KJ Jefferson’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Treylon Burks with 18 seconds left to trail 14-10 at halftime before 73, 370 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“That was a fun game,” Harsin said. “To be on the road and win going into a bye week, all these things are big for our program. That gives us a chance to create some momentum as we go into this bye week.”
After an open date next week, the Tigers (5-2, 2-1) return to Jordan-Hare Stadium to host Ole Miss on Oct. 30.
COURTESY AUBURN ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS