Arkansas tried a couple of laterals after a short catch that didn’t go far on the final play. The Razorbacks were aiming for a second straight upset of a ranked team after last week’s win over then-No. 16 Mississippi State snapped a 20-game SEC skid.
The Tigers survived a week after getting dominated 27-6 by No. 3 Georgia. Freshman Tank Bigsby ran for 146 yards and caught four passes for 16 yards.
Feleipe Franks, who passed for 318 yards and four touchdowns, made two huge plays to help Arkansas to a 28-27 lead with 5:29 left.
First, he hit Mike Woods for an 11-yard gain on fourth down. The next play he launched a 30-yard touchdown pass to De’Vion Warren. Trelon Smith ran for 81 yards and had 78 yards receiving.
A botched snap on the first Arkansas point-after attempt left the Razorbacks to go for 2 — and fail — twice.
Arkansas: Couldn’t quite get over the hump this time but it’s a definite improvement over recent struggles, much of them under new Auburn offensive coordinator Chad Morris. Franks delivered some big plays in a revived passing game.
Auburn: The Tigers got the running game going early after coming in ranked 72nd among 74 active FBS teams. A defense that has been consistently strong has had some struggles. Auburn had blown out Arkansas by an average of 39 points the past four meetings.
Auburn was without a number of key players with injuries, including linebacker K.J. Britt, tailback Shaun Shivers, defensive end Big Kat Bryant, offensive tackle Austin Troxell and wide receiver Eli Stove. Arkansas tailback Rakeem Boyd and wide receiver Trey Burks also were held out.
Auburn’s Jordyn Peters blocked the fourth punt of his career in the first quarter. Barton Lester recovered this one in the end zone. The last Auburn score on a blocked punt came against Alabama State in 2018 and Peters was responsible for that one, too.
Arkansas hosts Mississippi in a matchup of SEC West teams with first-year coaches.
Auburn visits South Carolina in the first of two straight road games.