Oct. 11, 2008
AUBURN, Ala. (AP)--Michael Smith rushed for 176 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 63-yard run in the fourth quarter and Arkansas mounted two late defensive stands for a 25-22 win over No. 20 Auburn on Saturday.
The Razorbacks (3-3, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) forced Auburn's Kodi Burns into three straight incompletions from their 5 to halt one drive. Then Matt Harris made a diving interception with 29 seconds left on the Tigers' last chance.
Casey Dick rushed for a touchdown and caught a scoring pass from receiver Joe Adams for the Razorbacks, who had lost their last three games by a collective 139-31. The 19-point underdogs outgained Auburn 416-193 in the return of former Tigers offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino as Razorbacks coach.
The Tigers' second straight loss capped a tumultuous week. Coach Tommy Tuberville fired first-year offensive coordinator Tony Franklin three days before the game, then named assistant Steve Ensminger as the playcaller for the rest of the season.
The Tigers (4-3, 2-3) stopped Smith, who had 35 carries, on three consecutive runs and used all three timeouts to get one final chance. Punter Jeremy Davis then ran out the back of the end zone for a safety to avoid a potential block.
That left Auburn needing only a field goal to tie it. Burns opened with a run to the Auburn 46, but Harris made a diving downfield interception on the next play to preserve the first big win of Petrino's return to college football from the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.
Burns, who had been alternating with Chris Todd, took a sputtering offense 76 yards late but came up short. He ran for two first downs and completed a 38-yarder to Tim Hawthorne on a third-and-8 play. Burns threw two straight incompletions on fade routes to the left corner of the end zone.
On fourth down, he nearly ran up the middle but pulled up for a heave over the head of running back Eric Smith in the end zone.
The big blow came from the 5-foot-7, 173-pound Smith. He burst through the middle and shed two would-be tacklers downfield to make it 25-20 with 8:50 left.
Dick was 17-of-32 for 222 yards but his two interceptions set up Auburn field goals. He also caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Adams on a reverse late in the third and had a 1-yard scoring run.
Both Auburn quarterbacks continued to struggle. Burns was 7-of-18 for 119 yards and was picked off twice. Todd was 3-for-10 for 18 yards and also was intercepted.
Unlike Arkansas and Smith, the Auburn tailbacks never got involved in the game. Ben Tate had just eight carries for 32 yards.
Tristan Davis supplied two of Auburn's biggest plays. He scored on a 97-yard kick return in the first quarter, the Tigers' first kick return for a score since Brad Lester's 93-yarder against Ball State in 2005.
Davis also forced a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half to set up Burns' 3-yard TD run for a 20-10 lead.
It was all Arkansas from there. Adrian Davis picked off Todd's pass and returned it 17 yards to the Auburn 23 on the final play of the third quarter. The Razorbacks had to settle for a 44-yard field goal by Shay Haddock, who had an extra point blocked by Sen'Derrick Marks a few minutes earlier.
Auburn's Wes Byrum, who missed a PAT try in last week's 14-13 loss at Vanderbilt, then pushed a 33-yard field goal attempt wide right.