Gabe Wright eyes another defensive play for Auburn against Arkansas
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Arkansas surprised Auburn in the first half with some new plays.
The surprise wore off.
Auburn beat Arkansas 45-21 Saturday, breaking away from a 21-21 halftime tie by limiting the Razorbacks to 61 yards in the second half, of which only 2 yards came via the run.
Let that roll around. Two yards rushing, three first downs, no points in the second half.
Auburn had more defensive touchdowns in the second half than Arkansas had offensive touchdowns.
Defensive lineman Gabe Wright said Auburn caught on.
"Arkansas did a good job of coming out with something we hadn't seen. They hit us with big plays. But we made our adjustments in the second half," Wright said.
Arkansas finished with 328 yards, most of which came in the first half. That brought up an obvious question: Did defensive line coach Rodney Garner have any interesting things to say at halftime?
"He had interesting things to say the whole game," Wright smiled.
Auburn's defense was going strong before an 88-minute lightning delay in the fourth quarter, and after the 88-minute lightning delay in the fourth quarter. Arkansas' run game was going nowhere fast.
"I remember at one point Coach said they had like 7 yards, and we had been out like seven series. The thing for us was adjusting to their tendencies," Wright said.
The Tigers were all over the place, like when Robenson Therezie hit quarterback Brandon Allen, forcing a poor pass that Jermaine Whitehead intercepted and returned 33 yards for a touchdown.
"It was in the air so long that I had plenty of time to think about it. Rudy (Ford) and I actually saw each other and he let me catch the ball," Whitehead said.
Allen saw it coming.
"They brought more pressure," he said. "They did a good job of slowing down our rush game in the second half. We didn't make the plays we needed to get to get some drives going."
Wright said the slow start for the defense was the result of Arkansas' new approach and "it being the first game, guys are still getting adjusted.
"We adjusted with our coaches and guys re-bought in."
Then, Wright said, it was "really fun."
"To go out and execute with it raining, and come back with the majority of the fans staying, that was one of the positives of the night."
In between, Auburn and Arkansas waited in their locker rooms as the lightning came and went. Auburn struck again when the two teams came out.
"It showed the maturity level and the experience level on this team," Wright said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine