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The 'wow' factor: Auburn shows a lot, says Gus Malzahn
Auburn's Darrell Williams and Tray Matthews celebrate a defensive stop against Arkansas
Oct. 23, 2016

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Coach Gus Malzahn, who is not given to unnecessary praise, allowed himself two "wows" in describing Auburn's 56-3 win over Arkansas on Saturday night.

Yes, the Tigers were every bit that good.

Auburn turned in an SEC record-breaking performance with 543 rushing yards, the most ever by one league team against another; and held the leading rusher in the conference to just 23 yards.

Malzahn was asked if he had ever been around such a dominating performance.

"This would be the game," he said, adding taking down the No. 17 team in the country in such a convincing manner "shows something."

The "wows"? Auburn's offensive line won one after helping Auburn average 9½ yards a carry.

"Wow, did we? That's really something," Malzahn said. "Our offensive line is getting better. We are starting to kind of gel."

The defensive line helped hold Arkansas to 25 yards rushing, and held top running back Rawleigh Williams to just 22.

"That's a wow thing," Malzahn said.

"Our defense holding that group to 25 yards rushing was really unbelievable. That was one of the goals: to try to make them one-dimensional and try to get after the quarterback. Our guys up front in those passing situations did a super job.

"Offensively, our plan was we felt we needed to run the football. We were able to run the football, which was a big, big thing. I think we had 543 yards rushing against that bunch, which is really good. I told our guys that that was one of the more complete games that I think we've played since I got here. The good thing is that we are improving, and that's really the name of the game."

Auburn will be asked to do it again next Saturday at Ole Miss, and will carry this into that game: The Tigers have scored 21 touchdowns over the last three games; they've allowed only three touchdowns over the last 15 quarters.

The game story
Sean White and the offense
Stanton Truitt's big game

Malzahn said offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee "really had it going" Saturday.

"When we get the tempo going, especially being able to tempo and downhill run, we are at our best."

Auburn's quarterback, running backs and receivers are mostly a young group, and Malzahn said they continued to grow. It didn't long for him to see that Saturday. Freshman Eli Stove ran 78 yards for a touchdown on Auburn's first play.

"We've got some really talented young guys, and we focused on the young guys getting some more reps," Malzahn said. "We just felt like getting him the ball first play -- that really set the tone. He can run. He's a good athlete. We had a lot of young guys out there. I really thought they took that next step. Nate Craig(-Myers) made a really good catch, and, of course, Kyle Davis has been playing well all year. It's good that those young guys are starting to grow up."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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