AUBURN, Ala. — Behind a 328-yard total offense effort by quarterback Cam Newton, the seventh-ranked Auburn Tigers survived the offensive pressure of the 12th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks to win a 65-43 shootout at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The Razorbacks move to 4-2 on the season and 1-2 in SEC play while the Tiger remain unbeaten at 7-0 and 4-0 in league play.
The first meeting with both teams ranked lived up to its billing as one of the most exciting games in SEC history. The two teams combined 108 points is the most ever for a non-overtime game, breaking a record that dated back to the mid-1990s.
It was record setting for wide receiver Greg Childs. The 6-3 junior from Warren, Ark., notched his career 100th reception as well as posting 164 yards for a single game career high.
The game was filled with plot twists. In the late first half, Razorback starting quarterback Ryan Mallett took a blow to the head, and was out for the rest of the game.
In spite of Mallett’s early departure, the Razorbacks turned in a season high 566 yards of total offense and a season best 428, most of that coming on the arm of substitute quarterback Ryan Wilson.
Wilson stepped in midway through the second quarter to finish with 25-34-2 for 332 yards and four touchdowns.
The Razorbacks took an early lead, and the back-and-forth game kept fans on edge. The first of two controversial plays allowed the Auburn Tigers the chance to gain the lead before halftime.
Arkansas opened with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Mallett to Van Stumon. Only the second catch of his career — first of this season — it was Stumon’s second career touchdown. Auburn came back behind the first Newton touchdown, a five-yard run, to tie the game at 7-7.
Stumon figured in the Razorbacks’ second touchdown, as he broke into the end zone on third and goal at the two. The pass interference call reset the Razorbacks with a first down at the one, where Broderick Green punched it in for his second touchdown of the year and a 14-10 lead. At 12 plays, the 88-yard drive was the most of the year.
The Tigers came back to regain the lead with a controversial touchdown and a blocked punt to score back to back touchdowns. Mario Fannin carried in for a four-yard touchdown, but the officials indicated both a touchdown and a loss of possession on the play. After review, the touchdown stood to put Auburn up, 17-14.
Mallett left the game midway through the second quarter, heading to the locker room after taking a hit to the head. Wilson stepped in for the junior and on his second drive marched the Razorbacks in for their third touchdown.
Wilson got his fourth career touchdown on a 34 yarder to Greg Childs to finish the drive. Wilson hit two clutch passes for first downs to Adams.
Wilson opened the second half with a 37-yard touchdown strike to Wingo, pulling the Razorbacks to within two, 30-28. A 99-yard return of the ensuing kickoff allows the Tigers the chance to take back the touchdown.
Unfased, Wilson put together a three-play, three-pass 80-yard touchdown drive. Opening with a 55-yard flea-flicker to Greg Childs, Wilson connected twice with Adams. The first was a short screen for one yard, then a 24-yard bullet over the middle to a wide-open Adams in the end zone.
Wilson brought the Razorbacks down the field again, finishing with a pair of passes to Childs. The first was the 23-yard touchdown, followed by a two-point conversion catch which was the 100th of Childs’ Arkansas career, and gave Arkansas a 43-37 lead.
The Tigers opened up the passing offense on the next possession with Newton completing four passes before finding Emory Blake open on a crossing route in the end zone for 17 yards. The PAT was good.
Razorbacks looked ready to match touchdowns with Auburn, but on the next drive, Broderick Green came around the right side and wrestled to the ground by Craig Stevens. The ball came free and was scooped up by Zac Ethridge for a 47-yard touchdown. After a lengthy review, the play stood, and Arkansas trailed 51-43.
On the opening play of the next drive, Wilson made his first mistake of the night, picked off by Josh Byrnes and returned to the Razorback nine yard line. Two plays later, Newton carried it in for a 3-yard touchdown. After the PAT, Auburn led 58-43. The Tigers picked up another interception on the next possession, converted into a touchdown on a 41-yard run by Michael Dyer