AUBURN — The Auburn Tigers are coming off a bye week and looking to keep the momentum gained from their 12-10 loss to LSU while hosting Arkansas on Saturday. Kickoff is 11 a.m. Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen said a win against the Razorbacks could spark a strong month for the Tigers.
“You try to win each month, and we didn’t win the month of September,” Lutzenkirchen said. “But we have good things going with October with a lot of games we feel good about.”
Under coach Gene Chizik, the Tigers are 10-5 in October and 1-2 after a bye week. Chizik is also 1-2 against Arkansas, losing 38-14 in Fayetteville, Ark., last year. Off to the worst start in his four-year career, Lutzenkirchen feels the urgency if the Tigers hope to be bowl-eligible.
“That’s what we’re working for,” Lutzenkirchen said. “We’ve got to be pretty much perfect in this month of October if we want to play in a bowl game. A win this week would be huge and hopefully jump-start something for us, some momentum for the rest of the season.”
Just four weeks into the 2012 season, Auburn (1-3, 0-2) and Arkansas (1-4, 0-2) are each seeking their first conference win. Arkansas, the preseason No. 8 team, has nosedived since their Week 2 loss to Louisiana-Monroe. Auburn, who was supposed to be a surprise team in the SEC, has surprised people for different reasons.
The Tigers’ sole victory came in overtime against Louisiana-Monroe, a team currently ranked fifth in the Sun Belt conference. The Auburn offense is the worst in the SEC at 17.5 points per game and ranks in the triple digits in most categories nationally.
Arkansas is fresh off a 58-10 whooping from Texas A&M and boasts the conference’s worst scoring defense, allowing 40.6 points per game. No team in the country has allowed more 10-plus yard plays than the Razorbacks, and they have the nation’s worst turnover ratio at minus 13.
But this weekend, when the Razorbacks roll into Jordan-Hare, something will give.
“We’re both sitting in the same spot with only one win,” Lutzenkirchen said. “We’re looking to get that first conference win. It’s huge for both programs right now.”
The Auburn offense has struggled most in the passing game, averaging 144.8 yards per game, worst in the conference and No. 118 in the nation. But this weekend’s matchup looks to favor the Tigers. The Arkansas pass defense is ranked No. 121 in the country allowing 349.4 yards per game.
Despite Arkansas’ poor start to the year, the Tigers are not overlooking the deflated Razorbacks.
A loss could be devastating to either team. Both teams still have three ranked opponents on the schedule and desperately need a conference win for any hopes of salvaging their seasons.
“We know Arkansas,” quarterback Kiehl Frazier said. “They have a good team. They just haven’t really played up to their potential so far, so we’ve got to prepare just like anybody else.”
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