An Inflection Point is defined as “a time of significant change in a situation; a turning point.” by Oxford Languages. That’s where the bottom two teams in the SEC West currently reside. Disappointing starts to the season have been a label for both teams. Coming off an Outback Bowl win Arkansas was expected to have another big year under third year head coach, Sam Pittman and rising star quarterback KJ Jefferson. Auburn looked to overcome many of the doubts and drama that filled the offseason after the five game losing streak to end last season. Both teams have not risen to expectations. Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Tigers and Razorbacks is a chance for both programs to turn the tide.
The two schools, separated by 663 miles, first met in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1984 Liberty Bowl. It would be the only time the two programs would meet prior to Arkansas joining the Southeastern Conference. Auburn’s 1984 season didn’t get off to a fast start with losses to Miami and Texas after a #1 preseason poll ranking following the 1983 championship season. Auburn was entering their third straight bowl game with a season that included a six game win streak and loses to Florida and Alabama. The Razorbacks on the other hand, were in their first season with head coach Ken Hatfield, who replaced Lou Holtz after two seasons in Fayetteville. Hatfield’s debut season included seven wins but an 0-2 record against ranked opponents and marked the seventh time in eight years that Arkansas was participating in a bowl game. Led by Bo Jackson, named MVP at the end of the game, with 88 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns, Auburn would defat Arkansas 21-15 in the 26th Liberty Bowl. Auburn and Arkansas would meet again, and for the first time as SEC foes, in 1993 in Fayetteville with the Tigers taking the victory 31-21 in route to an undefeated season. In what will become the 30th straight annual matchup between the schools next season, the Tigers and Razorbacks have had a number of memorable contests. To highlight a few, Arkansas walked into Jordan-Hare Stadium as 15 point underdogs to #2 Auburn in 2006. Arkansas unveiled the “wildcat” formation with offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn, and Darren McFadden ran for 145 yards on 28 carries with one touchdown. In 2010, #7 Auburn hosted #12 Arkansas in an offensive explosion on Pat Dye Field. The Tigers, with the help of a 28 point 4th quarter, would defeat the Razorbacks 65-43. Future Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton, would lead the team in 140 passing yards with one passing touchdown and 188 rushing yards with three rushing touchdowns. The last time Arkansas defeated Auburn was in 2015 when the Razorbacks defeated the Tigers in four overtimes 54-46 on a rainy day in Fayetteville. On another rainy day, Auburn defeated Arkansas, in Sam Pittman’s first season, 30-28 in 2020. And last season, Auburn defeated Arkansas 38-23 in Fayetteville in one Bryan Harsin’s two road SEC wins to date. Bo Nix had a career day against the Razorbacks with 292 passing yards with two touchdowns.
On Saturday morning, Auburn and Arkansas will meet for the 30th time. A win on Saturday won’t fix the entire season in one moment. It won’t change the narrative around Bryan Harsin. But it’s a start. It’s a chance to end a three game losing streak. A chance to write a happier ending to a disastrous beginning. But a loss for Auburn also has meaning. It’s snapping a six game win streak to Arkansas. It’s having at least a one-game active losing streak to every other team in the SEC West. A loss, means Auburn only falls further behind.
Gameday Information - Auburn versus Arkansas | Game Eight
Timeline: 8:00am - Tiger Tailgate Show - Auburn Network
9:00am - Tiger Walk 9:00am - Jordan-Hare Stadium Gates Open
9:40am - Four Corners Pep Rally 10:40am - Pre-Game Festivities Begin
11:03am - Kickoff
Watch: SEC Network
Listen: Auburn Sports Network
Patrick Party Information - Coverage of Week Nine Patrick Party Pregame: Patrick Party Pregame, live from Auburn, AL, will air from 8:00am - 9:00am on Saturday Morning. Pregame will take an inside look into the Auburn Football Tiger's week six matchup against the Georgia Bulldogs and all of the other games across the College Football landscape.
Patrick Party Picks: Our weekly minute long picks of the best college football games of the weekend will debut on Pregame on Saturday morning and will then be made available on all of our Social Media platforms.
Patrick Party Podcast: The Patrick Party Podcast provides listeners with a weekly update and analysis of the Auburn Football program. This week's Patrick Party Podcast will debute Friday afternoon. Episodes are made available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and www.patrickparty.com