By CHIP SOUZA, Associated Press
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Bo Nix passed for three touchdowns and ran for another as No. 11 Auburn routed Arkansas 51-10 Saturday.
Nix turned a close game into a blowout by throwing two TDs in a span of 22 seconds in the third quarter. Before the quick scores, Arkansas had pulled within 17-3 on Connor Limpert’s 28-yard field goal.
Nix, a true freshman, hit Seth Williams down the right sideline on a 48-yard pass with 4:19 left in the third quarter, then after an Auburn interception, Nix connected with Anthony Schwartz on a 15-yard scoring strike to give the Tigers (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) some breathing room.
Auburn, now 9-0 under coach Gus Malzahn coming off a bye week, scored two touchdowns on its first six offensive snaps to take a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. On the third play of the game, Auburn defensive end Marlon Davidson stripped Arkansas quarterback Ben Hicks of the ball and the Tigers quickly capitalized with Nix scoring on a keeper from the 4.
The Tigers needed just three plays again after a short Arkansas punt as Kam Martin dashed 52 yards on first down, then Shaun Shivers bounced around the left side on a 9-yard scoring run and a 14-0 lead with 10:48 still left in the first quarter.
After the opening fireworks, the Tigers went quiet offensively. Auburn’s defense still made plenty of noise. Auburn held the Razorbacks (2-5, 0-4) without a first down until 43 seconds remained in the first quarter. Arkansas finally put together a lengthy drive toward the end of the first half, but Limpert’s 44-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half hooked wide right.
Arkansas’ third quarter scoring drive, aided by two major penalties, seemed to wake the Tigers up. Auburn answered swiftly, handing Arkansas it’s 15th consecutive SEC loss.
Nix was 12-of-17 passing for 176 yards for the Tigers, and Williams caught four passes for 90 yards.
Auburn seemed to put the 24-13 loss to Florida before its bye week in the rearview mirror. The two quick first-quarter touchdowns were more than enough for the Tigers, although Nix had consistency issues for a lot of the first half.
The Tigers only had 170 yards of total offense at halftime with 52 of that on Martin’s long run. Auburn also went three-and-out on its first possession of the second half before torching the Razorbacks on the back-to-back scoring passes to lock down the win.
Auburn: The Tigers travel to No. 2 LSU. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on CBS.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks are on the road at No. 1 Alabama for a 6 p.m. kickoff against the Crimson Tide.