Auburn, Ala. (EETV) - No. 19 Auburn got the rebound they needed against Arkansas, dominating the Razorbacks to win 52-20.
This win will prove to be crucial as the Tigers go into their bye week before continuing on the road.
Here are my 5 takeaways from Auburn's win over Arkansas:
1) Kam Pettway is healthy
This was my biggest takeaway from the game, if not the season. Running back Kamryn Pettway has been out with injury much of the season and in the games, he has played in, he looked slower.
However, all this changed at Arkansas. I could tell on his first carry of the game the Pettway had his speed back and was finally healthy.
Kamryn Pettway 38 yd td run. 235 pound back with speed now that he’s pic.twitter.com/m4VEVa3JlW— Skye Underwood (@SkyeUnderwood) October 22, 2017
That glimpse of speed proved to be accurate and Pettway was able to dominate the run game. Carrying the ball only 11 times, Pettway finished with 90 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Basically, Pettway averaged a touchdown almost every three carries and finished with an average of 8.2 yards per carry. So every time he ran the ball, Auburn got close to a first down.
This is a fantastic sign moving forward. Tiger fans already knew that Kerryon Johnson was a special running back, but by adding a healthy Pettway, the Auburn run game will be hard to stop.
2) Jeff Holland the most underrated player
After his performance against Arkansas, Jeff Holland's fate was sealed in my book. I believe that Holland is by far and away the most underrated player on the Auburn team and maybe in the country.
SEC Network announcers were comparing him to former Auburn player and NFL Hall of Famer Kevin Greene. That's quite a comparison.
That play was silly good. Jeff Holland is way underappreciated nationally. Guy is producing on a level we expected from a healthy Lawson.— The Juice (@thejuiceisgood) October 22, 2017
Holland finished the game with 1.5 sacks, that brings his season total to 8. That sack total leads the Tiger defense as well.
On top of the sacks, Holland was able to blow-up the Arkansas backfield and somehow managed to bring down quarterback Cole Kelley on his own. Kelley is no small QB either, being 6'7, 268 lbs.
Holland is probably the most NFL ready player for Auburn and I wouldn't be surprised if he continues to improve and lead the Auburn defense against the stout offenses of Georiga and Alabama in November.
More thoughts, Jeff Holland is getting paid the big bucks after this season. Think he is ready for the draft.— Jeff (@wardamn07) October 22, 2017
3) An effective 'buck sweep'
As SEC Network analysts kept pointing out to those Tiger fans who watched the game on TV, you know that they kept mentioning this 'buck sweep'.
To explain what this buck sweep here is a definition:
So this buck sweep, I was able to point out immediately as the most effective play that the Auburn offense was running.
The most notable play from this buck sweep was the reverse turned 62-yard touchdown pass by Ryan Davis to Darius Slayton.
One would think that the Arkansas defense would have started to play in a way to prevent the buck sweep. However, they did not, and Auburn found its new offensive weapon.
This play will be a killer down the road if the Auburn offense can continue to run it with the same amount of efficiency as they are now.
4) Inadequate special teams
Auburn's special teams, minus kicker Daniel Carlson, was a mess at Arkansas and was a clear weakness.
Why is Auburn's special teams coverage falling apart?— Tony Perry (@TonyTheAUTiger) October 22, 2017
The main note from this was the Tigers allowed their first kick return of the season. Arkansas's De'Vion Warren went 100-yards following a Pettway touchdown.
On top of the touchdown on special teams, Auburn messed up coverage and was sloppy with the ball in all aspects of special teams.
Special teams is still not very special— Auburn Elvis (@AuburnElvis) October 22, 2017
These mistakes will have to be eliminated when Auburn travels to Texas A&M but more importantly when they welcome Georgia and Alabama.
5) Stidham doesn't force it
While watching quarterback Jarrett Stidham throughout the game, I noticed one thing: he will not force the pass if it is not there.
What this means is that if Stidham is unsure if his player is open, he won't just throw the ball to get rid of it, instead, he waits and then will run if he has to.
This is a really good sign moving forward. Despite the interception he threw in the second quarter, Stidham was able to make smart plays through the air, only throwing to open receivers.
As the Tigers enter the home stretch of the season, Stidham's overall game sense when it comes to possession and ball security will be a blessing in disguise.
It will be frustrating watching him hold onto the ball for a long time, but it will pay off against powerhouse teams in November because Stidham will be less likely to turn the ball over.