No. 6 Auburn wasted no time getting into conference play.
The reigning Southeastern Conference champion wasted no time getting its first win either after defeating Arkansas 48-24.
"I'm very proud of our guys for coming out the gate against an SEC team. Arkansas, I believe, is much improved. I believe they'll win quite a few games," Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said.
The Tigers (1-0, 1-0 SEC) had no problem finding the end zone on Saturday. They put up 21 points in the first half.
Sophomore Jeremy Johnson got the start at quarterback instead of senior Nick Marshall due to Marshall's off-season traffic stop and citation.
Johnson threw for two touchdowns 243 yards and completed 12-of-15 passes.
"Nick's (Marshall) penalty was just on the start. He did what he had to do. We wanted to let Jeremy play regardless. We scripted plays for him, and he got off to an outstanding start," Malzahn said.
The first half we got stuck on third downs. Jeremy did an outstanding job. The way he handled himself was really nice," Malzahn said.
The Tigers had trouble stopping the razorbacks from making their way into the end zone in the first half. They were tied at 21 a piece at halftime.
"We talked to our players. We told them it was probably going to be a dog fight. We knew (Arkansas) was going to be better. I'm very proud of the way our players responded in the second half," Malzahn said.
Marshall took over at quarterback in the second half but it was the Tigers defense that stole the show. They shut out the Razorbacks in the second half.
"Our defense made the adjustments, we put ourselves in the rights positions and we started playing physical football. That really made a big difference in the game," Malzahn said.
Jermaine Whitehead intercepted the Razorbacks and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Whitehead and Jonathon Mincy led the defense with seven tackles each.
Marshall threw for only 50 yards on 4-of-6 passes , but he found the end zone on a 19-yard run.
Cameron Artist-Payne led AU with 181 rushing yards and a touchdown. Corey Grant rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown.
D'haquille Williams led the Tigers in receiving with 154 yards on nine receptions and a touchdown. Melvin Ray caught 2 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.
Auburn will take on San Jose State next Saturday at home.
Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.