Auburn comes to Arkansas with momentum

Updated: October 7, 2003, 1:35 AM ET

LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansas used its off week to rest and recuperate from a couple of tough road games at Texas and Alabama that left the No. 7 Razorbacks more than a little sore.

That's the biggest reason why coach Houston Nutt didn't mind losing a little momentum following Arkansas' 34-31 double-overtime win over Alabama on Sept. 27.

"We needed that break after four rough games," Nutt said Monday as he began a second week of preparation for the Razorbacks' 11:30 a.m. kickoff against Auburn this Saturday. "We had some guys nicked up, so the week off couldn't have come at a better time."

While Arkansas (4-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) spent the week nursing injuries, Auburn (3-2, 2-0) turned its season around by knocking off then No. 7-Tennessee, 28-21. The Tigers come to Fayetteville looking for coach Tommy Tuberville's first win in his home state.

Tuberville, a Camden native, would rather not focus on his 0-4 record at Arkansas, with three losses as Auburn's coach and one while he was at Ole Miss.

"I think it's talked about way too much in the Arkansas papers and our papers, too," Tuberville said. "It's not another game, because I grew up watching them play, but it all comes down to when we kick it off, they're just a team in a different-colored jersey that we made a game plan for."

The Razorbacks started the season unranked, but quickly moved up the polls after wins at Texas and Alabama. They moved up a spot this week thanks to the Tigers' win over Tennessee.

Meanwhile, Auburn was ranked No. 6 in the preseason polls and dropped out after opening the season with losses to Southern California and Georgia Tech. The Tigers failed to score a touchdown in either loss, but they rebounded with wins over Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky before beating Tennessee last week.

Auburn didn't make it back to the poll this week, which could be a good omen. The Tigers have won four straight as an unranked team playing a Top 10 opponent after going 0-20-1 from 1972 to 2000 in that scenario.

Even if Auburn hadn't held the Volunteers to 4 yards rushing on 16 carries, Nutt said his team would be expecting a tough game.

"As far as respect and taking them seriously, all you have to say is Auburn and there is some respect there," Nutt said.

Auburn's defense has two of the best linebackers in the conference with Karlos Dansby and Dontarrious Thomas, who lead the Tigers with 30 and 28 tackles, respectively.

But Auburn's offense has awakened the past two weeks, with at least 250 yards rushing in back-to-back games for the first time in eight years. Junior Carnell Williams had 185 yards against Tennessee and junior Ronnie Brown has been a force, too, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

Quarterback Jason Campbell has completed 35 of 50 passes with five touchdowns and no interceptions in the last three games.

"Our guys have done a great job of chasing the ball," Nutt said. "They've gotten better the past two weeks and they've really made a statement about handing the ball off to their great backs."

Nutt said Monday he expects everyone who was injured before and during the Alabama game to be ready to play against Auburn this week.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index