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FAYETTEVILLE -- Saturday's outcome is why Gus Malzahn was never going to be the head coach at the University of Arkansas.

Malzahn and Auburn totally dominated the Razorbacks from start to finish. The 51-10 score wasn't even indicative of how one-sided the game turned out.

Truth is, Malzahn let off the gas after Auburn took a 17-0 lead. He did not want to make Chad Morris' seat any hotter.

The final score was 51-10 because of a 32-yard run by the No. 5 running back on Auburn's depth chart. Malzahn was not trying to run the score up.

He made his point by scoring two touchdowns just 22 seconds apart after Arkansas kicked a field goal for its first score.

The first touchdown was a 48-yard pass from Bo Nix to Seth Williams. After Ben Hicks threw an interception for the Hogs, Nix -- a true freshman -- threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Schwartz.

Nix, who was born in Arkadelphia when his dad was coaching at Henderson State University, attempted only 17 passes, nine fewer than his average.

So how hot should Morris' seat be after his 12th consecutive -- and 15th for the Hogs -- SEC loss?

It's hot enough that he should start a hard evaluation of everyone on his staff.

Granted, Auburn was better at almost every position, but 234 yards of offense won't win anything in the SEC except a seat in the cellar.

And giving up 491 yards on defense will get you beat most of the time, and definitely when the opposing coach is trying not to run the score up.

Arkansas wasted a week of its time after Bret Bielema was fired in 2017 chasing Malzahn through his agent Jimmy Sexton, who is the best in the world at leveraging jobs.

When the dust settled, Malzahn had a new contract worth a reported $7 million a year at Auburn, and Arkansas pried Morris away from SMU.

Morris quickly discovered that Arkansas lacked speed, depth, talent and discipline.

His first recruiting class, like any first-year coach, was about average. Last year's class was better, and this year's class could eclipse that.

Still, the fans want and deserve better. It was announced that 54,619 tickets were sold Saturday, but nowhere near that many spectators attended.

That puts pressure on Morris and Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek, who didn't hire him. Chancellor Joe Steinmetz signed off on the recommendation of interim AD Julie Cromer Peoples, who is now the athletic director at Ohio University.

The season is already dismal, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Even Western Kentucky, who the Hogs host Nov. 9, is playing better since former Hog Ty Storey became the starting quarterback.

As for Saturday, the Hogs ran into a better team that controlled the line of scrimmage.

The Tigers ran for 298 yards and had three different running backs total more yards than Rakeem Boyd, the SEC's leading rusher who was held to 39 yards for Arkansas.

It wasn't a lack of effort by Boyd. It was a lack of help.

Arkansas also had four turnovers, which it simply can't afford. The Razorbacks fumbled away their first and last possessions, which says a lot about how the game went.

Morris called Auburn's first two scores haymakers, and they left no doubt who was in control of the game.

Arkansas is not mathematically eliminated from bowl consideration, but the Razorbacks might as well be with who is left on the schedule. The rocky road gets even rockier with road trips to Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge on the horizon.

Saturday's loss to Auburn was more proof the Hogs have a long way to go.

Sports on 10/20/2019


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