Football preview: Auburn looks to rebound vs. Razorbacks, Alabama faces Rebels on the road

Football preview: Auburn looks to rebound vs. Razorbacks, Alabama faces Rebels on the road
Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith practices with the Tide in advance of this weekend's scheduled matchup with Ole Miss. (Alabama Athletics)

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix admitted that last week’s game at Georgia – a 27-6 Bulldogs win – appeared to be moving really fast to him.

The reason, coach Gus Malzahn admitted, was that Georgia made his 13th-ranked Tigers one-dimensional.

Nick Brahms practices with the Auburn Tigers as they prepare to welcome Arkansas to Jordan-Hare Stadium this weekend. (Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics)

“That was probably where it started,” Malzahn said. “That’s probably where a lot of that came from and we were behind. Anytime you’re trying to play catch-up against a really good defense, that can really rush the passer. That’s really where that was coming from.

“But I think the big thing is just to help him out to be more balanced,” Malzahn continued. “To be balanced, you’ve got to be successful running the football, too. We’ll work extremely hard on that moving forward. I think that’ll be a big key.”

That key should be evident as the Tigers welcome Arkansas at 3 p.m. Saturday televised on the SEC Network. Auburn, 1-1, will be without Mountain Brook High product Harold Joiner, who left the team Tuesday to join the transfer portal. Joiner had no carries this season and few last year.

No. 2 Alabama opened its season by beating Missouri 38-19 on the road and followed that with a 52-24 home conquest of then-13th-ranked Texas A&M. But, of course, coach Nick Saban is not content.

“I think we did some things better than we did in Week One, which is very, very important,” Saban said. “We made a lot of explosive plays. I think we played with a little better effort, a little more consistency.

“But at the same time, we’re not where we need to be yet,” the Tide coach said. “We have things that we need to continue to focus on, continue to work on so that we don’t make mental errors here and there that allow the other team to have success against us.”

Ole Miss, 1-1, welcomes the 2-0 Tide at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN, after Hurricane Delta forced the game to be rescheduled from its original 5 p.m. time slot, the SEC office said today. Also on the local college schedule:

Mercer at Jacksonville State: The Gamecocks led 14-0 after one quarter on the road against Florida State and 21-14 at intermission. But the Seminoles turned the tide in the second half on their way to a 41-24 win in their Jax State opener. JSU looks to get its first 2020 win at 2 p.m. Saturday on Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.

Texas State at Troy: The Trojans had an extra week off after their scheduled game with South Alabama was postponed.

UAB at Rice: The Blazers’ game against the Owls, scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed. The Owls have either canceled or postponed all of their games so far this season.

HIGH SCHOOLS

(All games Thursday unless otherwise noted)

Class 7A: Theodore (5-1) is No. 7 in the latest Alabama Sports Writers Association poll. The Bobcats will visit No. 5 Fairhope (4-1).

Class 6A: Briarwood (6-1) got votes in the top 10. It will certainly get more votes if it can knock off No. 2 Mountain Brook (4-1).

Class 5A: No. 4. Central-Clay County (6-1) hosts 5-1 Holtville on Friday.

Class 4A: No. 9 Bibb County (5-2) is home to West Blocton (4-2) on Friday.

Class 3A: Phil Campbell (4-2) travels to Lauderdale County (6-1).

Class 2A: No. 7 North Sand Mountain travels to Class 3A No. 1 Fyffe. Both teams are 6-0.

Class 1A: McIntosh (2-3) visits No. 5 Sweet Water (3-2).

AISA: No. 3 Bessemer Academy (4-1) welcomes No. 9 Morgan Academy (5-1).

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