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No. 2 no more: Auburn stunned at home by Arkansas

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Arkansas made the first major upset of the
college football season look easy.

With a swarming defense and unstoppable tailbacks, the
Razorbacks knocked off No. 2 Auburn in a stunningly one-sided 27-10
victory Saturday that will rearrange the top of the rankings.

2006 began as the Season of the Favorites as only four ranked teams lost to unranked teams through the first five weeks of the year. In fact, it was the first time since the preseason poll began in 1950 that fewer than two top-15 teams were beaten by an unranked team during the first five weeks. But that trend may be coming to a close in Week 6 with two ranked teams falling to unranked foes, including No. 2 Auburn falling 27-10 at home to Arkansas.

Date
Unranked upset

Oct. 7

No. 2 Auburn lost to Arkansas

Oct. 5

No. 17 Florida State lost to NC State

Sept. 28

No. 17 TCU lost to BYU

Sept. 23

No. 20 BC lost to NC State

Sept. 16

No. 9 Florida State lost to Clemson

Sept. 9

No. 18 Clemson lost to BC

Arkansas (4-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) entered as 15-point
underdogs and left with the SEC West lead.

"We want people to respect us," said tailback Darren McFadden,
who ran for 145 yards and a 63-yard touchdown against a defense
that hadn't allowed a TD on the ground all season.

"We came out here with the mentality that we were going to earn
that respect."

Auburn (5-1, 3-1) becomes the first top-10 team to lose to an
unranked opponent this season, a huge blow to its national title
hopes. The Tigers leave with questions about a defense abused for
279 rushing yards and an offense that totaled 213 yards.

"They beat us to the punch on both sides of the ball," Tigers
coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We've got to find ways to get it
done, especially at home. We're disappointed but this is not over.
This was the first half of the season."

McFadden carried 28 times and Felix Jones gained 104 yards on 13
carries, pounding out yards inside and occasionally busting outside
for big gains.

Arkansas hadn't beaten a team ranked so high since a 42-11 in
over No. 1 Texas in 1981.

It was ugly enough for Tuberville to offer this assessment:
"We're not that bad a football team."

But is Arkansas, a team that lost its opener at home 50-14 to
Southern California, that good?

Jones' 1-yard touchdown run gave Arkansas a 24-10 lead late in
the third quarter that was too much for a sputtering Auburn offense
to overcome.

The Tigers had already survived two SEC scares, salvaging wins
over South Carolina and No. 9 LSU on late defensive stops. The
Razorbacks were the ones making most of the big plays this time.

"I thought we could compete for four quarters," Arkansas coach
Houston Nutt said. "To say we were going to be up 10-0, I don't
know about that. To say we were going to win by 17 points -- no
way."

But the Razorbacks sacked Brandon Cox five times, including once
by Jamaal Anderson and Keith Jackson on fourth-and-9 from the
Arkansas 39 on the final play of the third quarter.

On their next possession, the Tigers went three-and-out for the
third time in the game. They weren't able to muster any more
threats.

It was a matchup of the only SEC West teams without a league
loss, but with much of the conference's focus being on Auburn and
LSU, the Razorbacks had been overlooked. They lingered on the field
or a few minutes celebrating with fans -- and Nutt climbed into some
hedges and directed the band.

"We were just trying to come out and earn some respect and show
the world we're not a pushover," said receiver Marcus Monk, who
caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from heralded freshman Mitch
Mustain.

Auburn had won 20 of its last 21 games against SEC opponents and
was chasing its second undefeated season in three years. Now, the
Tigers have to win out and hope Arkansas loses another league game
just to earn a spot in the league championship game.

The Razorbacks capitalized on an Auburn mistake to push their
lead to two touchdowns. Jones' TD capped a drive that began at the
Auburn 34 after Kody Bliss's 19-yard punt. Flanker Reggie Fish set
up the score with a 25-yard run after lining up kneeling near
Mustain.

Arkansas didn't need much trickery against the nation's No. 3
scoring defense. The Razorbacks ran on 36 of their final 38 plays.
Mustain was an efficient 7-of-10 passing for 87 yards and wasn't
sacked.

"They came in here and pretty much dominated on the ground,"
Auburn safety Eric Brock said. "We really have no excuses. I'm
pretty much shocked by our performance.

"They pretty much beat us at our own game," he said.

Arkansas held Kenny Irons to 75 yards on 15 carries. Cox was
17-of-29 for 153 yards.

The Razorbacks had used two big plays to take a 17-10 halftime
lead. First, Monk reached over a falling Jonathan Wilhite for the
ball and ran into the end zone.

After Auburn failed on fourth-and-5, McFadden burst through the
middle and outran the defense for a 63-yard TD with five minutes
left in the first half.

Nutt stopped short of saying this was his biggest win at
Arkansas, but for a coach coming off two straight losing seasons it
was very significant.

"I told our guys, 'You won't know how big it is until on down
the line," he said. "To go on the road and win a game like this
against a team the caliber of Auburn, I am really proud of them. We
have to build on this and keep going."

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