The Auburn Injury and Other Tiger Tales – What They’re Saying


The Auburn Injury and Other Tiger Tails - What They're Saying


To be certain, this Auburn injury flap had zero influence on the final outcome of the game in Fayetteville Saturday, but it is interesting in light of the back and forth between Bret Bielema and Gus Malzahn, and with all of Malzahn’s talk about integrity – his, the game’s, his team’s, his and his and his.

Here is how our Jim Harris saw the game in hindsight, and below that are plenty of comments from the sports world on the Auburn Injury and other stuff.

Alex Collins was shaken up late in the game at the end of an 8-yard carry in which he also fumbled, but UA coach Bret Bielema said in the post-game interview that he believed Collins was all right.

Worn out was probably the real culprit. Collins and Jonathan Williams were outstanding in leading Arkansas’ running game, which nearly matched Auburn’s SEC-leading rushing attack. The Hogs totaled 222 rushing yards to Auburn’s 233, Auburn average 5.1 yards per carry to the Hogs’ 4.7 per rush.

Brandon Allen bounced back from his first-quarter leg gash, which the UA training staff stapled shut, to complete 10 of 22 passes for 112 yards. OK, not great numbers by a longshot, but considering what Allen went through to get back on the field, it’s admirable. He was not intercepted for the first time in SEC play.

However, his backup, A.J. Derby, was intercepted and lost a fumble on consecutive possessions for the Hogs while Allen was absent, and that’s one of several areas that the Hogs, the staff and the fans can point to as the keys to Auburn winning and Arkansas losing.

Auburn made the plays; Arkansas didn’t make the plays.

The Hogs also failed to score a touchdown with four snaps from the Auburn 4-yard line, including back-to-back rushing attempts by Jonathan Williams from the 1-yard line. Bret Bielema said later the Hogs did not get the backside linebacker cut off on those plays, while Auburn’s defensive front did a great job of getting low underneath the Hogs’ blockers on the right side.

Arkansas had two offensive pass interference penalties that wiped out big third-down gains. Despite that, Arkansas had one of its best days in quite some time on third downs, converting 9 of 16.

Maligned receivers seemed to get the message during the off week to perform or move aside. Sophomore Keon Hatcher, in particular, was perhaps at his best in his brief career.

Brooks Ellis got his first start at middle linebacker. Afterward, Bielema was regretting not getting the Fayetteville freshman onto the field sooner in the season.

The defensive backs still had a gut-punch breakdown, giving up a touchdown pass that all but clinched the game for Auburn, though Arkansas gamely battled back in the third and fourth quarters to close to within 11, 28-17. The Arkansas defensive line was not strong enough to command any double-teams from the Auburn O-line, which was a major factor in Auburn rushing for 233 yards, though that was 82 yards below the Tigers’ per-game average.

Tre Mason scored four touchdowns and rushed for 168 yards on 32 carries to lead the Tigers. Sammie Coates outfought the Hogs’ Tevin Mitchel on a pass that he turned into an 88-yard scoring play. Mitchel had bump coverage on Coates, didn’t bump him, didn’t knock the ball away when he was in position to do so, and didn’t get the receiver down after the catch.

Arkansas’ safeties didn’t tackle as well as needed.

An onside kick attempt right after the Hogs had finally gotten on the board for the first time in eight quarters was a complete failure, even though the Hogs had the numbers and Bielema thought it was a good gamble. The problem: Jeremy Sprinkle was offsides.

So, Arkansas made just enough mistakes to doom the Hogs to their fifth loss in SEC play. They create no turnovers but they cough the ball up — three on Saturday night. That’s a losing proposition when you’re already behind the eight-ball in ability.

But anyone who watched Saturday can’t say the Hogs were outrageously outmanned the way they had been the past three games.

There was something positive about it, some improvement detected, and the players seemed to reflect that in the post-game comments.

Auburn moved to a surprising 8-1. But the Tigers seem to be a little bit of a pretender when compared to the likes of Alabama or South Carolina.


Here is the funniest description you will read about Anthony Swain’s “injury” outside of perhaps something from the tweet stream of Bleacher Report’s SEC writer, Barrett Sallee. This comes from James Crepea, a writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. What he saw and what practically everybody else saw is outrageously unbelievable. And let’s not forget, No. 43, Swain, actually helped one of his teammates get up off the turf after the play and before he took a dive. He used his LEGS as leverage to LIFT a huge football player off of the GROUND. Gingerly.

After the play, Swain gingerly walked to the middle of the field and appeared to be favoring his right leg. After standing near the middle of the end zone with his hands on his hips for several seconds, Swain suddenly went down and grabbed his right knee.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was incensed on the sideline and Razorbacks fans booed loudly as trainers attended to Swain before helping him walk off the field. Was the injury real or was it gamesmanship? We may never know for sure, but Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said it was genuine.

“He got hurt and (trainers) went and got him and that’s all I know,” Malzahn said. “We don’t tell our kids to fake.”


Brandon Marcello of reported the following regarding the “injury.”

Auburn linebacker Anthony Swain‘s sudden fall to the turf against Arkansas is at the center of yet another injury controversy in college football.

Swain’s fall capped a strange series of events — and perhaps a show of gamesmanship between Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn — in the final seconds of the third quarter Saturday.

Swain looked to the sideline after walking across the field, fell suddenly to the turf and grabbed his right knee. The tumble drew the attention of ESPN broadcasters, who questioned the validity of the injury immediately.

“No,” Malzahn responded when asked about the fall. “We don’t tell our kids to fake.”

The tumble followed Swain’s tackle of Arkansas tight end Austin Tate, who picked up a first down on a 7-yard pass from receiver Brian Buehner on a swinging gate play, near the Arkansas sideline. The pass picked up a first down on fourth-and-3 and placed the Razorbacks on the 2-yard line.

ESPN broadcasters believed Swain faked the injury. “Guilty as charged, my friend,” analyst Matt Millen said. Bielema could be seen on the sideline pointing in Swain’s direction as he questioned no one in particular on the field about the injury.

“He was hobbling to the shower just a second ago,” Auburn defensive tackle Nosa Eguae said of those questioning the injury Saturday night. “I think that’s kinda BS. As far as faking, nobody faked this game. It’s a contact sport. We played against a physical football team, we’re a physical football team. Guys get hobbled up out there.”


The Capstone Report offered Swain and the entire Auburn Family its condolences and prayers. HA.

Auburn linebacker Anthony Swain suffered a tragic and sudden knee injury in Auburn’s game against Arkansas Saturday night.

So sudden was it, that he didn’t even realize it until the very last minute, crashing what was left of his healthy body to the Fayetteville, Arkansas turf.

The odd, soccer-like flailing in the face of a furious Razorback drive drew immediate reaction from the ESPN commentators, calling him out for faking. And since then, the nation has watched the reel in astonishment at such blatant faking of an injury.

But he wasn’t faking. Gus Bus said he wasn’t, and true to form, the state media lined up and lapped it up.

We at however would like to offer Swain and the Aubuhn Fambly our sincerest condolences, and hope he is okay when he returns to practice at full speed on Tuesday when the team resumes preparations for next Saturday’s game.


Kevin Scarbinsky writes why you can’t believe Malzahn when he says there was nothing extra special in the Saturday in Fayetteville:

If you don’t think getting his first win here as a visitor and getting the better of Bret Bielema as a cherry on top didn’t mean something extra to Malzahn, you didn’t see him after Nick Marshall and Sammie Coates hooked up for an 88-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to stretch Auburn’s lead to 28-3.

Malzahn gave Marshall a high-five and then delivered a windmill of an uppercut reminiscent of vintage Tiger Woods at the Masters.


Gus Malzahn during his post-game interview:


Auburn’s official website reports this regarding the Tigers’ running back Tre Mason:

Arkansas played keep-away most of the first half, but Mason still had 93 yards and two touchdowns by then, accounting for 75 percent of Auburn’s offense. The Tigers led 14-3 at the half though Arkansas had run 46 plays to Auburn’s 22.

The Razorbacks were apparently talking a good game, however.

“Those guys were talking a lot. I just tried to tell them, ‘look at the scoreboard.’ Once we get the lead, we try to keep the lead,” Mason said.

Auburn coaching staff came in with plenty of ties to Arkansas, especially coach Gus Malzahn, who downplayed his homecoming. Not Mason.

“We had to make a statement for the coaches with our play,” Mason said.

Auburn did it this way: The Tigers got in the red zone four times. All four times Mason scored a touchdown.

“I know when we get to the red zone we’re going to play hard-nosed football. We’ve been pretty consistent at that. We’re going to continue to do that.”

Mason was the first Auburn player to score four touchdowns in a game since Heisman Trophy-winner Cam Newton did it against Kentucky in 2010. Newton, Mason said, challenged him to make his own place in Auburn history.

“That’s my guy,” Mason said. “Ever since he told me ‘What is your legacy going to be here?’ I’ve been trying to make the most of mine. I look up to that guy. He’s like my big brother, and I’m glad to be in the same sentence he is.

Malzahn said “Tre is establishing himself as one of the top running backs in our league. He’s a tough guy. He’s durable. He’s been a little banged up. He’s getting a little healthier.”


Marcello of also reported:

A rivalry might be brewing between the two coaches, but Auburn coach Gus Malzahn had nothing but nice things to say about Arkansas’Bret Bielema on Saturday night.

The two met briefly — less than 30 seconds — for a pregame handshake and chat on the Arkansas side of the field to end months of back-and-forth verbal sparring (direct and indirect) between the two first-year coaches about their football philosophies.

“He was real nice,” Malzahn said. “We talked briefly, and like I said before I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s an excellent coach. He’s taking over a program (and) they’re going to get better and he’ll get this thing going.”

The coaches met two or three times in the past but did not talk until Saturday. Their pregame exchange ended with a pair of back-slap send-offs by each coach. Bielema sought out Malzahn after meeting with recruits and VIPs on the Arkansas sideline as Arkansas and Auburn players warmed up on opposite sides of the field.


ESPN’s Greg Ostendorf’s SEC Helmet Stickers featured one for Auburn.

Tre Mason, RB, Auburn: Arkansas is supposed to have the smash-mouth offense, but Auburn’s Mason gave Bret Bielema a dose of his own medicine in Saturday’s 35-17 win. Mason rushed for 168 yards and a career-high four touchdowns on 32 carries. He had the hot hand early against the Razorbacks, and head coach Gus Malzahn rode him to the end. The junior running back scored twice in the first half, once on the opening drive of the second half, and he put the game away with a sensational 12-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He now has 13 touchdowns this season and has at least one rushing touchdown in six straight games. He’s been a major reason why the Tigers have the SEC’s top rushing offense.

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