FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema understands the fan base is unhappy with the Razorbacks’ 2-4 start.
But he’s pleading to not let those frustrations take away from the Hogs’ home-field advantage Saturday against Auburn at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“It’s a 6:30 game, so everybody should be oiled up and ready to roll,” Bielema said. “As much support as we can get from the people in the stands, regardless if you’re frustrated, irritated, mad, upset, to show up and be great to these kids would be a huge thing.”
Bielema reminded reporters Arkansas started 2-4 in 2015 and ended the season 8-5 with a victory over Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl. The turnaround that season began with a 54-46 win over Auburn in four overtimes at Razorback Stadium. The Hogs went on to win six of their last seven that season with the only loss coming by one point against Mississippi State.
Auburn deploys a no-huddle offense that is reliant on communication at the line of scrimmage to call plays. Because of that, Bielema feels crowd noise could considerably impact the Tigers’ ability to communicate on offense.
Will Razorbacks supporters turn out in force on Saturday?
“I think we’ll have a loud crowd,” Bielema said. “As much as we can have help from the student section [would be good].”
The Razorbacks are 0-3 in the SEC this season, coming off a 41-9 defeat at No. 1 Alabama.
Auburn (5-2, 3-1) blew a 20-point lead on its way to a 27-23 loss at LSU on Saturday but retained the No. 3 spot in the most recent SEC Country Power Poll. If Arkansas can escape unscathed on Saturday, the schedule lightens up a bit with a subsequent trip to Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2) and then a home game against Coastal Carolina (1-5).
To hear Bielema tell it, fans could play a role in toppling Auburn, which is a 14½-point favorite as of Monday.
But if the Hogs fail to pull the upset, their final three home games of the season (Coastal Carolina, Mississippi State and Missouri) might wind up on the chart below.
Smallest crowds at Razorback Stadium in Bielema era:
|Oct. 25, 2014||UAB||61,800|
|Sept. 14, 2013||Southern Miss||63,067|
|Sept. 6, 2014||Nicholls State||63,108|
|Oct. 31, 2015||Tenn.-Martin||64,206|
|Nov. 22, 2014||Ole Miss||64,510|