AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn didn’t want to commit to a definitive statement afterwards, but he was having a hard time keeping himself from making one.
Was Auburn’s 56-3 rout of Arkansas the most dominant all-around performance in Malzahn’s career?
“This would be the game,” Malzahn said. “I’ll have to have time to re-watch everything and break it down, but when you beat a Top 20 team that played well last year against a conference opponent, that shows something. We played pretty good in all three phases.”
Malzahn didn’t have access to the record books and the game notes like those in the press box at Jordan-Hare Stadium did Saturday night. But if he did, he would have seen the historical amount of destruction the Tigers put on the Razorbacks to improve to 5-2.
Here are some no-huddle numbers on the historical significance of Auburn’s beatdown against Bret Bielema’s team:
1. Margin of victory vs. ranked team
Auburn beat Arkansas by 53 points Saturday night, which shattered the program record for largest margin of victory against a ranked team. The previous mark was 39, which came in the 2010 SEC Championship Game against South Carolina. In both games, Auburn scored 56 points — but the 2016 defense allowed two fewer touchdowns in its rout.
2. Margin of victory vs. Arkansas
In the Tigers’ previous meetings with Arkansas, the largest margin of victory was 24 points, which came during the Razorbacks’ last trip to the Plains in 2014. Close games tend to be a theme in this SEC West rivalry. That went out the window Saturday night with the 53-point victory.
3. Rushing yards in SEC regular-season game
Auburn rushed for 543 yards against Arkansas, the most for a team in a SEC regular-season game. The record was 542, set by Arkansas vs. South Carolina in 2007, when the Razorbacks had Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.
The record for the most in any SEC game was set by Auburn under Malzahn in the 2013 SEC Championship Game — 545 vs. Missouri. Auburn also was close to its all-time record for rushing yards in a game of 565, which was set in 1985 by a Bo Jackson-led offense against Southwestern Louisiana.
4. Rushing yards allowed vs. SEC opponent
Arkansas entered the game with the SEC’s top running back in rushing yards this season, Rawleigh Williams III. However, Williams and the rest of the Arkansas ground game only managed 25 yards against Auburn. That was the lowest mark for Auburn against an SEC opponent since 2005, when the Tigers held Ole Miss to 23 yards in a 27-3 victory.
5. Touchdowns allowed vs. SEC opponent
Arkansas’ only points came on a long-range field goal to end the first half. The Razorbacks never threatened the end zone, giving Auburn its first SEC game without allowing a touchdown since 2011 against Florida — a game that was exactly five years and one week ago.
6. Five Tigers with at least one rushing touchdown
Five Auburn players found the end zone on the ground Saturday night — Kamryn Pettway, Eli Stove, Kam Martin, Stanton Truitt and Sean White. The last time Auburn had that many players score a rushing touchdown in a game was 2006 against Ball State, when Kenny Irons, Brad Lester, Tre Smith, Tristan Davis and Carl Stewart did it.
7. Auburn’s quickest offensive start since a “crazy” play
When Eli Stove ran 78 yards for a touchdown on Auburn’s first offensive snap, he became the first Tigers player to score on the opening play since the 2003 Iron Bowl. Auburn fans might remember that play from 13 seasons ago as Carnell Williams’ legendary “Go Crazy Cadillac” run against the Crimson Tide.