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No. 6 Auburn hosts Arkansas in season opener

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(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
AUBURN, AL (WSFA) -

It seemed like it was meant to be. It seemed as if the Auburn Tigers were destined to complete the miracle 2013 season by hoisting the crystal ball in Pasadena.

Fate, however, thought differently and Florida State stole the show as Heisman winner Jameis Winston threw a touchdown to win the game with only 13 seconds left.

Truthfully though, how many people thought that the Tigers would make it to the national championship game before the 2013 season started? Not many.

After an abysmal 2012 season when the Tigers went 3-9, Auburn stunned the college football nation by only losing one game in the regular season and pulling off unfathomable last second wins against Georgia and Alabama.

Now the Tigers want to prove that last season was not a fluke, and are looking to redeem themselves after the loss to Florida State.

Auburn opens the season by hoisting the Arkansas Razorback at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday at 3p.m.

This will be the 24th meeting between the two teams with Auburn currently leading the series 12-10-1. Jordan-Hare Stadium has not provided home field advantage for the Tigers in this series as both Auburn and Arkansas have won five games apiece and tied once on the Plains.

Good news for Tiger fans though, Auburn is 93-26-2 all-time in season openers and have won seven of their last eight dating back to 2006. The only loss came in the 2012 season opener to the Clemson Tigers.

One trend that the Tigers hope to continue in 2014 is scoring 30 or more points a game. In 2013, The Tigers scored 30 points in ten consecutive games for the first time in school history. The previous best was in 1994, when Auburn scored 30 or more points in eight straight games.

Another trend the Tigers hope continues is that when a quarterback rushes for more than 100-yards, the Tigers have won 12 straight games. The last time Auburn lost with a quarterback rushing for more than 100-yards was in 1975 against Georgia.

The Tigers will be solid at quarterback as both Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson return in 2014.

Marshall, who led the Tigers to a 12 win season in 2013, will not be the starter on Saturday.

Over the summer, Marshall was cited in Georgia for possession of marijuana during a traffic stop. Because of that, Johnson will be under center to start the game, but fans can expect to see Marshall involved in the game at some point.

Another position for fans to keep an eye on during Saturday's game is running back.

The Tigers were led by Tre Mason in 2013, as Mason racked up 1816 yards on the ground on 317 carries for 23 touchdowns.

Mason, however, is now in St. Louis with the Rams, and now the Tigers must replace him in the backfield.

The Tigers are planning to start Cameron Artis-Payne at running back on Saturday, but fans can also expect Corey Grant, Peyton Barber and even Roc Thomas to see some playing time against the Hogs.

The Tigers also have some questions on defense that will be answered on Saturday.

Senior defensive back Robenson Therezie will not be playing on Saturday due to eligibility issues. Therezie is one of the leaders on the Tiger defense, and now that he won't be playing look for Jermaine Whitehead to step up and lead the Auburn defense.

Another hole on the Tiger defense is Carl Lawson who is currently recovering from a torn ACL. While reports state that Lawson is ahead of schedule on his recovery, someone else is going to have to step up on the defensive line in order to stop the Razorback offense.

It's no question that the Auburn offense can score points; the main focus of Saturday's game will be how well the Auburn defense shuts down the Arkansas offense.

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