To the surprise of no one who has regularly watched Arkansas football games this year, Rocket Sanders and KJ Jefferson were overwhelming choices for Razorbacks’ Player of the Game honors on Saturday.
The Hogs beat Auburn, 41-27, on the road to move to 5-3 and 2-3 in the SEC. It’s Arkansas’ second straight win after the team opened 3-0 then dropped three straight games.
Sanders, the sophomore running back, had 171 yards on 16 carries. His 76-yard burst in the third quarter set up an Arkansas touchdown that led to a 31-13 lead. He entered as the SEC’s leading rusher and with his day become the first player to break the 1,000-yard mark in the team’s seventh game since Madre Hill in the mid-1990s.
Jefferson ran for Arkansas’ first two touchdowns of the game, the second of which was a true highlight. He was also 16 of 24 passing for 234 yards and a touchdown pass to Jadon Haselwood.
Check out the complete voting for Arkansas’ Players of the Game below from contributors Taylor Jones and Kendall Hilton and editor E. Wayne.
Offense: Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson (Taylor Jones)
Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) throws the ball as the Auburn Tigers take on Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. Arkansas Razorbacks leads Auburn Tigers 17-13 at halftime.
What can be said that hasn’t already? KJ Jefferson is a force on the ground and he’s efficient enough through the air to make Arkansas’ offense truly dangerous with Kendal Briles’ play-calling.
Offense: Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson (Kendall Hilton)
Oct 29, 2022; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) smiles after scoring a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers during the second quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Had Jefferson not missed a game and Arkansas not fallen to Texas A&M, he’d be earning some dark horse Heisman Trophy praise.
Offense: Arkansas running back Rocket Sanders (E. Wayne)
Oct 29, 2022; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Raheim Sanders (5) carries against the Auburn Tigers during the first quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Sanders’ day was lights out. He didn’t have to crack 20 carries and even though he didn’t have a touchdown, he kept Arkansas’ offense moving at all times. He’s the SEC best running back, no question.
Defense: Arkansas safety Latavious Brini (Jones)
Arkansas defensive back Latavious Brini (7) against South Carolina during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
The Georgia transfer has helped settle Arkansas’ defensive backfield. He led the team with seven tackles Saturday, including two for-loss.
Defense: Arkansas safety Latavious Brini (Hilton)
STARKVILLE, MISSISSIPPI – OCTOBER 08: Dillon Johnson #23 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs carries the ball against Latavious Brini #7 of the Arkansas Razorbacks during the second half at Davis Wade Stadium on October 08, 2022 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Arkansas has needed someone to step up in the secondary. And while Brini isn’t as good at stopping the pass as he is the run, Arkansas still just gave up 236 yards in the air against the Tigers until the final drive.
Defense: Cornerback Dwight McGlothern (E. Wayne)
Arkansas defensive back Dwight McGlothern (3) against Missouri State during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
McGlothern remains the best coverage man on Arkansas’ roster. He can tackle, too. He tied Brini for the team lead with seven tackles and had a pass break-up.