Arkansas looking for answers to red zone struggles

Associated Press Modified: October 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm •  Published: October 4, 2012
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"That's been a big stable to what we've done in the past, to convert (in the red zone)," Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson said. "We take pride. When we sniff it out and when we smell it, to go get it and make a mark down there.

"... You all have to be in, and you've got to be on the same page. That's how you score when you're down there, and we haven't done that, haven't done it. Is it frustrating? Absolutely."

Wilson, who was first-team All-SEC last season, hasn't been immune from his own struggles near the opponents' goal line. Against the Aggies, the senior was 0-for-9 passing in the red zone — putting a damper on his 373-yard effort and leaving interim coach John L. Smith searching for answers.

"It's not one thing, but we've just got to keep fighting," Smith said. "We spent a lot of hours on the critical zone last week game planning. ... We've just got to go execute. We've got to get more points. That's the bottom line; that's my job. That's up to me to get more points when we get down there. We have to do it."

Wilson had his coming-out party against Auburn two years ago, throwing for 332 yards and four touchdowns after replacing starter Ryan Mallett in the first half. The Tigers won 65-43 on their way to the national championship, but they've struggled this season — with their only win coming in overtime against Louisiana-Monroe.

Arkansas lost a week before that to the Warhawks, a game in which Wilson missed the second half with a concussion. Auburn's defense performed well in a 12-10 loss to No. 4 LSU two weeks ago, and coach Gene Chizik knows how critical it will be to stop Wilson.

"He's an impressive young man," Chizik said. "One of the things I thought about him two years ago when he came into the game — I just thought that when you look at a quarterback and you say, 'What are the intangibles of a quarterback that you look for at that position in a young man?' and that is the competitive nature of that guy, he's got it."

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AP Sports Writer John Zenor in Auburn, Ala., contributed to this report.