By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
After two long weeks off LSU would venture into Fayetteville on Saturday and scratch and claw their way to a 27-24 victory. The Tigers continued their inconsistent play on both sides of the ball as a short handed Arkansas football team, which had been hit with a COVID outbreak this week, would give them all they could handle. It was an ugly win. But a win is a win and the Tigers, now 3-3, needed this win in the worse way.
Below is the game break down.....
The game would begin with Arkansas taking the opening kickoff and going three-and-out. Both teams would then trade punts before LSU would mount the first scoring drive of the game. Starting 1st and 10 from their own 19, T.J. Finley would open the drive with a 18 yard completion to Jaray Jenkins. A couple of plays later Terrace Marshall would pull in a Finley pass for a 20 yard gain at the Hogs' 37. The drive would stall and Cade York would hit a 49 yard field goal to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead with 7:37 to go in the quarter.
Once again both teams would struggle to move the ball and trade punts. Feleipe Franks and the Hogs would begin the next drive 1st and 10 at their own 8 yard line. Three plays later the Razorbacks would find themselves facing a 2nd and 1 from their own 35 yard line. Franks would drop back to throw and air it out down field finding Treylon Burks for a 65 yard touchdown. With 3:40 to go in the 1st quarter, Arkansas would take the lead, 7-3.
The Tigers would take their next possession into the 2nd quarter, picking up their drive going for it on 4th and three from the Arkansas 35 yard line after driving 40 yards in seven plays to get there. Finley would buy himself time before finding Arik Gilbert for a five yard gain and a huge first down to keep the drive alive. Two plays later, T.J. Finley would complete a beautiful rainbow pass to Racey McMath for a 30 yard touchdown putting the Tigers back up, 10-7.
The LSU defense would continue to surprisingly play well forcing a quick three-and-out to give the ball right back to the LSU offense. The Tigers would begin a nice drive into Arkansas territory, but on a 1st and 10 from the Hogs' 49, Finley would complete a pass for a 20 yard gain to Terrace Marshall who would cough up the ball on the play. Arkansas would recover the fumble at their own 29 yard line ending LSU's scoring threat.
The teams would then trade punts, setting up the Hogs 1st and 10 at their own 26 yard line. On second down Jabril Cox would step in front of a Franks pass and return it 37 yards down to the one yard line. On the next play, Ty Davis-Price would punch it in for the one yard touchdown run increasing the Tigers' lead to 17-7 with 4:21 to go in the first half.
Right as it looked like LSU was beginning to dominate the game, Franks and the Hogs offense
would respond quickly as on 1st down from their own 25 yard line, Franks would hit Mike Woods on a deep 50 yard completion down to the LSU 25. Two plays later, Feleipe Franks would take the ball into the end zone from 10 yards out, ending a three play, 75 yard scoring drive, putting the contest at 17-14 with 4:21 to go until halftime.
The Tigers would manage the clock well on the final drive of the first half as they would go 69 yards in 14 plays, setting up a Cade York field goal attempt. York would split the uprights with no time left giving LSU a 20-14 halftime lead.
LSU would hold on to their 20-17 lead until late in the 3rd quarter as both teams would struggle to move the football throughout the period. With 2:34 left on the clock, Zach Von Rosenberg would pin the Razorbacks deep into their own territory at the five yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Franks would hit Mike Woods for a 29 yard gain to give the Arkansas offense some breathing room. Three plays later the LSU secondary would give up another huge play as Franks would again find Woods deep down the middle of the field for a 50 yard completion down to the LSU two yard line setting up a 1st and goal. Two plays later, Trelon Smith would score on a 1 yard touchdown plunge. The PAT would give the Hogs the lead 21-20 with only 1:04 left to go in the 3rd. The drive covered 95 yards on only six plays.
LSU would quickly go three-and-out, using up only :58 off of the game clock. Once again Zach Von Rosenberg would pin the Hogs deep in their own territory at the 8 yard line with six ticks left in the 3rd quarter. Arkansas would end the period with Feleipe Franks dropping back to his goal line to throw. Once again, Franks would burn the LSU secondary throwing deep and completing a 51 yard pass to T.J. Hammonds at the LSU 41 yard line.
As the rain would begin to fall, the Hogs would continue their drive to start the final quarter and drive to the LSU two yard line. The Tigers' defense would stand tall, keeping the Arkansas offense out of the end zone, forcing the home team to settle for a 22 yard field goal and a 24-20 lead with 12:42 to go in the ball game.
Both teams would trade punts setting up LSU's big drive of the game. Starting from their own 33 yard line, Finley would find Kayshon Boutte for a 15 yard gain across the middle. Boutte would draw a personal foul penalty when Razorbacks DB Jalen Catalon would deliver a huge blow to Boutte's head on the tackle. The personal foul would set the Tigers up 1st and ten at the Arkansas 36. After two nice runs by Ty Davis-Price, T.J. Finley would then make a beautiful throw to Davis-Price who would run a nice wheel route up the near sidelines. Price would make the catch take two steps with control and dive into the end zone for an apparent 25 yard touchdown. However, the official would rule the play an incomplete pass. LSU would need to call a timeout to have the play reviewed, but the play would stand. Two plays later on 3rd and nine, Finley would find Arik Gilbert for a 16 yard gain down to the Razorbacks' eight yard line. Two plays later the officials would make their second horrible call of the drive, calling Finley for intentional grounding with a LSU receiver in the area. With it now 3rd and goal from the 13, Finley would take the snap, buy himself some time, and find Jaray Jenkins in the end zone for the 13 yard touchdown. York would convert the point after to give LSU a 27-24 lead with 3:59 to go in the ball game. The drive covered 67 yards on ten plays.
Feleipe Franks and the Arkansas offense would start their drive at their own 25 yard line and
slowly begin to drive down the field. Franks would convert two 4th and three plays on the drive as the Razorbacks would go 48 yards in 11 plays before stalling at the LSU 27 yard line. Hogs kicker AJ Reed would attempt a 44 yard field goal to try and tie the contest, but LSU's Jay Ward would rush from the outside and get a hand on the ball, causing the kick to fall short.
The Tigers would kneel out the final 1:20 for the 27-24 victory.
The Tigers did just enough to pull out the win against an Arkansas team that played hard for 60 minutes. T.J. Finley had a career day going 27-42, 271 yards, 2-TD passes. After an up and down three quarters of play, Finley stepped up late in the game, playing with confidence and poise as he would make the big throws when needed.
The offensive line rebounded after a horrible game against Auburn with decent run blocking and giving Finley nice protection throughout the ball game. Dare Rosenthal who was reinstated to the team this week, stepped in and contributed nicely.
The running game started slow, but ended up totaling 148 tough yards. Ty Davis-Price was this week's top rusher gaining 104 yards on 24 carries and a rushing touchdown. John Emery would add 33 yards on 12 attempts.
Terrace Marshall Jr. would lead the team in receiving with 7 catches for 57 yards. Arik Gilbert had a big day with 5 huge catches during key moments in the game for 55 yards. Racey McMath finished with 48 yards on 3 grabs incuding a nice touchdown catch. Jaray Jenkins would grab the winning score late in the game, as he would total 43 yards on 3 catches. Jontre Kirkland would make a couple of big catches throughout the game as this group of young men continue to step up and play at a high level.
LSU would win the time of possession 41:43 to the Razorbacks' 18;17. LSU ran 91 offensive plays compared to the Hogs' 53...
Overall it was pleasing to see the offense battle through inconsistent play, making the plays when needed to earn the victory.
The LSU defense actually played a decent game. The secondary simply continues to make
mistakes allowing the opposing offense to make huge plays to stay in the game. Especially after losing Eli Ricks to targeting disqualification and then Derek Stingley to an apparent concussion. However, they had their moments when they would bend but not break, keeping the Razorbacks out of the end zone a couple of times, forcing Arkansas to attempt field goals. But the big pass plays that they surrender are very painful to watch and continues to happen too often.
Andre Anthony had a great game with four tackles and a couple of sacks. Ali Gaye and BJ Ojulari helped put constant pressure on Feleipe Franks. Micah Baskerville had a solid outing, as well as Jabril Cox, who had a huge interception to set up a touchdown for the Tigers.
The defense gave up 443 total yards, but only 24 points which is a nice improvement against a team that plays well at home and has played everyone on their schedule close except for Georgia and Florida.
What can you say about the LSU special teams? Cade York was 3 for 3 on his PATs and 2 for 2 on field goal attempts hitting from 49 and 24 yards out. Zach Von Rosenberg punted 7 times for a total of 342 yards. That's a 48.9 average. He had a long of 61 yards, had four of 50 yards or more, and downed five punts deep inside the 20. What a weapon.
Next up for the Tigers is a trip to College Station to battle the (5-1) Texas A&M Aggies. The game will be televised on ESPN, kickoff at 6pm....
Photos by LSU/SEC