In Houston Nutt’s final game as head coach, Arkansas went into Baton Rouge and pulled off the upset against the eventual National Champion, LSU Tigers.
Few gave the 7-4 Razorbacks a chance when they entered Death Valley for the 2007 Battle for the Golden Boot. 1-loss LSU took the field as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation and having already clinched the SEC West and in full control of their destiny.
Things were disastrous from the start for Arkansas as Darren McFadden fumbled away the game’s opening kickoff. LSU would only manage a field goal with their first possession as the Razorbacks’ defense came out fired up and refusing to budge. Neither team was able to generate much on the offensive side of the ball and an uneventful 1st quarter ended with the Tigers holding a 6-0 lead.
The Arkansas defense continued to maul Matt Flynn through much of the 2nd quarter. The Hogs’ ground game would finally get going and with 7 1/2 minutes left in the half when McFadden took the snap from the Wild Hog formation and went 16 yards to pay-dirt. Arkansas took the 7-6 lead into the half and little did anyone realize the 2nd half fireworks that were on the way.
The Wild Hog struck again early in the 3rd quarter as McFadden took the direct snap, faked the give to Felix Jones, and went 73 yards to score…but not before Casey Dick’s leveling block that Razorbacks’ fans still talk about. LSU answered with a mid-3rd quarter drive that effectively mixed run and pass. Jacob Hester’s 15-yard touchdown brought the Tigers within 2 points and then Matt Flynn’s dive to the pylon during the conversion try tied the game at 14.
Both teams again exchanged scores to round out the 3rd quarter as Peyton Hillis’ 65-yard touchdown run was answered with a Flynn touchdown pass to Demetrius Byrd. Arkansas used a reverse- play run by Felix Jones to march down the field with just under 7 minutes remaining in regulation. Cue the Wild Hog again when McFadden took the snap, went play-action fake, and fired a 24-yard touchdown pass to Hillis.
Arkansas held a 21-14 lead with the game winding down, but it was only temporary. With the battle on the line, LSU tight end Richard Dickson caught a deflected pass and set up the Tigers inside the red zone. With less than 1 minute in regulation, Flynn again found Byrd in the end zone to send the game to overtime.
Flynn remained the hot-hand into the 1st overtime, taking a quarterback draw nearly 20 yards to the house and giving the Tigers a 35-28 lead. The Razorbacks answered when Casey Dick found Hillis in the end zone, sending the game to a 2nd overtime. McFadden scored on the Hogs’ ensuing possession and sure enough, LSU countered with a short-yardage touchdown run by Jacob Hester. Enter the 3rd overtime where, tied 42-42, another long McFadden run set up Hillis’ 3rd score of the game. Felix Jones’ toss-play dive into the end zone gave the Razorbacks another 2 points and a 50-42 lead.
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
With the game on the line, Matt Flynn hit Brandon LaFell for his 3rd touchdown pass of the game but missed Byrd in the back of the end zone during the 2-point try.
The win at Baton Rouge was Arkansas’ first since 1993 and brought the “Golden Boot” back to Fayetteville following a 4-year absence. Darren McFadden finished with 206 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns while Peyton Hillis caught 5 passes for 62 yards and a pair of touchdown grabs.
LSU would still go on to win the SEC and BCS championship games, but November 23, 2007 belonged to the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Credit: Arkansas Times Blog