Arkansas vs. LSU Takeaways


It was a very cold, frigid night when Arkansas and LSU played for the Golden Boot. The Tigers had won 3 straight in the rivalry, but that didn’t dictate how close this rivalry has been for years.

Despite the cold temperatures, the Hogs came out on fire and poised to end their lengthy losing streak in the SEC and against LSU. Arkansas took the opening drive into LSU territory and settled for a field goal. What fans didn’t realize is that’s all they’d need on a night owned by Robb Smith and the Arkansas defense.

Nov 15, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks teammates celebrate after winning the game over the LSU Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The Arkansas Razorbacks defeat the LSU Tigers 17-0. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas takeaways –

The Hogs’ defense is really special! Less than one year after ranking in the bottom half in total defense in the NCAA, new defensive coordinator Robb Smith has put together a tenacious defense that tackles unlike any Arkansas defense we’ve seen in recent history. I’ll admit that we do lack some speed and size, and are prone to big plays in the passing game, but don’t let that fool you. The coaching staff has created one of the best run defenses in the country with the emergence of Martrell Spaight at linebacker and the continuous solid play from defensive end Trey Flowers.

Arkansas held LSU to 36 yards rushing on 32 attempts, but this isn’t the first time they’ve held a prestigious running attack in check. Alabama rushed for only 66 yards on 32 carries and Mississippi State had just 128 yards on 35 attempts. All three of these top twenty teams averaged over 195 yards on the ground this season, but were stymied by a young Razorback defense that features 4 underclassman in the back seven.

Arkansas’ tight ends are very good! Hunter Henry and A.J. Derby just keep impressing each week. Both had 4 catches on a night when neither team passed the ball much. Derby even tried to hurdle a defender. Although he was unsuccessful, he received a good chuckle from head coach Bret Bielema when he returned to the sideline.

This is the best .500 football team in the country and possibly the best team outside the top 25. The Hogs play with confidence, pride and a sense of togetherness each time they take the field. They play like a band of wild hogs!

LSU takeaways –

The Tigers were clearly banged up and not ready for Arkansas. LSU looked slow, uninterested, and cold. I’ve never seen a Tigers team put up a meager 123 yards of offense. I’m not taking away from what the Hogs did on defense, but LSU’s offensive line looked confused and weak Saturday evening. Many will blame it on the cold weather and injuries, but these guys were simply steam rolled by the Arkansas defensive line.

Where was Leonard Fournette? This kid is a 5-star recruit that was supposed to receive an abundance of carries. However, he was held to 9 yards on 5 carries. Am I missing something?

Anthony Jennings is not LSU’s quarterback in the future. Jennings is still just a sophomore and could prove to be better as an upperclassman, but I didn’t see any signs of mental toughness or pure throwing ability.

Sure, I’m being a little harsh on LSU, but we’re talking about a team that receives 5-star recruits’ year in and year out, yet Arkansas seems to have an upper hand in the majority of games in this rivalry. I realize the Tigers still hold a large lead in this series, but I was certainly not impressed by their abilities Saturday and definitely don’t think they’re as good as their ranking.

Nov 15, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; A Arkansas Razorbacks fan holds up a sign during the second half of the game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the LSU Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The Arkansas Razorbacks defeat the LSU Tigers 17-0. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Bold predictions –

It’s time to recap the five bold predictions I made for Saturday’s game versus LSU.

First, there wasn’t a plethora of turnovers like I expected, but the Hogs did win the turnover battle. Temperatures were cold, but not as sloppy as we expected from earlier in the week. LSU fumbled away the only turnover in the game on what looked to be their only scoring drive.

Second, both teams were held under 200 yards passing. Despite being down the whole game, LSU continued to run the ball ineffectively and only tossed the ball 22 times. LSU was held to only 87 yards while Arkansas passed for 169.

For only the second time in 10 years, this game wasn’t decided by one score. The Razorbacks maintained control of this game throughout, and my prediction of a one score game was totally incorrect. I’m proud to say, I’m glad I was wrong!

Korliss Marshall did have an effect on this game as he touched the ball 5 times for 22 yards. He did not have a “huge play” like I predicted, but it’s also hard to return any kicks when the opponent doesn’t score.

Lastly, my boldest prediction of all came pretty true. Arkansas did win, and we even scored 17 points like I predicted. However, none of us expected LSU to be shutout.