Tale of the Tape: Arkansas Razorbacks Vs. LSU Tigers


Well, before we get into the numbers for the upcoming game between the LSU Tigers in “Death Valley”, how about the crazy finish in Oxford? I expected a big day from Allen against Ole Miss’s shaky pass defense, but never expected him to turn in one of the best performances by a Hog EVER. 33/45 for 442 yards and 6 TD’s and no picks. Not a bad day at the office at all! Then that whole, “Henry Heave”, “Swine Intervention”, “Hail Henry” or “WHAT THE *BEEP* ARE YO- WAIT! YES! YES! GO! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! I CAN’T *BEEP*-ING BELIEVE IT!” whatever you want to call it, thing happened. Followed by a really well timed facemask and a “Gamble in the Grove”, as our editor Cory Thone likes to call it, that gave the Arkansas Razorbacks a huge win over the then ranked #18 Ole Miss Land Ackbar Shark Rebels on the road and the Hogs a third straight win.

Sadly, the Hogs don’t get much of a breather after that crazy game and win, as they travel to Baton Rouge to “Death Valley” to take on the Tigers from LSU, at 6:15 P.M. CST on ESPN. So thankfully, no visit with “Uncle Chortle” and Gary this week!

The LSU offense Vs. the Arkansas defense will be a match up of strengths, as LSU has only passed roughly 31% of the time this season. Which is near dead last in the country among FBS teams. LSU Quarterback Brandon Harris, who is a sophomore, has only had 147 passing attempts this season completing 81 of those for 1,226 yards. He also carries 10 TD’s to only 1 interception, so he’s careful in the limited throws he does have. So, don’t expect him to throw it 50 times this week.

On the other side of that coin, after the offensive explosion that was the Ole Miss and Arkansas game, Arkansas’s run defense dropped just out of the top 25 to the number 28 spot. The Hog defense gives up only 128 yards on the ground a game. However, they will face what will probably be their toughest test this season. LSU has a running back that you might have heard of, Leonard Fournette, who comes into the game averaging 173 yards rushing a game. He also has 16 TD’s on the ground and a nice 7 yard a carry average even after the Alabama game, where was stuffed for just 43 yards on 19 carries. However, that could be attributed to a combination of Alabama’s hellish front 7 and Les Miles being stubborn and not adjusting to the flow of the game.

Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Now switching gears to the Arkansas offense versus the LSU Defense. The Tiger’s run defense comes in at number 15 in country as they allow only 113 yards on the ground per game. However, Bama RB Derrick Henry gashed them for 210 yards and 3 TD’s. So while they’re good, they’re not unbreakable. Alex Collins comes in with 1068 yards and 12 TD’s of his own and averages just under 6 yards a carry. For comparison, Derrick Henry has the same yards per carry average, but 186 more yards and 5 more TD’s on 35 more carries.

LSU’s passing defense however, looks a lot more vulnerable. While I don’t expect Brandon Allen to put up Ole Miss numbers again, he could have a pretty solid game against a less than elite pass defense. LSU allows a completion percentage of nearly 59% and 217 yards a game, which puts them almost smack dab in the middle of the country stats wise. BA on the year is 174-268 for 2,476 yards and 21 TD’s and 5 picks, and that TD total is already one more than he had total all of last season. He also brings an SEC best 164.7 QB rating. Outside of the Alabama game, BA’s been on fire since early October, along with the emergence of Drew Morgan, who is actually leading the SEC in touchdown receptions with 9.

The keys to a 4th straight win and bowl eligibility on the defensive side will be holding Fournette to 100 yards or less (easier said than done, but the Hogs have played the run well all year) and putting pressure on Harris to make plays he’s not comfortable making. I think you’ll be hearing Brooks Ellis name called often. Ellis had 15 tackles against Alabama, I think we’ll see similar stats this week, as he excels in stopping the run.

On offense, Brandon Allen should have a good game. I doubt he throws for 6 TD’s again, but LSU’s pass defense won’t be the toughest he’s seen. That would open it up for AC on the ground, and keeping the defense off balance will be a big factor in this game.

Next: Hogs Offense is Great at Improvisation

Vegas has the favored Tigers by 7. So basically, if it were a neutral field, Vegas would call it a 50/50 shot. While the Hogs are used to hostile road environments this season, a night game in “Death Valley” will be on another level, not to mention the strong smell of corndogs throughout the stadium could be nauseating. It will be a tough test to get that 4th straight win and bowl eligibility, but these Hogs have been tested all season, and all that experience will hopefully pay off in a big way in the shape of a golden boot come Saturday.