Arkansas Loses Battle For Golden Boot Against LSU

FAYETTEVILLE, AR – NOVEMBER 21: Feleipe Franks #13 of the Arkansas Razorbacks dives into the end zone for a touchdown in the first half of a game against the LSU Tigers at Razorback Stadium on November 21, 2020 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The Arkansas Razorbacks took on the LSU Tigers in the Battle for the Golden Boot Saturday morning in Fayetteville. After a mediocre first half and a dramatic second half, the golden boot is back on its way back to Baton Rouge after a 27-24 loss. Here’s how it went down.

The Hogs started the game already with their backs a little against the walls, with almost the whole starting defensive line being out for the game. Compound that with Rakeem Boyd being and there is some need for players to fill some spots.

Now there is no good way to say this, but the Razorbacks were absolutely abysmal offensively the first half of this game. The Hogs got the ball to start the game and after a quick three-and-out, punted to the Tigers. This would be a common occurrence for Sam Pittman’s crew the first half, as the razorbacks 0-6 converting on third down in the first half. LSU was able to put some points up in the middle of the first quarter after a field goal. LSU was having major success running the ball and converting long drives and that was due to them capitalizing on the inexperienced and weakened hog’s front.

At 3:40 left in the first quarter, The hogs were able to finally connect on offense, as Felipe Franks found Trelon Burks for a 65-yard bomb to the house. This was a sign of relief because the offense really had looked stagnant and was much needed, as the defense had been on the field for too long. This is what hurt the Razorbacks the most, as LSU almost tripled the time of possession of that of the Hogs during the first half of the game. Hogs 7-3 to end the first.

LSU answered on the next drive as Hudson Clark gave up a 30-yard touchdown at the end of it. Now there is a lack of depth at places on defense, but Clark has not played particularly well after his breakout game against Ole Miss earlier this season. He gets the benefit of the doubt as a walk-on, but there has to be a change in the future to the defensive scheme as he is picked on for most of the game and has gotten beaten multiple times in man coverage.

After another Hogs punt, all Arkansas fans could think on the next LSU drive was “Oh God, not again” as what appeared to be an LSU fumble recovered by Arkansas, was ruled as “no clear recovery” and remained LSU ball. thankfully later in the drive, the football gods had Arkansas back and gifted them another fumble recovery.

Franks, who has looked good the past couple of weeks and has taken care of the ball, then threw an interception that was returned within the hogs 10, after a couple of punts from LSU and Arkansas. This was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown, but Arkansas closed out the half well with a nice drive that ended with a much-needed touchdown with Franks diving into the endzone. LSU capped off the half with a long drive down the field and a field goal on the next drive. LSU 20-14 at the half.

After punts by both teams to start the second half, Arkansas defense seemed to be able to get off the field after long drives, and although LSU’s punter was pinning the hogs deep, Felipe Franks is possibly one of the best deep-ball throwers in the SEC as well as the nation, as he was able to connect with Mike Woods twice on the next drive with a 29-yard ball and a 52-yard bomb that eventually led to a Trelon Smith punch in for a touchdown

After another long LSU drive that resulted in a punt, the hogs took over the ball on their own 8-yard line, and Felipe Franks finished the third quarter with a 5-yard pass to TJ Hammonds. Hogs 21-20 end of third

This is where the madness happened. After opening up the third quarter with a field goal highlighted by a Hammonds 29-yard run, LSU and Arkansas both stalled offensively punting to each other after short drives. Then we get our weekly taste of SEC officials. Jaelon Catalon was ejected for targeting, after what seemed to be a good clean hard hit. He didn’t lower his helmet. He didn’t do anything malicious. Catalon even turned his body to the side before hitting the defender, but alas, he will miss the first half against Missouri next week. LSU gains momentum and marches down the field for the score with 3:59 left.

Felipe Franks showed composure as Sam Pittman’s team started driving down the field after a ghost of a tripping call on Trelon Smith multiple conversions and clock management,  Arkansas was able to get down to LSU’s 27 for a game-tying field goal from 44 yards. What seemed to have the distance at first glance, the ball was partially blocked and came up short. A few knees later and game over. LSU wins 27-24

This was a tough one to analyze because, after a sluggish first half, Arkansas had found a groove at times on offense. The main problem was the time of possession with LSU controlling the ball for 75 percent of the game at almost 42 minutes. The run game was non-existent, and the Hogs are without Jaelon Catalon for the first half next week. TJ Hammonds and Mike Woods stepped up and took a bit off the load of Burks. Even with all the SEC officiating controversy to come, all the hogs can do now is bounce back and prepare to go to war with Missouri next week. Woo Pig.