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LSU -- Arkansas: Viewer's Guide to the DVR Replay

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That is all I can say to anybody that still doubts whether or not LSU is clearly the best team in college football. In terms of the regular season, there is nothing left to prove. 12-0 by an average score of 38-10, with 40 or more points scored in eight of those games against a schedule that includes three other BCS top-10 teams and two possible conference champions.

And just about every one of them looked a lot like this, sans for the 14-point deficit. The Tigers wear you out at the line of scrimmage and swarm you with athletes in either backfield. They play with a confidence and a swagger in all three phases of the game, and if one aspect of the team is struggling, the others are both willing and able to carry the additional load. A true team, in every sense of the word. No one player beats you. They all do. Wave after wave of talented players crash into opponents until the collective pounding takes its toll and they can't keep their heads above water.

LSU has never had an undefeated regular season in my lifetime, and words fail me in describing just how satisfying it feels. I could not be prouder of this team, or this coaching staff. Whatever happens going forward, I don't know that we'll ever see a regular season this dominant again.

But anyway, on to the game notes:

  • Odd start to the team. It felt like the defense was sort of asleep, and the offense was pressing a little bit to try and make up for it. A little over-aggressive at times instead of just hunkering down and going right at Arkansas. Credit the Razorbacks for beating the Tigers at their own game early, flipping field position and taking advantage to get a touchdown and then catching the perfect turnover for the next one.
  • And just like that, the offense got going with a 14-play scoring drive, balanced 50/50 on runs and passes, with the key being a big option play by Ford that turned a second and 16 into a third and two. Ford had one of those emblematic days where he shows the speed that makes you want to keep the ball in his hands but still makes a handful of mental mistakes that frustrate you. He just seems to zig when he should zag every so often. I can't recall the exact run, but I remember he had the ball in space with a clear bee-line to the first down if he just cuts inside and hits the gas. Instead, he headed outside towards the boundary, and while the run still resulted in a nice gain, a more instinctive back could have picked up more.
  • And what did LSU follow that first scoring drive with? A three-and-out and a 92-yard punt return to knot the game. The Honey Badger hasn't been able to find much room on punt returns this season, and in truth he probably shouldn't have on this one, but once he got through that first wave of ‘Back gunners, he was able to get behind a few blocks and suddenly things broke open. And of course, on the next drive he one-ups himself with yet another timely forced fumble.

  • The next drive belonged to Jordan Jefferson. Two big out/comeback routes -- the best route for his catapult-like delivery, and then the big scramble play. Attacking the deep sidelines took perfect advantage of the single-high safety Arkansas was using almost exclusively, and the inside screen to Russell Shepard was timed perfectly to beat a blitz.
  • Perimeter blocking was huge for the Tigers, from the tackles out. Alex Hurst whiffed a few times early, resulting in an early sack, but Chris Faulk virtually erased Jake Bequette from the box score, the tight ends consistently set the edge (Deangelo Peterson in particular did a great job on Ford's 49-yard run) and LSU's receivers pushed the ‘Back corners and safeties into next week. Jarvis Landry in particular was downright vicious, and his seal on from the slot helped create the alley for Jefferson's 48-yard touchdown.
  • Patience was a virtue for Jefferson, who shrugged off a couple of early issues, including a blown-up roll-out attempt, a bad snap and another bobbled one. Aside from his interception, a case of trying to squeeze a pass into too tight of a window, Jefferson did a fantastic job on the deep sideline throws, which have always been his best. Again, the key to success for LSU's quarterbacks is all about comfort. When Jefferson is running speed/read options and throwing the deeper or intermediate play-action passes, he's in that comfort zone.
  • It helps that he's also learned to keep the deep balls up, and if the coverage is close Rueben Randle will win the matchup more often than not.
  • Kenny Hilliard represents the third different LSU back to go over 100 yards in a game this season, and he did it by out-Spencer-Waring Spencer Ware. Run hard, punish tacklers and keep those legs pumping. The difference is, Hilliard may have a little more burst than Ware and happens to be about 15 pounds heavier.
  • On defense, everything started with Michael Brockers and Bennie Logan, who combined for 10 tackles and helped keep Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery and the back seven in one-on-one situations.
  • Chavis clearly made an effort to take away the deep routes and force Tyler Wilson and Co. into slow and methodical drives. Again, credit Arkansas for finding ways to still create big plays by coming back to the ball and helping their quarterback. Sometimes when you run off the deep zones, the underneath areas are either open or filled with linebackers that can't run with the likes of Greg Childs or Cobi Hamilton.
  • Still, Morris Claiborne, Tharold Simon and Tyrann Mathieu of taking Joe Adams and Jarius Wright out of the game. Claiborne's interception was a classic case of bating. He hung just off of Wright, waited on the throw and went for the ball. How many times this season has Wilson been able to just toss one up and let his guy make a play? Claiborne played for it, just like his old running mate Patrick Peterson.