Like most LSU-Arkansas games, it was an ugly affair. LSU slowly trudged out of the gate, never quite seeming to find their rhythm. Arkansas, on the other hand, was even worse. The Hogs punted on the first six drives, only breaking the streak by ending a drive with a turnover.
LSU found that rhythm by going back to their truest selves: by running the ball over and over again. With 12:48 left in the second quarter, the LSU offense took over possession at its own 23 and proceeded to hammer the same nail repeatedly.
LSU would travel 77 yards over 14 plays, 12 of them runs, eating up 7:24 of clock. The drive ended with a Nick Brossette touchdown run in which the offensive line pushed the pile the final five yards to the end zone. That, as they say, was that.
The Tigers took a 14-3 into the half thanks to a bizarre sequence of events in the final minute of the half which served as the game’s Ode to Bad Football. The two teams exchanged fumbles after a long delay as the officials tried to figure out how to penalize LSU for blocking in the back when they were the kicking team. Arkansas gained nearly 40 yards on the turnover exchange, but didn’t have enough time to score a touchdown.
On LSU’s second drive of the third quarter, the offense drove 59 yards for a touchdown. A short drive capped off by Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s 13 yard touchdown run. LSU added a field goal and LSU built up a seemingly insurmountable 24-3 lead. LSU outgained Arkansas 359-216, but the Hogs didn’t have 100 yards of total offense until the fourth quarter. Of course, that was on a drive in which Arkansas drove 76 yards for their first touchdown, a fourth down conversion.
The Tigers had a chance to put the game away on their next drive, but the drive stalled out when Joe Burrow missed Dee Anderson, and the officials missed the defender pulling on his facemask. Josh Growden punted the ball away, giving the Hogs a chance to narrow the game to a single score.
The nerves lasted for one play, as Kary Vincent, Jr. picked off a pass on the very first play of the next drive. LSU took the ball over at midfield with a chance to put the game away. LSU would get the ball down to the 25, facing a fourth and one. Orgeron would go for it, which I liked, by calling for a run play out of the shotgun, which I didn’t. The conversion failed.
Arkansas took over possession and aided by an unsportsmanlike flag on Vincent, the Hogs quickly marched down the field for a touchdown. Arkansas now had two touchdown drives of 2:16 and 1:33, travelling 76 and 75 yards, respectively. Now a game that should have been salted away was a ball game late.
Now, it was LSU’s turn to be aided by an unsportsmanlike call, taking possession over at the 41. On third and five, Joe Burrow made a big play, finding Derek Dillon for 16 yards to move the chain. After Arkansas burned their last timeout, Burrow called his own number, rushing for 16 yards and another first down, a the clock went under three minutes.
Nick Brossette found daylight and took a knee instead of scoring. Joe Burrow handed him the ball again on first down and Brossette again intentionally went down before scoring, preserving the scoreline and preventing the Tigers from covering the spread. Not that we care, right?
A win is a win, but some are prettier than others. This one was ugly.