A slow start for LSU didn’t change the end result as the top-ranked Tigers blew out Arkansas 56-20 Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
The win over Arkansas earns LSU it’s first SEC Western Division Championship since 2011 as the Tigers punch their ticket to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game against Georgia.
“It’s a big win for our football team,” said LSU coach Ed Orgeron. “11-0. Give Arkansas credit, coach (Barry Lunney Jr.) had those guys playing.”
Quarterback Joe Burrow continued his Heisman campaign, going 23-of-28 with 327 yards and three touchdowns, but it was running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire that stole the show.
Edwards-Helaire had six carries for 188 yards and three touchdowns and added seven receptions for 65 yards. Orgeron said he wanted to take Edwards-Helaire out of the game in the third quarter, but he had 99 yards and was convinced to keep him in the game to get one more yards.
Edwards-Helaire broke a 89-yard touchdown run the following play.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the 89-hard touchdown run: “It parted like the Red Sea.” #LSU— kennedi landry (@landryyy14) November 24, 2019
“I knew from the moment I got here that Clyde was a special player and he was going to have a lot of success,” Burrow said. “I knew that this offensive fit was a perfect fit for him, just like that guy over there in New Orleans (Alvin Kamara). He’s great out of the backfield and when they bring an extra defensive back in to cover him, he can run it too.”
Burrow’s total pushed him to over 4000 yards on the season and Edwards-Helaire’s pushed him to over 1000, making LSU the first school in SEC history with a 4,000 yard passer, a 1,000 yard rusher and two 1,000 yard receivers in Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson.
LSU led just 7-3 at the end of the first quarter and Arkansas scored on its first possession of the second to cut the lead to 7-6.
It didn’t take long after that for LSU to finally get a grip on the game, breaking it open for 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to lead 28-6 at halftime.
“We started out slow tonight — two of our first three drives didn’t end in points and that’s not like us,” Burrow said. “That was a little disappointing, but we got it going a little bit in the second quarter and right before the second half. We had a really good two minute drill right before the end of the first half so that was exciting for our team.”
The LSU defense responded to its criticism following a poor performance against Ole Miss and shutout the Razorbacks in the third quarter. Arkansas only put up 304 total yards — 114 yards rushing and 190 yards passing.
Safety JaCoby Stevens led the Tigers with three sacks and added eight tackles on the night.
“I feel good (about the performance),” Stevens said. “We held them for the majority of the game to six points. When I look at the entirety of the team, we did really well until the end of the fourth quarter.”
LSU did give up 14 points late in the game due to penalties and a successful Arkansas onside kick. Stevens said that is just part LSU playing a full four quarter game.
Orgeron said that Arkansas ran some of the same plays that Ole Miss ran and was able to stop them more effectively.
“I thought they were ready to play and coach Aranda was fired up,” Orgeron said. “Our whole defensive staff was fired up. I thought they did some really good things tonight.”
Orgeron and the team all emphasized that while it was a good win against Arkansas, this is not the end goal, especially as the team left “The Boot” trophy on the field. He said winning the West, and Arkansas by extension, was one of the team’s goals but it’s much bigger than that.
“We want to be No. 1 at the end of the season,” Orgeron said. “That is the goal of this football team. We have a ways to go and we have to get better and we know that.”