Nate Allen Sports
FAYETTEVILLE – LSU’s nationally No. 7 Tigers held Arkansas to 16 net rushing yards yet still had to fight to the finish holding off the surprisingly resilient Razorbacks, 24-17 before 48,950 weathering 36 chilling degrees Saturday night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Arkansas was down 14-0 before finishing the first half down 14-3 and trailed 24-3 from 3:12 left in the third quarter until Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey and tight end Cheyenne O’Grady connected for 11 and 32-yard touchdown passes at 12:37 and 5:27 of the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for Arkansas, O’Grady’s touchdown dance celebrating his second score drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty forcing the Razorbacks to kick off from their 20.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire returned the ensuing kickoff from his 16 to the LSU 41. And after LSU quarterback Joe Burrow completed a 14-yard pass on third and six to the Arkansas 41, the Tigers played keep away driving the ball to the Arkansas one at the game’s end.
So the ordeal continues for Arkansas and first-year Coach Chad Morris with the Razorbacks 2-8 overall/ 0-6 in the SEC West after their Fayetteville farewell. They finishing on the SEC road next Saturday at Mississippi State and the Nov. 23 day after Thanksgiving at Missouri.
Coach Ed Orgeron’s Tigers, 8-2, 5-2 in the SEC, host Rice in a nonconference game next Saturday in Baton Rouge, La. and finish with a Nov. 24 SEC game at Texas A&M.
“ I thought our team fought hard,” Morris said. “There was no quit. We got within a score and we just needed one more stop but we just couldn’t find a way to get that ball back.”
Given the game’s first three quarters and their inability to run the ball, it amazed they came that close.
“We knew LSU has an elite defense,” Morris said. “And they definitely showed that. We couldn’t run the football. We were poor on first down. I think we averaged two yards on first down. And we were 2 of 12 on third down. That’s difficult to move the football when those two areas aren’t in sync.”
Yet but for Burrow finding receiver Justin Jefferson (6 catches for 117 yards) ahead of safety Kamren Curl for a 40-yard first-quarter touchdown, it’s a 0-0 first quarter.
And but for a controversial borderline targeting, game-ejecting targeting call on Arkansas defensive end Michael Taylor, turning a second and 17 sack into a LSU first down at the Arkansas 14, the Tigers likely don’t get Nick Brosette’s 12-yard touchdown run for the 14-0 lead capping a 14-play, 77-yard drive at 7:24 of the second quarter.
Arkansas trailed 14-0 and had not advanced beyond its first half 41 until a freakish two turns of events set up Connor Limpert’s 24-yard field goal with the attempt snapped one second before halftime.
Arkansas had forced a LSU punt and benefitted from two LSU penalties, an illegal block and a dead ball unsportsmanlike conduct setting the Hogs up at their 36 with 39 seconds.
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