FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (WAFB) - LSU traveled to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas in the “Battle for the Golden Boot” and was able to take the giant trophy back to Baton Rouge.
The Tigers (3-3) edged the Razorbacks (3-5), 27-24.
TJ Finley was 27-of-42 for 271 yards and two touchdowns. Tyrion Davis-Price had 24 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. As a team, LSU rushed for a total of 148 yards. Terrace Marshall Jr. had seven catches for 57 yards. The LSU offense won the time of possession battle, 41:43 to 18:17.
The LSU secondary still gave up some big plays but the defense was able to do enough for LSU to hold on and get the win. Arkansas outgained LSU, 443 to 419. The LSU defense was able to force six 3-and-outs and Arkansas was 0-for-10 on third down. Andre Anthony had two sacks in the game.
LSU got on the board first with a 49-yard field goal by Cade York to put the Tigers up 3-0 with 7:37 remaining in the first quarter. The Arkansas offense struggled early, gaining just 23 total yards on its first three possessions.
However, the Razorbacks eventually got going behind quarterback Feleipe Franks. He hooked up with a wide open Treylon Burks for a 65-yard touchdown to put the Hogs up 7-3 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
On a fourth-and-three, LSU converted on a pass from Finley to tight end Arik Gilbert. After review, the catch was confirmed. Gilbert had five catches for 55 yards. Two plays later, Finley connected with Racey McMath for a 30-yard touchdown to put LSU up 10-7 early in the second quarter.
LSU then started having ball security problems. John Emery Jr. fumbled and an Arkansas player jumped up holding the football but after reviewing the play, the referee admitted Emery did fumble but ruled there was no “clear recovery.” LSU went for it on a fourth-and-short and Finley picked up the first down on a quarterback sneak. On the very next play, Finley completed a 20-yard pass to Marshall but he fumbled the ball and Arkansas recovered.
On the Arkansas possession, LSU cornerback Elias Ricks was flagged for targeting after a huge hit and ejected. On third-and-five, Andre Anthony sacked Franks to force the sixth punt of the game for Arkansas. Derek Stingley Jr. muffed the punt but was able to recover the ball.
The LSU offense went three-and-out on its next drive but the defense came up huge. Linebacker Jabril Cox intercepted a pass by Franks and returned it 36 yards to the 1-yard line. Cox had a pick-six against Mississippi State in the season opener. Davis-Price then easily powered into the end zone for the 1-yard touchdown run to put LSU up 17-7 with 4:21 remaining in the first half.
On the next drive for Arkansas, cornerback Jay Ward, who replaced Ricks after the ejection, gave up a long pass play and then was called for pass interference on the very next play to put Arkansas at the 10-yard line. Franks ran the ball and dove into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown run to narrow LSU’s lead to 17-14 with 3:44 left in the first half. The drive took only 1:05.
York made a 24-yard field goal at the end of the first half to give LSU a 20-14 lead.
On an Arkansas punt in the second half, Stingley returned the ball nine yards and took was described as a “knee to the helmet.” He left the game and didn’t return. During his post-game comments, head coach Ed Orgeron did not provide an update on Stingley’s injury.
On the next drive, LSU gained just 34 yards on 12 plays. The Tigers were forced to punt and the Razorback offense got going against. They went on a six-play, 96-yard drive capped off with a 1-yard touchdown run by Trelon Smith to give Arkansas the 21-20 lead with 1:04 remaining in the third quarter. The drive only took 1:30. Franks completed passes of 29 and 50 yards on the drive.
In the third quarter, LSU ran 21 plays for 54 yards and scored no points. Arkansas kicked a 22-yard field goal to go up 24-20 with 12:42 left in the fourth quarter. It was on a seven-play, 88-yard drive.
LSU then fumbled on back-to-back plays and recovered both. Finley threw a pass to Jontre Kirklin for a big gain but it was wiped out by a holding call. LSU then failed to pick up first down and had to punt. But, the LSU defense stepped up again and forced the three-and-out.
Arkansas defender Jalen Catalon was called for targeting on a hit on LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte. Catalon was ejected. The redshirt freshman had a career-high day for tackles with 16. Later, Finley moved around in the pocket, then set his feet to finds Jaray Jenkins in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown to give LSU the 27-24 lead with 3:59 left.
After making negative back-to-back plays earlier in the game, Ward redeemed himself with huge back-to-back plays late in the fourth quarter. First, he made a great hit to force an incompletion. Then, on an Arkansas 44-yard field goal attempt, he was able to tip the ball and it fell short. The Tigers held on for the 27-24 win.
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