Jarvis Landry's Stellar Game vs. Arkansas Saved LSU's Season from Embarrassment

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Jarvis Landry's Stellar Game vs. Arkansas Saved LSU's Season from Embarrassment
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Jarvis Landry is a magician wearing football pads. 

The LSU Tigers were outplayed by the Arkansas Razorbacks over Thanksgiving weekend. They were favored by more than three touchdowns over the Hogs, who were winless in the SEC.

But the Tigers prevailed 31-27.  

The LSU defense could not stop Arkansas until the critical moments of the fourth quarter. It was crucial for the offense to carry the Tigers yet again this season. 

The LSU offense did not play its sharpest. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger was off a bit with his accuracy and decision-making.

Landry forms a dynamic receiving duo with Odell Beckham Jr., but the latter left the game in the first quarter with nagging injuries.

Landry had to step up his already-high level of play with the defense focused on him. And he did so with flying colors.  

CBS
Landry stretches to make a critical first-down snag in the third quarter.

Landry's numbers do not jump off the page. He caught eight passes for 113 yards and no touchdowns. Statistically, he had better games against Ole Miss, Georgia and Auburn. 

But stats do not do justice to what Landry was able to accomplish. 

Seven of the eight Landry receptions resulted in first downs. Two of those catches converted third downs.

Landry saved his best football for the second half. His first reception of the third quarter was a ball thrown low and away near the sideline. With a receiver draped all over him, he was still able to haul in the catch. 

Landry would outdo himself three plays later on third down.

He broke open over the middle, but a Mettenberger pass sailed high. Landry was still able to snag the ball one-handed for a first down. LSU would score on a 52-yard Jeremy Hill run on the next play to give the Tigers a 21-20 lead. 

Landry single-handedly (pun-intended) set LSU up for the touchdown. The catch and Hill's run ignited a deflated Tiger Stadium. But his night of one-handed snags was not done yet.  

On LSU's second possession of the fourth quarter down 27-21, Landry caught a 13-yard pass for a first down. On the next play, Landry would make the catch of the year for the Tigers against Arkansas. 

Mettenberger floated a pass over the middle that should have been intercepted. But Landry miraculously reached around safety D.J. Dean while both fell to the turf. Unfortunately, Mettenberger would be injured after being hit legally at the knee.

The Big Lead

For the second straight season, a Landry grab against Arkansas has been LSU's catch of the year

LSU would later score a field goal on the drive.

The Tigers would take over the ball again at their own 1-yard line with quarterback Anthony Jennings. LSU needed a field goal to tie or a touchdown to win. LSU drove down into Arkansas territory thanks in part to a Landry reception. 

On 2nd-and-10 with 1:22 remaining, Landry told offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to run a play LSU had not run all season called "Tsunami." It was a hold-over play from when Greg Studrawa was offensive coordinator. 

Landry was right on the money. Both the corner and the safety on the left side of the field broke to Landry, which opened up a struggling Travin Dural for the game-winning touchdown catch. 

Genius. 

There have been some phenomenal offensive performances this season for LSU. But Landry's stands above the rest. 

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Les Miles (left) shakes hands with Bret Bielema (right) after the game.

Landry mentally and physically wore down the Arkansas secondary. By converting third downs, making miraculous catches and deceiving coverages to get others open, he demoralized a defense who had an overall solid outing on the road.

It is rare for a receiver to completely take over a football game, especially in the second half. Not only did Landry do that emphatically, he did so without Beckham Jr. early and Mettenberger late. 

LSU probably does not beat Arkansas without Landry. 

But above all else, Landry saved the narrative of the LSU season. 

The Tigers finished the regular season as a three-loss team, all of which came on the road. If LSU wins its bowl game, Miles will hit the round, mystical number of 10 wins on a season with rather low expectations

If LSU had lost to Bret Bielema's Hogs, it would be the second time Miles has lost as a favorite this season. He would have had to tell the media why his team came out flat and unprepared against the Razorbacks.

Fans would moan and complain until the bowl game, which does not happen until weeks from now. The Mettenberger fluff pieces would not have been written with the same gusto and mythology.  

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On a different note, Auburn would have lost credibility as a national-championship contender. College football fans and pundits do not have the "Auburn lost to an LSU team that lost to putrid Arkansas" argument. 

All Landry has done this season is lead LSU's passing attack in receptions, yards and touchdowns. But there is something truly magical when he plays the game that would even impress David Blaine. 

If Arkansas was the last game Landry were to ever play in Tiger Stadium, it would be a fitting end to a stellar LSU career. He is ready to be a solid contributor on Sundays at the next level. 

But Tiger fans should hope Blaine could make Landry reappear in Death Valley next season. 

Follow me on Twitter @CarterthePower. 

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