Arkansas' bid for a five game winning streak was denied by the no. 15 LSU Tigers last night. The Hogs started off slowly, with Mallet throwing his seventh pick of the year on Arkansas' first possession. With LSU up 10-3, Trindon Holliday, scampered 87 yards for a touchdown on a punt return, it looked as though the Hogs were in for a long night at the mercy of the Tigers. Going in at the half the scoreboard read LSU 17 ARK 6. Something Coach Bobby Petrino said in the locker room got the attention of the down but not quite out Razorbacks, combined with some adjustments from Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson, the Hogs came out for the second half firing on all cylinders. By the end of the third quarter Arkansas had closed in on LSU 24-20.
The fourth quarter became the hard-hitting SEC west battle we knew it would be, highlighted by a helmet to helmet hit by LSU safety Chad Jones on Arkansas wide out Joe Adams,the same LSU safety Chad Jones, who in last years Battle for the Boot became dislodged from the turf by Arkansas' senior quarterback Casey Dick. Unfortunately for LSU fans, Arkansas wide out Joe Adams has dealt with adversity this year coming back in just three weeks from a mild stroke, a little helmet to helmet hit was nothing. Two plays later Joe Adams caught the go ahead touchdown pass to put the Hogs up 30-27 with 1:18 left in the fourth quarter.
With the Hogs up 30-27 and 1:18 left on the clock, Coach Petrino decided to keep the ball out of Trindon Holliday's hands and squib kick. At this point in the contest all the weight fell directly on the shoulders of the Arkansas defense. A defense that has been hit and miss all year long. The Arkansas defensive line put pressure on LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, sacking him for a five yard loss on first down, but from there the Hogs went into bend but don't break mode. Arkansas bent all the way to their 24 yard line, setting up a 41 yard field goal attempt for Josh Jasper. With nine seconds Jasper split the up rights to tie the ball game at 30.
In the first overtime Arkansas' defense was bound and determined to keep LSU out of the endzone. And the suspect Hog defense did exactly that. However Josh Jasper came on to boot a 36 yard field goal to put LSU up 33-30. On Arkansas' overtime possession the Hogs stumbled on offense and set up Alex Tejada with a 36 yard try. In yet another key moment in Arkansas' season, Alex Tejada missed. Earlier in the season, Tejada missed two field goals against no. 1 Florida that would have given the Hogs the lead late in the game, a game that due to missed field goals and poor officiating, the Hogs lost, 23-20. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Ryan Mallet took the blame for the Hogs loss saying, "We started too slow on offense, I take full responsibility for that. We can't start like that against a decent team."
When all was said and done, Mallet finished 17 of 39 for 227 yards one touchdown and one interception. I said earlier in the week the only way LSU would beat Arkansas is by putting pressure on Mallet. The Tigers sacked Mallet three times, and gave him different looks with zone and man blitz packages. Sitting a (7-5),( 3-5) the Hogs have just the waiting game left to see where fate will send them bowling. The best bet would be the Autozone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, TN against the Conference USA champion. The obvious bet would be Houston (10-2), barring a slip up against East Carolina (8-4) in the Conference USA championship game. But if I was a betting man, I would be all in on the red hot Houston Cougars coming off a 73-14 slaughter of Rice.