Tyrann Mathieu: Was the LSU Cornerback's Performance Against Arkansas His Best?

John BainCorrespondent IINovember 25, 2011

Tyrann Mathieu returns a punt 92-yards for a TD against the Arkansas Razorbacks 11/25/11
Tyrann Mathieu returns a punt 92-yards for a TD against the Arkansas Razorbacks 11/25/11Chris Graythen/Getty Images

LSU Tigers cornerback Tyrann Mathieu aka "The Honey Badger" had an absolutely tremendous effort against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday afternoon. His performance could easily be his best of the season or even his young career. With seven tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and a mammoth 92-yard punt return for a touchdown, Mathieu absolutely dominated the 41-17 rout.

The pressure on the Tigers to win this game was huge as a victory won them a SEC West division title and a date in the SEC Championship game December 3 vs. Georgia at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Had Mathieu not made the plays he did, the Tigers could just as easily have lost the game as they could have won it. 

His 92-yard punt return for a touchdown was the turning point in the game as it tied things up at 14 after the Tigers trailed the Razorbacks by two scores late in the first half. This play shifted momentum to the Tigers and they didn't look back.

In addition to his fantastic special-teams play, Mathieu forced two fumbles and returned to what he is known for—being a ball hawk. Every time Mathieu is near the football he tries to make it his, and he did just that in this game.

Usually Mathieu is also a menace in the passing game, but due to the Tigers' dominance of the Hogs offensive line and pressure on Tyler Wilson, the pass game was a non-factor in the game, and Mathieu's ball awareness was not needed.

If the Heisman race wasn't so tight among offensive players this year, and if Mathieu didn't miss a game due to suspension, there is no doubt that he would be a front-runner. One could argue that the Honey Badger is among the best athletes, if not the best, in college football today. If you threw him on offense he could probably do some damage.

Mathieu is terrifying out there when he is in the zone, and the Arkansas game could very well be his best game of the season—if not that, then it was the game he impacted on an individual level the most.

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John Bain is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist.

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