Predicting a blowout in this year’s Arkansas vs LSU game isn’t exactly a bold pick.
After all, the No. 12 Tigers are 17.5-point favorites on BetSaracen after crushing Mississippi State in their SEC opener last week, while the Razorbacks shot themselves in the foot numerous times in a home loss to BYU.
Throw in the fact that it’s a night game at Death Valley, with a 6 p.m. CT kickoff on ESPN, and it’s not particularly newsworthy that former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said he could see LSU running away with a 35-10 win during an episode on the Snaps YouTube channel with Louisiana radio personality T-Bob Hebert.
However, some of their reasoning may have been questionable.
Murray fairly pointed out that Arkansas’ wide receivers — particularly those who transferred in from lower levels of college football — have struggled to get separation and may not be ready for the size and speed of the SEC, as this is the Razorbacks’ conference opener.
Hebert – who also hosts a daily show on ESPN Radio Baton Rouge – mentioned seeing Arkansas’ offensive line getting beat badly last week against BYU, especially late in the game, and said Harold Perkins could shine much like he did in last year’s Arkansas vs LSU game. Offensive line issues have certainly been a topic of discussion early on this season.
Unfair Criticism of the Hogs?
Those are all fair points, but Hebert was also critical of the Razorbacks’ defensive line, which has been on of the bright spots through the first three weeks of the season.
“I come away deeply unimpressed with Arkansas’ D-Line,” Hebert said. “Arkansas’ D-line looks big, but entirely ineffective. … I do feel like the D-line is a little bad. They just can’t get pressure.”
Entering Saturday’s game, Arkansas has an 82.6 pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus. Granted it hasn’t been against the best competition, but that is the top mark in the SEC and ranks sixth in the FBS.
In more traditional stats, the Razorbacks are averaging 4 sacks and 10 tackles for loss per game — figures that are tied for eighth and tied for third nationally, respectively.
Hebert also said Arkansas’ running backs were “very slow and kind of un-dynamic looking” against BYU. Perhaps that is true of Dominique Johnson, as he has seemed a step slower since returning from two ACL injuries, and maybe even Rashod Dubinion, as he’s struggled with reading blocks, but it definitely isn’t the case with AJ Green.
The junior from Tulsa, Okla., is known for his speed and showed it off on the fourth play of the game against the Cougars, topping 21 mph as he sprinted down the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown.
Through three games, Green has 190 yards on 28 carries for a 6.8-yard average. Even without the long touchdown, he’s averaged a respectable 5.0 yards per carry this season.
Whether or not Green or the defensive line make Murray and Hebert eat their words remains to be seen, but they have been better than they were given credit for this week.
Follow along below for live updates from the Arkansas vs LSU showdown…
Here’s the full clip of Aaron Murray and T-Bob Hebert breaking down the Arkansas vs LSU matchup:
LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs LSU
According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, LSU will be without starting linebacker Omar Speights vs. Arkansas because of a hip flexor injury. He was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection at Oregon State last year.
The Tigers will be wearing “3” stickers on their helmets in honor of defensive back Greg Brooks Jr., who had a brain tumor removed last week. He began his career with the Razorbacks.
Arkansas running back Rocket Sanders did not make the trip to Baton Rouge, so he’ll miss his third straight game with a knee injury. That means AJ Green will likely start, with Rashod Dubinion and Dominique Johnson also available. Freshman Isaiah Augusta also made the trip.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is in the house for Arkansas vs LSU. So are Paul Skenes and Olivia Dunne.
LSU won the coin toss and deferred. That means Arkansas will receive the game’s opening kickoff.
5:56, 1Q – Arkansas 3, LSU 0
Arkansas converted a couple of third downs on a long drive that got inside the 1, but a false start by Joshua Braun on third-and-goal backed it up and led it it settling for a 23-yard field goal by Cam Little. The big play on the drive was a 25-yard scramble by Jefferson to move the chains on third-and-10.
END of 1Q – Arkansas 3, LSU 0
6:33, 2Q – Arkansas 6, LSU 0
The Razorbacks put together another long drive, but it once again stalled out deep in the red zone. Little’s 23-yard field goal makes it 6-0.
4:02, 2Q – Arkansas 6, LSU 3
A 41-yard run by Josh Williams, plus a horse-collar tackle penalty on Alfahiym Walcott, set the Tigers up inside the 10, but their drive stalled out. They had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Damian Ramos.
0:48, 2Q – Arkansas 13, LSU 3
Despite having an LSU defensive back draped all over him, Tyrone Broden made a tremendous catch in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. It was ruled incomplete on the field, but overturned after a replay review.
0:30, 2Q – Arkansas 13, LSU 10
LSU needed just three plays and 18 seconds to cover 75 yards, with Jayden Daniels hitting Brian Thomas Jr. for a 49-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a late touchdown.
HALF – Arkansas 13, LSU 10
14:00, 3Q – LSU 17, Arkansas 13
Once again, it took LSU just three plays to cover 75 yards. This drive also ended with a 49-yard touchdown pass from Daniels to Thomas. It came on a free play and there appeared to be miscommunication in the Arkansas secondary.
5:44, 3Q – LSU 17, Arkansas 16
The Razorbacks’ drive stalled in the red zone again, but Sam Pittman dialed up a fake field goal and Max Fletcher ran for the first down. However, back-to-back sacks led to Arkansas kicking the field goal anyways. Little’s 40-yard kick pulled the Hogs within one.
1:40, 3Q – LSU 24, Arkansas 16
LSU went right down the field against Arkansas’ defense, doing most of the damage on the ground. It was capped by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Daniels to Nabers, who was wide open.
END of 3Q – LSU 24, Arkansas 16
14:11, 4Q – Arkansas 24, LSU 24
KJ Jefferson did an excellent job of extending a play and keeping his eyes down the field, where he found Luke Hasz wide open for a 59-yard touchdown. A false start backed the Razorbacks up on the two-point conversion, but Jefferson hit Hasz again to convert it and tie the game at 24-24.
9:43, 4Q – LSU 31, Arkansas 24
Aided by an offsides penalty that moved the chains on third down, LSU regains the lead on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Daniels to Nabers, who beat Jaheim Singletary.
5:06, 4Q – Arkansas 31, LSU 31
Given a second chance thanks to a roughing the passer penalty on Harold Perkins, Arkansas gets in the end zone with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jefferson to Hasz, who somehow got lost again.
0:05, 4Q – LSU 34, Arkansas 31
LSU marched right down the field and, instead of letting them score, the Razorbacks stopped the Tigers and allowed them to run the clock all the way down, leaving no time for the offense to respond. The 20-yard field goal by Ramos is the game-winner.
FINAL – LSU 34, Arkansas 31
KJ Jefferson’s Hail Mary attempt was intercepted well short of the goal line.
How to Watch Arkansas vs LSU
Date: Saturday, Sept. 23
Location: Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)
Kickoff Time and TV Schedule: 6 p.m. CT (ESPN)
Announcers: Chris Fowler (play-by-play), Kirk Herbstreit (analyst), Holly Rowe (reporter)
Arkansas’ Rankings: NR (AP) | RV (Coaches) | No. 33 (SP+) | No. 42 (FPI)
ESPN FPI: LSU has an 88.4% chance to win
SP+ Projection: LSU has a 74% chance to win, favored by 11.0 (proj. score: 35-24)
Odds/Betting Line: LSU, -17.5 | O/U 54.5 (BetSaracen)
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