Hogs Slop Over Tigers, 14-3

Quinton Caver's interception return for a touchdown on LSU's first offensive play was all the Arkansas defense would need in a 14-3 thumping in the SEC regular season finale for both teams. The Hogs became bowl eligible with their sixth triumph, but must now wait to see if there are any takers.

Tailback Brandon Holmes rushed a school record 42 times for 143 yards to help the Hogs maintain the field position edge their defense needed. The freshman from Atlanta, Ga., gave the Hogs insurance with an 11-yard TD run with 12:47 left in the game.
 
LSU made just one first down in the second half and only 149 total yards for the game. Quarterback Josh Booty completed only one of his 19 passes in the second half, that one for just 5 yards. Arkansas won it on a sloppy day with perfect execution. The Hogs did not commit a turnover and really didn't come close to one.
 
Arkansas coach Houston Nutt had hoped for a wet field. He got his wish. Steady rains hit Little Rock all day Wednesday and Thursday and intensified Thursday morning. Water was standing in one corner of the north end zone where the Hogs entered the field. Game time temperatures were in the high 40s. Attendance (43,982) was better than expected in all areas except the three student sections. Only a few students braved the elements. Sections 39 and 40 were empty. Section 1, the other student area, had around 40 students.
 
The Hogs got a first down on their first possession, then took the lead on LSU's first play from scrimmage. The Hogs came to the line with Curt Davis in a stand-up middle linebacker spot, and no down linemen aside from their two ends. Quinton Caver, usually the middle backer, floated into the flat to pick off Josh Booty and ramble 33 yards for a touchdown. It was 7-0 Hogs at 12:08 of the first quarter. Domanick Davis returned a short kickoff 35 yards to the UA 45-yard line.
 
The Tigers took advantage of a questionable pass interference penalty to march to the UA 8-yard line, where they had first and goal. They made nothing on three plays from there and settled for a 27-yard John Corbello field goal to cut the lead to 7-3 at 7:40 of the first quarter. Arkansas turned the field over with three first downs, two of them on Robby Hampton's passes to Boo Williams for 10 and 17. Brandon Holmes made 11 on the trap for the third first down.
 
Richie Butler's high 26-yard punt into the rainy north wind was downed at the 12-yard line. Booty found his tight end for a 20-yard completion to move the Tigers to midfield, but that's all they got. They punted on third-and-14 when Booty threw it away to avoid a sack by the blitzing Caver.
 
The Hogs were three and out, but pushed the Tigers back to their 14-yard line on Butler's 51-yard punt and a block-in-the-back penalty. The Hogs then killed all but the finasl 1:17 of the half with a 11-play drive which moved the ball to the LSU 38-yard line on a series of short completion from Hampton to his tight ends and Williams. LSU had to start from its 8-yard line and elected to run out the clock.
 
The second half began in an Arkansas way. LSU went three and out to open the half. Arkansas made two first downs, then Butler's 36-yard punt was downed at the LSU 2-yard line on a nice save by Derrick Johnson. The Hogs pinned them there and got the ball back at the LSU 35-yard line.
 
The Hogs marched to the 3-yard line, but Hampton was incomplete throwing into coverage in the back of the end zone for Williams. Brennan O'Donohoe's 20-yard field goal from the right hash was just wide outside the right upright with 5:28 left. Arkansas got the ball back at its 37 on D'Andre Berry's interception. The Hogs made a first down, then Butler's punt died at the LSU 3-yard line.
 
The Hog defense made it a perfect quarter, sending the Tigers three-and-out for the third straight time to end the third period. They got it back to start the fourth quarter at the LSU 43-yard line. The Hogs got a field position break when Davis fumbled Butler's high punt.
 
Jermaine Petty recovered in a scramble at the 19-yard line. But the Hogs lost 15 yards on the play when Kenny Hamlin was flagged for a celebration penalty as he high stepped to the Arkansas bench area. That pushed them back to the 34 to start the drive. The Hogs faced fourth and four at the 28.
 
After a timeout, Hampton found Richard Smith looping behind Williams' sharp slant. Smith had to slow down for Hampton's lob and the play went for 17 to the 11-yard line. Holmes rolled around his right end on the next play on the 11-yard TD run. It gave him 100 yards on 30 tough carries. It was 14-3 at 12:47 of the fourth quarter.
 
The Tigers finally began to move after taking a punt at their 36-yard line. They got their initial first down of the half on on a pair of slashes off right tackle to move the chains at midfield with 9:11 left. However, one was all the Tigers got. Booty passed incomplete on the next three passes with the Hogs dropping into nice coverage.
 
The Hogs made a first down, but Butler's 30-yard punt into the wind gave the Tigers the ball back at the LSU 46 with 5:32 to play. Booty couldn't do any better. Three incompletions made Booty 0-for-19 on the half and turned the ball over on downs to the Hogs' at the LSU 45.
 
The Hogs then ran the Tigers out of timeouts to secure a winning season. Hampton got them a first down with a bootleg on third-and-4, finding Tim Craig on a 5-yard completion.

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