LSU Eliminates Arkansas From Title Contention

In a battle to stay alive in the Southeastern Conference Western Division race, LSU overcame all No. 24 Arkansas could throw (and run) their way in a 41-38 victory on Friday afternoon in Tiger Stadium. LSU now faces Auburn on Dec. 1 to decide who will represent the West in the SEC Championship game.

LSU (7-3, 4-3 SEC) beat its first ranked opponent of the season to move within a game of Auburn, while Arkansas ended its regular season at 7-4 overall and 4-4 in SEC play.

Overcoming a career-high four interceptions, LSU quarterback Rohan Davey stepped up when called upon to tally three touchdowns on 19-of-33 passing for 359 yards. LaBrandon Toefield rushed 30 times -- the most since Kevin Faulk ran 31 times for 108 yards against Notre Dame in 1998 -- for 173 yards and broke the LSU single-season rushing touchdowns record with three scores, giving him 18 in 2001.

Josh Reed also earned his place in the record books, breaking the SEC and LSU single-season receiving yards mark with 1,494 -- surpassing Wendell Davis at LSU and Florida's Travis McGriff (1,357) in the SEC -- as well as setting LSU's career mark (2,755) and tying the LSU single-season receptions mark at 80. Reed also moved into fourth in the SEC career receiving yards list and 14th in SEC career receptions.

The teams combined for 930 yards of total offense -- 518 by LSU and 412 by Arkansas -- while Arkansas had a five-minute advantage in time of possession.

The Tigers struck fast against the Razorbacks, taking only three plays from scrimmage before LaBrandon Toefield sprinted 62 yards on second-and-10 to give LSU a 7-0 lead with 13:32 remaining in the first quarter. Toefield cut through a gaping hole in the right side of the LSU offensive line and sprinted past four Razorback defenders to pay-dirt.

On the second play of the drive, Josh Reed picked up his 74th reception of the season to move him into a tie for 11th on the SEC all-time single-season list.

Arkansas took advantage of excellent field position to tie the game on its next possession, as the Hogs drove 53 yards on nine plays after 47-yard kickoff return by Decori Birmingham. Quarterback Matt Jones scored from 3-yards out around the left side.

The Hogs once again took possession in LSU territory after a Davey interception, but this time the defense responded and gave the ball back to the offense on downs.

However, Davey was once again intercepted when Bo Mosley dove in front of Reed and made a spectacular catch on the ground to give the Hogs the ball on the LSU 48.

The LSU defense was unable to stop Arkansas on third-and-7 at the 35, giving up a 22-yard run by Cedric Cobbs down to the 13. After an Arkansas timeout, Jones ran 3 yards to the 10 and tight end Jim Peters dropped a pass from Zak Clark at the 3 to force a 27-yard field goal attempt by Brennan O'Donohoe. It was good and Arkansas led 10-7 with 59.9 seconds left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing drive, a block in the back penalty on the kickoff return forced LSU to start its drive form the 7-yard line. After a first-down run by Toefield, Davey was nearly intercepted again on second down before connecting with Jerel Myers for 14 yards to the 36-yard line. Toefield earned his second first-down rush of the possession on a well called draw against the Arkansas blitz, moving the ball to midfield. On third-and-7 from the Arkansas 46, Michael Clayton reached back and caught a one-handed pass to set up fourth-and-1. Toefield's run was stopped by about one foot and Arkansas took over on downs at their own 40.

Arkansas miffed the LSU defensive line when Jones handed the ball off, took it back and then ran 54 yards down the left sideline to set up first-and-goal at the LSU 6. LSU's defense then stiffened and forced a field goal attempt which was good from 20 yards out. Arkansas led 13-7 with 8:56 remaining the the first half.

The Tigers continued to be plagued by poor timing on passes and penalties, but relied on Toefield for yardage. On second-and-20, the sophomore went over 100 yards for the third time this season with a 26-yard sprint down the right sideline, aided by a great block by Clayton. However, two attempts to throw over the Arkansas secondary went too deep and LSU was forced to punt with 7:04 remaining in the half. Donnie Jones punted 42 yards and the Razorbacks took over at their own 22.

Heavy pressure by the defensive line after a well defended quarterback draw gave LSU the ball back at its 21-yard line with 4:57 to play in the half. Once again a penalty thwarted a long play for the Tigers, this a punt return by Domanick Davis.

A screen to Toefield was blocked well by lineman Stephen Peterman for 22 yards to the 46, setting up a 30-yard catch and run from Davey to Reed to the Arkansas 28. A pair of penalties on the Razorbacks on one play gave the Tigers first-and-goal at the 9. Toefield then tied the LSU record for single-season rushing touchdowns with a hard-nosed run over right tackle to tie the game at 13-13. The PAT by John Corbello gave LSU a 14-13 lead with 3:24 left to play in the half.

LSU forced Arkansas to punt deep in its territory, giving the Tigers another chance to score with good field position --their own 36 -- and plenty of time -- 2:34. However, on the second play, a quick snap by Davey went over his shoulder and was recovered by Arkansas at the LSU 31.

Two plays later, Arkansas took a 19-14 lead with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Richard Smith. The two-point conversion attempt was dropped in the endzone.

Since the Arkansas drive only took 31 seconds, LSU was able to enter its two-minute offense with 1:14 remaining. Using only 23 seconds to drive 68 yards, Davey hit Reed on back-to-back plays of 33 and 20 yards to give LSU a 20-19 halftime lead. The two-point conversion attempt sailed over the head of Clayton.

On his third catch of the game, Reed broke Travis McGriff's SEC single-season record for receiving yards with 1,383. He also moved into second in LSU history in career receiving yards with 2,644. His 20-yard touchdown reception was the 150th catch of his career and his 15th touchdown.

To start the second half, the LSU defense came up with a three-and-out stop and LSU took over at its own 8 after an illegal block. Toefield dropped a pass on third-and-8 from the 28 leading to a 56-yard punt by Jones that was muffed out of bounds at the Arkansas 16. Another three-and-out netted only three yards and LSU took over at their 38.

On third-and-7 from his own 40, Davey dropped back and found Clayton who had sprinted past Ahmad Carroll for a 60-yard touchdown. The pass moved Davey ahead of Josh Booty into sixth place on the LSU career passing list with 3,957 yards.

Arkansas again went three-and-out but was successful on a fake punt that kept the drive alive. Three plays later and 12 yards behind the original line of scrimmage, Jones found Sparky Hamilton down the middle of the field for a 61-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful and LSU led 27-25 with 3:49 left in the third quarter.

Another interception by Davey gave the Razorbacks the ball deep in LSU territory at the 37-yard line. On third-and-8 from the LSU 15, Jones tried to force a ball while being sacked. The ball floated into LSU defensive end Kenderick Allen's left hand for his first career interception and Arkansas' first turnover of the game.

To start the fourth quarter, Davey was intercepted when a pass intended for Reed was caught by a defender, popped up in the air by after a collision with Reed and the caught by Arkansas' Carroll. Carroll ran the ball back 43 yards to the LSU 41.

The LSU defense was again called upon to stop the Razorbacks after a turnover. And stop they did. The Tigers forced a third-and-9 and tackled Cobbs 4-yards behind the line to set up a 43-yard field goal attempt. O'Donohoe's attempt careened off the right post and fell away.

This time, the LSU offense capitalized big time. Davey completed a third-and-2 pass to tight end Robert Royal for 27 yards to the Arkansas 38. After a Toefield rush went nowhere, Davey took a hit a he connected with Reed in stride for a 38-yard over-the-shoulder touchdown catch on a post pattern. The PAT gave LSU a 34-25 lead with 9:09 remaining in the game.

The Tigers put another nail in Arkansas' coffin when safety Ryan Clark intercepted Jones at the Arkansas 23-yard line, setting up a 23-yard run up the gut by Toefield for a 41-25 lead and his third score of the game.

The Razorbacks answered with a 80-yard, six-play drive that took only 1:43 when Clark connected with George Wilson for an 11-yard touchdown. LSU led 41-31 with 6:29 to play in the game.

LSU sacrificed field position when Davis attempted to run a ball out of the endzone and only got back to the 7-yard line. On third-and-10 from the 7, Davey threw over two Arkansas defenders into the waiting arms of Reed. Reed's 22-yard reception to the 30 gave him the LSU career receiving yards record with 2,724 yards and moved him into a tie for second with Eric Martin on the single-season receptions list with 79.

Arkansas forced LSU to punt and drove the ball to the LSU 27 with 2:38 remaining in the game. Eleven seconds later, Arkansas cut the lead to three, 41-38, on a 15-yard pass from Jones to Hamilton in to corner of the endzone.

LSU took over at the 20 with 2:21 left to play. On second-and-8, Arkansas was flagged for pass interference against Reed, giving the Tigers first-and-10 at their own 36. Arkansas called its second and third timeouts of the half with 1:30 and 1:35 left to play, setting up third-and-13 from the LSU 33. In the clutch, Davey hit Reed over three defenders for 31 yards and the win. His 80th catch tied Reed for the LSU single-season record.


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