Richardson Comes Up Big In Clutch

BATON ROUGE, La. -- When Arkansas cornerback Matterral Richardson lined up opposite LSU receiver Demetrius Byrd Friday night, one thought kept running through the senior's head -- anything but a slant.

"They had been running slants all night," he said. "He scored two touchdowns on slants. I was like, 'Man, he can run anything but a slant. I'm not going to let him run a slant. He can run a fade. He can run anything. But he's not going to run a slant."

Richardson intercepted LSU quarterback Matt Flynn's two-point pass intended for Byrd -- which came on a slant route -- to wrap the Razorbacks' 50-48 win in three overtimes against the top-ranked Tigers. It ended a night in which the Razorbacks surrendered 413 yards to one of the nation's top-ranked offenses, but accomplished the one that has plagued them all season.

They finally made a game-winning play.

"It came at a great time," Richardson said.

Especially since Richardson was part of a secondary that had been criticized by defensive coordinator Reggie Herring all week because of Arkansas' last outing against Mississippi State. The Razorbacks surrendered 421 passing yards to the run-oriented Bulldogs, most of which came on big plays and easy scores in the 45-31 win.

Herring told Arkansas all week it couldn't give up cheap, easy scores against the Tigers or else the Razorbacks had no chance. They listened. The longest play Arkansas gave up Friday was a 35-yard pass.

"They made LSU go the long way," Herring said. "I said if we do that with any team we play, we'll have a chance to win as long as we don't give up cheap stuff. At the end, that's exactly what happened."

The last stop will be remembered as the game-winner, but Herring said the Razorbacks were in position to win because of the work they did earlier in the game.

Arkansas found itself in a precarious situation after Darren McFadden fumbled on the opening kickoff. The Hogs gave up chunks of yards on LSU's second drive, too. But each time, the Tigers settled for field goals and a 6-0 lead.

"The game could've got out of hand in the first half," Herring said. "It was critical the way our guys played the first half to give ourselves a chance and give ourselves a chance for our offense to get going in the second half."

Herring said the Razorbacks knew they would get hit with an LSU onslaught after halftime and tried to hold on.

The Tigers tied the game three times in the second half, including Byrd's 2-yard touchdown catch from Flynn on a slant route with 57 seconds left in regulation. They also scored touchdowns on all three possessions in overtime.

"Thank God that our offense did the same thing in the second half," Herring said. "Then it just became a slug fest and it was who was going to wear who out by the end. Who had anything left?"

Herring urged the Razorbacks to come up with one play and the game would be over in overtime. He also cautioned his defensive backs that LSU was having success on slant routes, so be ready for another one.

Obviously, Richardson was paying attention.

"After I caught the ball I was like, 'It's over with,'" Richardson said.

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