PREVIEW: LSU vs. Arkansas - The Matchups

The LSU-Arkansas game in Little Rock on Friday will be played not only in front of a national audience on CBS, but also in front of a group of scouts representing some of the nation's top bowl games. Representatives from the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl, Capital One and Cotton Bowls will also attend the game. Kickoff for the contest is set for 1:42 p.m. CST Friday on CBS.

LSU rushing offense vs. Arkansas rushing defense:

Surprisingly, the Tigers are second in the SEC behind the Razorbacks in rushing offense. But watching LSU run the ball, you'd never know it. The Tigers have used as many as six different tailbacks this season and despite standout performances by freshmen Charles Scott and Keiland Williams, Les Miles has continued playing a variety of backs including Justin Vincent, Alley Broussard, Jacob Hester and Trindon Holliday. Arkansas ranks 36th in the nation against the run giving up 117 yards per game. LSU averages 163 yards on the ground. This looks pretty even.

Advantage: Even

 

 

LSU passing offense vs. Arkansas passing defense:

The Tigers have established themselves as one of the top passing offense in all of college football. There has yet to be a defense this year to even slow down LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell and his ultra-talented corps of wide receivers. Looking at the numbers, LSU ranks 20th in Division I-A throwing the football ( 247 yards per game). Arkansas on the other hand is giving up 180 ypg in the air (33rd nationally). No doubt this is LSU's strength.

Advantage: LSU

 

 

Arkansas rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense:

This is where it gets tough. Just as LSU is favored against virtually every team throwing the football, Arkansas is pretty much always going to get the nod running the ball. Darren McFadden is literally a one-man show in the Razorbacks backfield and fullback Peyton Hillis is one of the league's best blocking fullbacks. It should be the best matchup of the season in the SEC. The Tigers rank sixth in the nation against the run allowing just 74 yards per game. The Hawgs lead the SEC and are fourth in the nation in rushing offense with 230 yards per game. Mississippi State did find a solution to stopping McFadden last week. Let's see if LSU can duplicate that feat.

Advantage: Arkansas

 

 

Arkansas passing offense vs. LSU passing defense:

There is no doubt about this one. Simply put, the Razorbacks are ranked 102nd in Division I-A throwing the football. Both Mitch Mustain and Casey Dick have played significant snaps under center, but mainly it is to handoff the ball to McFadden. Marcus Monk is among the best wide receivers in the SEC with 45 catches for 859 yards and nine touchdowns. The Tigers eighth in the nation (153 ypg) against the pass and are third overall in college football in pass efficiency defense. This is an easy one.

Advantage: LSU

 

 

LSU special teams vs. Arkansas special teams:

The Tiger special teams isn't spectacular, but hasn't done anything to hurt itself since the meltdown at Florida. Colt david kicked a game-wining field goal against Ole Miss, but he had a game-winning extra point blocked at the end of regulation. Chris Jackson continues to punt the ball adequately, but it is nothing to brag about. The Hawgs are first in the SEC in kickoff returns highlighted by McFadden's 92-yard return for a score against Mississippi State. Jeremy Davis is six of 11 on field goals and Jacob Skinner is fourth in the SEC in punting average.

Advantage: Even

 

 

Intangibles:

LSU simply has to win this game to have any chance of getting a BCS bowl berth. The Tigers won ugly against Ole Miss, but they did win which is important. Arkansas is already headed to the SEC Championship with a 7-0 record in conference play. A loss wouldn't hurt the Razorbacks chances in the SEC, but it could take them out the running for a possible shot at the BCS national championship game with a win in the SEC Championship Game. The Hawgs are really, really good in Little Rock. Houston Nutt has lost just once at War Memorial Stadium, a 43-14 loss to LSU in 2004. Arkansas has to win to stay in the championship hunt. Arguably the biggest game for the Hawgs in years considering the national implications, Arkansas has everything to play for. LSU could play spoiler.

Advantage: Even


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