OFFENSE: Balanced attack serves Tigers well

It was a combined effort that granted No. 8 LSU a victory in Little Rock against No. 5 Arkansas.

Special teams came up with a huge score on a Trindon Holliday 92-yard kickoff return.  

 

Although the defense allowed 26 points, it held the Razorbacks on its final possession of the game – four straight passing plays – and set up a fourth quarter touchdown with a LaRon Landry inception return for 23 yards to the 9-yard line. And the offense managed its highest point total on the road this season, putting up 36 points.

 

Everyone contributed in the Tigers' win, especially the offense.

 

"This is a tremendous victory," LSU head coach Les Miles said. "Arkansas has a really good football team. It took a special effort today. It's hard to prepare for what Arkansas has to offer." 

 

JaMarcus Russell didn't put up his most impressive numbers of the season, but he did do just enough to get by. The junior slinger completed all his passes in the first quarter and went into halftime completing nine of 10 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown.  

 

The Arkansas defense stiffened up in the second half and forced a few incompletions, but Russell was able to convert key first downs and keep drives alive. For the day, Russell finished with 210 yards passing, completing 14-of-22 for two touchdowns and no interceptions.

 

The story for the offense was missed opportunities. Throughout the season at Auburn, Florida and even Tennessee, the LSU offense had their chances to put points on the board but failed to do so. Missed opportunities have resulted in two road losses and cost the Tigers a trip to Atlanta for the Southeastern Conference Championship.

 

In Little Rock, LSU's missed opportunities began with a Russell fumble on the Arkansas 49-yard line. With Russell and his squad driving late in the second quarter, LSU opted on third-and-1 for a quarterback sneak up the middle for the first down. Russell earned the first down and more but was stripped of the ball before he was down.          

 

The fumble ended a 31-yard drive.

 

In the second half with LSU leading 14-12, Russell and his squad moved downfield with a series of runs that saw tailback Alley Broussard bruising his way into Arkansas territory. The Tigers found themselves on the 10-yard line with first-and-goal, but they could not put the ball in the end zone.

 

Cold David kicked the 27-yard field goal, and LSU increased their lead 17-12.

 

The LSU defense forced Arkansas into a three-and-out on their opening possession of the second half, and LSU began to drive down the field. A combination of Jacob Hester and Broussard moved the Tigers downfield 68 yards until Broussard fumbled on a 9-yard gain at the Arkansas 26-yard line.

 

The Tigers wasted at least three points on the fumble.

 

Both fumbles proved costly for the Tigers, and both handed back the momentum to the Razorbacks.

 

"This is a very proud win for me personally," Russell said. "We faced adversity the whole game and were able to overcome it and get the victory … The fumbles came at bad times, but we were able to keep our composure and win the game."

 

On the day, the Tigers played perhaps their finest road game of the year with 328 total yards of offense. Russell and his arm played an important part, adding 210 yards through the air, but it was the rushing attack that added balance with 118 yards.

 

"This is a game I look forward to every year, so it feels great for me," center Brett Helms said. "They mixed it around a lot and didn't key in on one thing. We adjusted a lot and we did well. We ran very well."

 

Dwayne Bowe led all receivers with five receptions for 68 yards but never found the end zone. Craig "Buster" Davis did find the end zone on a 47-yard touchdown pass that sent him twisting and turning through Arkansas territory. He finished with three receptions for 72 yards.

 

Doucet finished with just one reception for seven yards, but he scored on the play where he had to wrestle the defender for the ball in the back of the end zone for six points in the fourth quarter.

 

"The touchdown play was something we had worked on all week in practice, and we found a good time to use it," Doucet said. "JaMarcus threw a perfect ball to me, and I went up and made the catch. I had possession the whole time, but when me and the defender came down, he tried to wrestle the ball away from me."

 

On the ground, youngster Keiland Williams led the Tiger backs with 68 yards on 13 carries, including a 29-yard touchdown run. He was followed by Broussard with 37 yards on eight carries and Jacob Hester with 18 yards on six carries. 


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