Led by a 206-yard, three touchdown performance by All-American tailback and Heisman Trophy candidate Darren McFadden, unranked Arkansas methodically closed the door on LSU's national championship hopes by beating the Tigers 50-48 in front of 92,606 cold and eventually emotionally chilled fans.
The loss dropped the SEC Western Division Champion Tigers to 10-2 overall, 6-2 in conference play.
The Razorbacks rushing attack, ranked first in the SEC and fourth nationally, laid claim to the Tiger Stadium turf amassing 385 yards against the once-stingy LSU defense.
He was very capably joined in the rushing onslaught by Felix Jones, who rushed for 85 yards on nine carries and the game-winning two-point conversion and Peyton Hillis, who contributed 89 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. Hillis also caught five passes for 62 yards and two more touchdowns. In all, the Razorbacks piled up 513 total yards.
LSU countered with exactly 100 yards less after finishing the first half with a paltry 95 yards and at least two missed scoring chances. Tigers tailback Jacob Hester turned in another warrior-like effort, gaining 126 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns in his final game in Tiger Stadium.
Senior quarterback Matt Flynn exited Tiger Stadium for the last time as well, finishing the game with 22 completions in 47 attempts for 209 yards and three touchdowns after completing just 7-of-22 in the first half.
With his team trailing 28-21 and the game clock ticking down close to 1:00 to play on 4th-and-goal at the 2-yard line, Flynn scored what appeared to be the game-tying touchdown on a scramble through the Razorback defense. But, the play was for naught as the officials blew it dead after allowing
Flynn tried to find Byrd again in the same endzone at the end of the game to tie the score on the required two-point try in the third overtime, but his pass was intercepted by corner back Matterral Richardson allowing the Hogs to charge the field in celebration.
Byrd hauled in two touchdowns, six passes in all for 46 yards. Senior Early Doucet caught seven passes for 53 yards to lead all receivers.
The loss ended LSU's 19-game winning streak in Tiger Stadium, 19-game winning streak in the month of November, and likely the Tigers' chances at a second National Championship in five seasons.
LSU scored the overtime's first touchdown when Flynn dashed through the Razorback defense on the third play of the possession to make the score 35-28 after the point after kick by David.
The path to the Razorback's next score was much smoother as Jones carried the ball 13 yards on play one, then McFadden carried the ball nine yards on play two for the touchdown giving
LSU responded with a five-play drive that tied the score again. Hester claimed the final two yards of the possession, diving through the
The Razorbacks' counter punched with a six-play drive from the 25 that was capped by a 3-yard body-blow run by Hillis. Jones picked up the rule-required two-point conversion on the next play. LSU's Brandon LaFell scored three plays later on a 9-yard pass from Flynn, but the two-point try failed on the interception and ended the contest.
McFadden was uncharacteristically mistake prone early in the game, fumbling three times in the opening quarter, losing one. The one was on the opening kickoff and gave LSU a chance to take a 3-0 lead less than two minutes into the contest on a 32-yard field goal by David.
LSU's second drive was about three minutes and 30 yards longer than its first but the result was the same. The Tigers took over at their 27 and drove 41 yards in 11 plays to the
Defensive stands by the Tigers combined with two very poor punts by Jeremy Davis allowed LSU to start its next two drives near midfield. But, the Tiger offense was anemic as well and the two advantageous starting points led to no points on the scoreboard.
LSU pinned the Razorbacks inside the 5-yard line for the start of
McFadden stung the Tigers again from the quarterback position early in the second half. After LSU failed to pick up two first downs on the opening possession of the first half, the Razorbacks claimed possession at their 20-yard line. Five-plays later, McFadden carried a 2nd-down-and-14 run around the left side if the LSU defense 73 yards into the north endzone, giving Arkansas a 14-6 lead with 9:49 to play in the third quarter.
But LSU responded immediately, sparked by a 33-yard return of the ensuing kickoff by Chad Jones. Flynn completed passes on the drive's first three plays, giving Hester the chance to score LSU's first touchdown of the game on the drive's eighth. Hester slammed through two linebackers and a safety on a 12-yard hammer run into the south endzone with 7:48 remaining in the third quarter.
A pass interference call against
The score didn't stay tied for long though, as
LSU bounced back quickly again though, driving 75 yards over the next 3:18 to tie the score 21-21 on a seven yard pass from Flynn to Byrd. Flynn completed a screen pass to tailback Charles Scott for 21 yards on the drive's sixth play then Keiland Williams contributed a 24-yard run three plays later to give the Tigers the scoring chance.
The Tigers appeared to score the go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter when Flynn delivered a 54-yard pass to Hester behind the Razorback defense. But, the play was called back on an ineligible player downfield penalty. Two plays later, LSU was forced to punt, giving
McFadden and Jones teamed up to trounce the Tigers again on the ensuing possession. Jones carried the ball 30 yards on an end around on the third play of the drive. Three plays later, McFadden faked the run then stepped back and delivered a pass to Hillis who was running alone just short of the goal line. The 24-yard touchdown pass gave the Razorbacks a 28-21 lead after the extra point with 5:06 remaining.
LSU returns to action on Satuday, Dec. 1, when the Tigers travel to