FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — On the second play from scrimmage, Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen was sacked for a 7-yard loss.
Four of LSU’s first five offensive plays of the game were rushes, picking up 22 of the 75 yards needed for the opening touchdown in what became a 38-10 Tigers rout.
Yep, a whole bunch of very familiar problems contributed to Arkansas’ fourth loss of the season Saturday inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
And it came just a week after it looked like maybe some of those issues had been solved, or at least improved.
Arkansas beat then-No. 11 Florida 31-10 on Nov. 5 behind a strong ground game on offense and a tough run defense that allowed the Gators just 12 yards. Those improvements were thought to be the result of key personnel changes, including inserting Johnny Gibson into the starting offensive line unit and McTelvin “Sosa” Agim and Randy Ramsey into the starting defense.
But after Saturday, it’s also apparent that Florida simply isn’t as talented a team as LSU.
“We had a great week of practice,” senior linebacker Brooks Ellis said after the LSU game. “We prepared well. Everybody was on the same page.
“We felt good coming into it and we just didn’t execute. That’s all it comes down to.”
In all four of Arkansas’ losses this season, the Hogs have surrendered at least 250 rushing yards.
The worst of those, of course, was the Oct. 22 Auburn loss in which Arkansas allowed 543 yards — the most ever against a Razorback defense.
But it wasn’t all that much better against LSU, which rushed for 390 yards. Leonard Fournette totaled 98 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, while his backup Derrius Guice carried the ball 21 times for 252 yards and 2 scores, including a 96-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
On the other side of the ball, Allen was sacked 3 times and the Hogs averaged just 3.4 yards per carry.
The Razorbacks are past the toughest part of their schedule and wrap up the regular season with trips to Mississippi State and Missouri.
“It’s always tough trying to come out on Saturday and get a win in the SEC West,” Allen said. “The teams we’ve played, they’re all great teams. We can’t get too high or too low after wins or losses. We’ve got to really come back tomorrow. We’ve got to play another good team in Mississippi State and try to put this one behind us as fast as we can, because we can’t let this one get us next week.”