So much for the narratives.
LSU doesn’t play well after it plays Alabama. LSU can’t run the ball against Arkansas. LSU has trouble on the road.
Nope, nope and nope. LSU proved all of those narratives wrong Saturday night, dominating Arkansas from the get-go en route to a 38-10 victory in Fayetteville, Ark. Perhaps most impressively, the Tigers did so the old-fashioned way, running for 390 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Leonard Fournette bounced back from a rough outing against Alabama to account for 98 rushing yards, 44 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, by far the most productive game against Arkansas in his career. Not to be outdone, Derrius Guice — who carried twice against Alabama last week — rushed 21 times for a career-high 252 yards and 2 touchdowns, including an 96-yard touchdown, the longest rush in LSU history.
The win was LSU’s first away from Tiger Stadium this season and, with Auburn’s loss at Georgia, the Tigers are in position to finish second in the SEC West if they win out.
Ed Orgeron: Orgeron’s first three wins as LSU’s interim coach were against weak competition. His loss to Alabama was against the best team in the country. But the game against Arkansas on Saturday night was the first game he’s coached against a competitive but beatable team. LSU came out prepared and looked competent all night, helping Orgeron’s case for becoming LSU’s full-time head coach next season.
The offensive line: After a week of shouldering the blame for the LSU loss to Alabama, an injured and constantly rotating LSU offensive line proved that last week was the outlier, not the trend. Despite injuries to guard Will Clapp and Josh Boutte, the LSU offensive line paved the way for the backs to rush for 7.6 yards per carry and didn’t allow QB Danny Etling to be sacked until late in the third quarter.
Tre’Davious White: Tre’ White has been an impenetrable wall on deep balls this year, but he sprung a leak Saturday, allowing a receiver to get behind him for a 44-yard touchdown on a third-and-22. Then, in the fourth quarter, White was called for pass interference on a ball that ended up being dropped but put Arkansas into the red zone. He also was dreadful as the punt returner, muffing a punt and returning three others for -9 yards.
D.J. Chark: What happened to LSU’s deep threat? Chark only touched the ball one time Saturday night, a rush for 6 yards on a swing pass that went backward. This was Chark’s first game without a catch since Week 1 against Arkansas and his first without at least three catches since Week 2 against Jacksonville State.
Kendell Beckwith: My goodness, can this guy hit? Beckwith posted his season low in tackles, but he came away with 2 “pass breakups,” which were really bone-shattering collisions over the middle that jarred the ball out of a receiver’s hands. He also recovered a game-sealing fumble in the end zone for a touchback with Arkansas knocking on the door. The tackles weren’t there because the Arkansas offense wasn’t on the field very long, but Beckwith still had a strong game.
Josh Growden: Punts aren’t glamorous. They aren’t even fun. But when they’re executed, they’re darn near beautiful. Growden did a spectacular job of executing his punts Saturday, averaging 47 yards per attempt, with a long of 50 and one downed on the 1-yard line to pin Arkansas deep. This is coming one week after he averaged 42 yards per punt across eight attempts.