Coach Les Miles said his team had turned the page from last weekend’s 30-16 loss to Alabama, but the Tigers appeared to still be licking their wounds during the first half against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
LSU trails Arkansas 21-7 at halftime in Tiger Stadium. The Tigers will need to wake up quickly, or else they could lose any hope of playing in a New Year’s Six bowl, let alone the College Football Playoff.
UPDATE: Arkansas has put the nail in the coffin with a bit of trickery. The Razorbacks put LSU away with a 69-yard end around run by wide receiver Jared Cornelius. The wideout had nothing but room ahead of him after the Tigers bit on a fake. Arkansas leads 31-14 in the fourth quarter and barring a miracle will retain The Golden Boot.
UPDATE: Arkansas answered LSU’s touchdown drive with a field goal and extended its lead to 24-14 late in the third quarter.
UPDATE: The Tigers woke up after a sluggish first half. LSU staged an 8-play, 67-yard drive that was capped by a 2-yard touchdown rush by Leonard Fournette. The Tigers trail 21-14 in the third quarter.
Big plays propelling Razorbacks
Both of Arkansas’ touchdowns have come on plays of at least 52 yards. The Tigers suffered another coverage gaffe and were burnt on a cornerback blitz when Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen zipped a pass down the right hash to receiver Dominique Reed, who shook off a defender, got a block and was long gone down the right sideline to put Arkansas on the board.
The second Razorbacks touchdown came on an 80-yard run down the right side by Alex Collins. The tailback burst through a wide-open hole and was gone to put the Hogs up 14-0.
Leonard Fournette stifled thus far
LSU proved its offense runs through its Heisman Trophy candidate and the Razorbacks refused to let Fournette get anything going on the ground. Fournette has rushed for 34 yards on 10 carries a week after running for just 31 yards on 19 attempts against Alabama. Arkansas’ run defense entered Saturday’s tilt ranked 27th in rushing defense and has played better than that on Saturday night. Once again, LSU’s offensive line has struggled mightily against the Razorbacks front seven.
Brandon Harris out of sync
Quite possibly the biggest reason LSU has struggled through the first half has been the play of its quarterback, Brandon Harris. The sophomore has looked out of sync for most of the night and has missed on a handful of throws. He has completed 11 of 16 passes for 104 yards and a wacky touchdown pass that deflected off of Travin Dural’s fingertips into the waiting hands of Malachi Dupre.
Harris’ biggest blunder came with fewer than five minutes left in the first half. Harris was forced out of the pocket and lost the ball deep in LSU territory. Arkansas recovered the ball on LSU’s 11-yard line and scored two plays later to take a three possession lead.