BATON ROUGE, La. — It’s been a rough six days for Brandon Allen.
The Arkansas quarterback got back to Fayetteville last Saturday after a 24-17 overtime loss to Mississippi State to find his truck had been egged. Friday at LSU, the sophomore fumbled away the Razorbacks’ last chance at scoring an upset of No. 15 LSU in a 31-27 loss at Tiger Stadium.
“It’s definitely an emotional way to end the season; we really wanted to win this game and go out on a high note — especially for these seniors,” Allen said. “Just being so close and letting it slip away is tough.”
Of course, with a nine-game losing streak and having gone winless in the Southeastern Conference, Allen has actually had a bad 76 days. But after being blown out by Alabama and South Carolina, Allen said losing on a late TD pass to the Tigers was just rubbing salt in the wounds of this season.
“I think this one might (hurt the most) just because it was so close there at the end and we had it won,” Allen said. “You know, just a couple plays here or there.”
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, who got emotional twice during his postgame news conference, said the team was gutted by the loss.
“The part that’s the most disappointing is to know that you put yourself in position to win the game and you didn’t do it,” Bielema said. “You didn’t close it out. The dynamics of why we lost the game are so easy to fix. It’s just inexcusable, I mean, we can’t allow that to happen.”
Allen finished Friday with a career-high 19 completions. He attempted 29 passes and threw for 178 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
He guided Arkansas on five scoring drives out of 11 as Arkansas scored the third-most points LSU had given up in the regular season. Only Georgia (44-41) and Alabama (38-17) scored more than 27 points on the Bayou Bengals. Ole Miss defeated LSU 27-24 and lost 37-27 to TCU lost.
Along with a stout running game that gained 182 yards on 34 attempts, the Arkansas defense was as effective as it had been since Allen injured his shoulder on Sept. 14 when he dove into the end zone during a 24-3 win against Southern Miss.
“I thought pretty much whole game we had it going. We had it clicking on offense,” Allen said. “We had it going in the run game and the pass game, had certain things going for us. We were able to put up a few points, but we’d like to have a few more right now.”
But after LSU kicked a field goal that cut the Arkansas lead to 27-24 with 4:56 to play, the Razorbacks posted a three-and-out. The possession took only 1:52 off the clock as Arkansas came up short on third-and-3 from its own 32. Before the LSU field goal, Arkansas couldn’t convert a third-and-2.
Both times, the Razorbacks were less than 1 yard from getting a first down.
“We came within a few inches I think both times. That’s tough,” Allen said. “You get a first down on both of those and there may not be enough time for them.”