Arkansas vs. LSU - Pregame Analysis


FIVE KEYS TO TODAY’S GAME

1. Roll With the Punches

Tiger Stadium has been a daunting venue for opponents. So Arkansas will face plenty of adversity there, too. How will the Razorbacks handle it? Arkansas can’t led mistakes linger or the Tigers will have no trouble trouncing the Hogs.

2. Third-Down Success

LSU’s offense has been remarkable on third down, converting an SEC-best 59 percent. The Razorbacks, meanwhile, are near the bottom of the league in third-down defense (42 percent). It must change against the high-powered Tigers.

3. Win Turnover Battle

Arkansas’ turnover woes continued to bite at inopportune times in the Mississippi State loss. Alex Collins’ red zone fumble in the fourth quarter was one of the keys to the game. Ball security and good decisions are vital against the opportunistic Tigers.

4. Positive Passing Plays

Arkansas needs to run the ball against LSU. Its passing offense has to help make it possible. Brandon Allen’s efficiency has improved in the past two games, completing 57 percent. He needs to take another step today for the Hogs to have any chance.

5. Sound on Special Teams

LSU has scored 20 special teams touchdowns under Les Miles and three of them have come against the Razorbacks. Arkansas, which was burned by Tyrann Mathieu’s punt return in 2011, must keep WR Odell Beckham Jr. under wraps.

TODAY’S KEY MATCHUP

Arkansas CB Jared Collins (6-0, 175, RS-Fr.)

Key Statistics: 21 tackles, 1 interception

Collins wasn’t perfect in his first start, but the redshirt freshman made two memorable plays against MSU. The first was breaking up a pass in the end zone to help the Hogs force a field goal. He later grabbed an interception, which Arkansas turned into the go-ahead touchdown in the second half. It’s not clear if Collins will start again today, but he and the rest of Arkansas’ corners face their biggest challenge of the season. LSU’s tandem of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry is dangerous, combining for 123 catches, 2,160 yards and 18 touchdowns this season.

LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr. (6-0, 193, Jr.)

Key Statistics: 56 catches, 1,101 yards, 8 touchdowns

Beckham Jr. has teamed with Jarvis Landry to form the SEC’s most productive receiving duo. The junior leads the Tigers in receiving yards (1,101) and ranks third in the SEC in receiving yards a game (100.1). He also has topped the 100-yard mark in team-best five games and is averaging a school-best 19.7 yards a catch. The veteran is a dangerous return man, too, who is second in the nation in all-purpose yards (197.7 yards). He’s averaging 20.9 every time he touches the ball, which means Collins and the Arkansas secondary will have their hands full this afternoon.

EDGE: LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr.

THE NUMBERS

OFFENSE

Passing Yds (NCAA Rank)

Arkansas 145.8 (115th)

LSU 268.1 (33rd)

Rushing

Arkansas 211.1 (26th)

LSU 197.5 (36th)

Total

Arkansas 356.9 (99th)

LSU 465.5 (26th)

DEFENSE

Passing Yds (NCAA Rank)

Arkansas 235.3

LSU 202.9

Rushing

Arkansas 173.0 (71st)

LSU 145.8 (36th)

Total

Arkansas 408.3 (73rd)

LSU 348.7 (23rd)

POSITION MATCHUPS

Quarterbacks

UA’s Brandon Allen has completed 28 of 49 passes (57.1 percent) for 307 yards with 2 TDs, 2 INTs in past 2 games; LSU’s Zach Mettenberger has thrown for 2,926 yards and is looking to become just the third in school history to top the 3,000-yard mark.

Edge: LSU

Running Backs

UA’s Alex Collins needs two yards to become the second freshman in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season; LSU’s Jeremy Hill is third in the SEC in rushing yards a game (104.0) and second in rushing touchdowns (13).

Edge: Even

Receivers

UA’s Javontee Herndon and Julian Horton scored touchdowns on rushing attempts against MSU; LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. (1,101 yards) and Jarvis Landry (1,059) are the nation’s only 1,000-yard receiving duo. They also have 18 TD catches.

Edge: LSU

O-Line

UA’s seven sacks allowed are the second-lowest total in the nation. C Travis Swanson will start for the 50th and final time today; LSU starts two sophomores (RG Trai Turner and LG Vadal Alexander) and a freshman (RT Jared Hawkins) up front.

Edge: LSU

D-Line

UA’s Chris Smith enters his final game ranked fourth on the school’s career sacks list (21 ½). He’s four shy of Wayne Martin’s mark (25 ½); LSU DT Ego Ferguson is 5th on the team in tackles (50). DE Jermauria Rasco has 45 tackles and a team-high 4 sacks.

Edge: LSU

Linebackers

UA LB Braylon Mitchell didn’t play in the MSU loss, but should be available for the finale. He is 2nd on the team with 70 tackles; LSU’s Lamin Barrow, a Butkus Award semifinalist, leads LSU with 80 tackles and has 184 stops in the past two seasons.

Edge: LSU

Secondary

UA’s Alan Turner had a career-high 16 tackles vs. MSU. CB Jared Collins grabbed his first interception in first start; LSU’s Rashard Robinson had an interception in his first start vs. Texas A&M. S Craig Loston has 43 tackles, 2 INTs in 8 games.

Edge: LSU

OVERALL: LSU 34, Arkansas 13

— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau