Published August 13, 2012 - 2:00pm
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SDS is counting down the 10 most memorable games of 2011. This countdown will not include any bowl games, the SEC Championship, nor the national championship because they would obviously take precedence. Let’s stick to the regular season. After all, it is the best regular season in all of sports.
Game 5: Arkansas at LSU – Week 13
The SEC showdown that featured No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Arkansas figured to be quite a game, with SEC West and national championship implications.
Both teams were ready to put it on the line in Baton Rouge.
After a scoreless first quarter, Arkansas got on the board first with a Tyler Wilson-to-Jarius Wright touchdown pass to make it 7-0.
After a Michael Ford fumble, Arkansas linebacker Alonzo Highsmith caught the fumble in the air and returned it for a 47-yard touchdown to make it 14-0.
But LSU struck back on a 77-yard drive on a Kenny Hillaird touchdown run to cut the lead to 14-7.
And then, the Honey Badger returned a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown, and it was the play of the game.
Then, Tyrann Mathieu stripped Dennis Johnson right before the half that led to another LSU score to make it 21-14 in favor of the Tigers heading into halftime.
It was all LSU in the second half, as they scored 20 unanswered points in a 41-17 rout of the Hogs.
The Tigers kicked two field goals and had rushing touchdowns by Spencer Ware and Jordan Jefferson.
Bobby Petrino knew that Mathieu’s punt return was the catalyst for the Tigers.
“That was a huge turning point in the game,” Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. “We were trying to get the ball punted to the sideline, but he miss-hit it a bit and punted it to the middle. … (Mathieu) made a great cut and made us miss at the point of attack. He made a great play.”
LSU was ready for a showdown with Georgia in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
Final Score: No. 1 LSU 41, No. 3 Arkansas 17
It was over when: Morris Claiborne picked off Tyler Wilson in the second half while Arkansas was trying to get back in the game
Notable play: Tyrann Mathieu’s 92-yard punt return for a TD
Uh-oh moment: Arkansas kicked a second-half field goal to cut the lead to 21-17
Notable stats: LSU racked up 286 yards rushing, with touchdowns from Kenny Hilliard, Jordan Jefferson and Spencer Ware, and LSU WR Reuben Randle caught nine passes for 134 yards