5 reasons LSU will beat Arkansas
Before we start making bold predictions on why LSU will beat Arkansas, we have to ask the burning question.
Which Arkansas team will LSU be playing?
If it’s the one that was hogtied by Auburn, 56-3, the Tigers can chalk up the “W” right now.
But don’t count on that.
This is more likely to resemble the Razorbacks that trounced Florida, 31-10, last week. In other words, one that figured out how to stop the run and found a running game to go with its passing game.
So Ed Orgeron and company have their work cut out here. But here are five reasons why the Tigers will come out on top on the road:
Arkansas can’t run on LSU
Other than South Carolina, no team in the SEC gets fewer yards per carry than Arkansas.
That may seem hard to believe, considering the Razorbacks are coming off a game where Rawleigh Williams, the SEC’s second-leading rusher, went off for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 carries against Florida.
But the statistics tell us that LSU, which is the second-stingiest run defense in the SEC at 3.1 yards per rush, should be better up to the task. The Tigers have accumulated that number against the likes of Auburn, Alabama and Wisconsin.
This isn’t a vintage Arkansas offensive line, and they should have trouble blocking the Tigers’ front seven.
Arkansas can’t stop the run
On the other side of the ball, just the opposite problem is true for the Razorbacks. Arkansas allows offenses to gash them for 6.1 yards per carry, the highest per-carry average allowed in the SEC. That could be bad news going up against Leonard Fournette and company.
Sure, LSU was just shut down by Alabama, but the thing is, Arkansas is not Alabama in stopping the run. You can shut down LSU’s running game if you can push the line of scrimmage backwards consistently. So far, Alabama is the one team that has shown an ability to do that.
And LSU has run the ball effectively against better rush defenses than Arkansas’ front, like Auburn and Mississippi State.
Ed Orgeron has made a decided effort to get over the Alabama hangover
Part of Orgeron’s motivation for his theme-focused daily practice regimen was to get his team to take the clichéd but necessary “one-game-at-a-time” approach, something he didn’t feel the Tigers have done well in the past when they’d crater in the Arkansas game after playing Alabama.
This week, LSU is coming off a 10-0 loss to the Crimson Tide, and Orgeron insists his team has practiced well.
All it needs to do is take the cue from the coach. If Orgeron is to get the head coaching job on a permanent basis, this is pretty much a must-win for him.
Austin Allen will be facing a tough secondary
With Chad Kelly and Trevor Knight out for the rest of the regular season, can there be any doubt that Austin Allen is now the best passer in the SEC?
Allen is more prolific than Auburn’s Sean White (2,291 yards vs. 1,617) and more efficient than Drew Lock or Luke Del Rio (148.8 efficiency rating, second only to White).
But LSU’s secondary is also outstanding, coming into the game fourth in the SEC in pass defense. The Tigers rarely give up big plays and had a smothering performance against Alabama last week.
LSU picked off Kelly twice and held him to 218 passing yards. They held Lock to just 167 yards passing. This could be a tough draw for Allen.
Two years of beatdowns will wake LSU up
Let’s be real here. Arkansas deserves a tip of the hat for dominating LSU the last two years by a combined 48-14 score. But at the same time, the Tigers haven’t shown up.
Two years of losses in games LSU felt like it was the better team and should have won but wound up being blowouts the other way.
This team doesn’t need to look to Orgeron for motivation. If that doesn’t motivate this team, what will?