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Arkansas vs LSU Box Score Breakdown: A Time to Win

Arkansas went Old Testament on the Bayou Bengals Saturday, snapping a 17-game SEC losing streak. How did the Hogs do it?

Wesley Hitt

One of the best-written and most well-known passages of ancient literature is the third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiates. Presumed author King Solomon has spent the first couple of chapters noting that his attempt to find infinite happiness via "worldy" things like wealth, luxury, hard work, and pleasure all failed. Lest the reader take Solomon's conclusions that these things don't bring infinite joy to mean they are evil and should be avoided, Solomon brings some perspective in chapter 3, noting that there is, in fact, a "time for everything":

Saturday was, by all accounts, a Time to Win for Razorback football. The time to lose had been too long, but things changed on Saturday. Vegas knew, making Arkansas the favorite. Hog fans knew, packing Razorback Stadium with 70,000 raucous fans. And, in the end, the box score knew. The numbers aren't close. Arkansas met every goal it needed to and completely dominated the overmatched Tigers. Let's check it out:

46.55% Success Rate 25.53%
46.67% Rushing Success Rate 23.08%
3.0 Line Yards/Carry 2.7
46.43% Passing Success Rate 28.57%
3.57% Sack Rate 14.29%
57.14% Pass Downs Success Rate 23.08%

Arkansas showed remarkable consistency, running and passing equally well. The Hogs generated almost no big plays, which is part of the reason why the total yards (264) and total points (17) are so low. The other reason they're so low is how short the game was, with both teams keeping it on the ground. Only 119 total plays were run, which is only slightly more than some HUNH teams run all by themselves in games.

Here's Arkansas' offense. I only used "close" numbers, meaning that Arkansas' final two drives to run out the clock and LSU's final drive of all passes were not included.

Plays Yards Yards/Play Success Rt
Rushing 30 87 2.9 46.67%
Passing 28 162 5.8 46.43%
Totals 58 249 4.3 46.55%

Arkansas didn't generate any big plays in the running game - unsurprising against a fast LSU defense - but that success rate is pretty good, especially considering how Arkansas has played all year against SEC defenses. In terms of efficiency, only the Texas A&M was better in terms of how Arkansas ran the ball in SEC play, even though the Hogs ran for more total yards against Auburn and Mississippi State.

RUSHING Plays Yards Yards/Play Success Rt
1st Down 17 69 4.1 47.06%
2nd Down 9 10 1.1 33.33%
3rd Down 4 8 2.0 50.00%
PASSING Plays Yards Yards/Play Success Rt
1st Down 6 26 4.3 33.33%
2nd Down 11 57 5.2 45.45%
3rd Down 11 79 7.2 54.55%

Quick message for the Brandon Allen haters:

Do you see the third down passing numbers? "Yes."

Do you understand now? "Yes."

Are you going to complain and demand that the backup get a shot any more this season? "No."

Thank you.

Keys to the game review

Key #1: Go at least +7 in points off turnovers.

STATUS: Unnecessary. The first and only turnover of the game was Anthony Jennings' late fumble, and it sealed the game as Arkansas needed no further points.

Key #2: Hold Travin Dural under 50 receiving yards.

STATUS: Success. Dural finished with 46 yards on five catches. LSU took a few shots deep at him, but Jared Collins - who got redemption for his blown coverage last year - played the best game of his Razorback career, repeatedly denying the deep ball. The Razorback defense didn't shadow Dural in coverage, letting whichever corner was on his side cover him. He's clearly LSU's best receiver, but the Tiger receiving corps looking shockingly bad on Saturday.

Key #3: Outrush LSU.

STATUS: Success. The Hogs won the rushing battle 95-36. Neither team ran the ball too well, but Arkansas eked out decent efficiency and LSU did not. Leonard Fournette rushed for nine yards on five carries. Just a dominant performance by the Arkansas defense front. And let's not forget the O-line, as holes kept opening up even in the fourth quarter. Arkansas' offense didn't wear out like it has so many times this year.

Key #4: Don't give up any plays of 40+ yards.

STATUS: Success. LSU's longest play was a 15-yard penalty on Rohan Gaines for targeting. And I'm protesting that, since calls like that one are not what the targeting rule was introduced to stop.

Key #5: Post a havoc rate of 15 percent.

STATUS: Ridiculously staggering success. Jennings was sacked on 15 percent of his dropbacks, and saw 15 percent more broken up, mostly by Collins. The swarming Razorback defense generated three other TFLs and forced a turnover.

Now the Hogs have to regroup for Ole Miss, needing to win just one of their final two games.