It's been said over and over this season, but we finally got an example of how Brandon Allen can be an effective leader without winning this game through his arm. Allen threw just 2 times over the "sweet spot" of 25 attempts and completed 16 of those 27 passes for 169 yards. Those are not sexy stats at all, but with no major mistakes it resulted in a big win. Allen hit his targets, was sacked only once, didn't turn over the ball, and had some great looking throws while rolling out. Aside from one forced check down that a defender nearly picked off, Allen had a great game.
I think this game speaks volumes for how far our team has come, and how complete this team is. No longer does the game hinge on the success of the run game. The running backs didn't accumulate anywhere near the yardage we've become accustomed to seeing, but Arkansas leaned on other team strengths and won a game against a good opponent. Jonathan Williams was the best RB out there, and still had a relatively slow night with just 55 yards on 18 carries. Additionally, Williams' fumble deep in Arkansas territory was nearly disastrous, but fortunately it went out of bounds.
Alex Collins' numbers were slightly below Williams'. The team barely cracked 100 rushing yards, and if you include Brandon Allen's sack yardage, the team finished with just 95 yards. It was enough for Arkansas to beat LSU but how many games can the Hogs expect to win with those numbers?
Thank God for our two tight ends. Arkansas may be TEU before we know it. Hunter Henry and AJ Derby combined for 8 grabs and 90 yards. The athleticism and toughness that they show on the football field makes me a very happy Razorback fan. It would finally seem that our team has figured out the formula for effectiveness through the air.
We still had great blocking from this group, led by Hatcher who may be earning some love with scouts for that reason alone. A good blocking WR is hard to come by. I must also recognize Cornelius' outstanding catch in the 4th on third and long. That play was the beginning of the end for LSU.
A final note on drops. They didn't get out of hand, but after seeing Sprinkle and Hollister drop good passes on 3rd down I was really starting to worry. If WRs need wonder why they don't get more looks in a game they can look at inconsistent play that has unfortunately followed all but Hatcher.
Man do I feel for Big Dan Skipper. Guy can't catch a break. I can see getting flagged for cleaning up around the pile when you drill a guy in the back, but it seems linemen pick on him constantly with no retribution. I like Skipper's moxie. It's like having a goon in hockey. We need a tough guy to set the tone, stand up for BA, and show these defenders that they won't be having their way with our O-line. That being said, I don't mind a scrap here and there, but Skipper needs to understand the game situation and avoid those personal foul flags.
Now for the praise. I love our line. They played solid, kept BA mostly upright against a tough defense, and I thought they played well opening up holes. I think LSU's speed on defense was a factor because those holes didn't stay open for long. However, I don't think you'll meet a single person that will tell you our guys didn't win in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Keep up the good work boys. Stay nasty, Skip.
Talk about dominating the line of scrimmage! I tell you what, the Razorbacks looked strong and mean. Arkansas' lineman got to the ball carrier multiple times while being blocked and hold him up long enough for a linebacker to clean him up. That is what we need. While the Hogs didn't have many tackles (Wise led with 3 tackles, a sack, and TFL) they made an impact, totaling 3 sacks, and 4 tackles for loss. Darius Philon did what LSU defender's couldn't in recovering the fumble. They held the Tigers to 36 yards on the ground on 32 carries. Talk about building a wall. If there was one group I had to say we won because of, it would be these guys.
Martrell Spaight is crushing it. Spaight led the team with 10 tackles, a sack, a TFL, had a FF and even got another opportunity to lay out Jennings. He looked like a man not satisfied till he was included in every stat column - and he nearly was! Spaight led the charge with big contributions from Braylon Mitchell, and Brooks Ellis, who each had a TFL, and 9 and 5 tackles respectively. Our linebackers did work and were a huge part as to why LSU was shut out and held to under 150 yards of total offense. What a fun performance to watch!
Despite not playing for half of the game, Gaines was 4th on the list with 5 tackles. His absence didn't seem to effect the team though as Josh Liddell played well filling in. Jared Collins led the secondary with 7 tackles and 4 - yes 4 - pass break-ups. Despite DJ Dean taking a punishing hit from an LSU running back, there wasn't a single time when the Razorbacks didn't look like the best players on the field.
Robb Smith has himself a defense in Fayetteville. What a job he has done with this team. I've never known a Razorback defense that could go out there and outplay a team for 4 quarters till Saturday. Next move is to lock Robb down for the foreseeable future.
Solid work from everyone. No big mistakes. Adam McFain made his only field goal attempt on the opening drive and made both PATs. Sam Irwin-Hill had a huge punt at a key point in the game in the fourth quarter. Jared Cornelius returned a couple of punts for 13 yards. Since LSU was shut out they only kicked off once and it was a touchback.
Well, this is what we've been waiting for. Doesn't it feel good to wake up Monday morning with a dominant victory over LSU? I'm going to ride this high all week. This team is getting hot at the right time. The gears are turning, the team is clicking and I think they're going to set a tone for the next couple weeks. These is a Hog team reborn and eager to make some teams look weak. If I was a gambling man I'd put my money on the Hogs to beat a team with an identity crisis and a defense named after a pretty mediocre beer. Ole Miss has begun to fizzle. Let's put them out of their misery, snub them out, and move on to Mizzou. WPS!