“We didn’t come to paint,” said Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino. “We came to win the game.”
The Razorbacks did not show up to Little Rock just to play the game. Arkansas came into this game focused on the bigger picture. To achieve something that had never been done in Razorback football history.
This win was likely the most memorable win of the decade for Razorback fans. The nation was watching, Sugar Bowl representatives were present and “The Rock” was a frenzy. This game will be remembered forever
It was a crisp fall afternoon as two top 15 teams met inside War Memorial Stadium with both teams looking to taste the Sugar. Neither team was able to get their offense going early as both teams traded punts and fumbles before Arkansas’ Knile Davis ran in the endzone for a 14 yard touchdown with four minutes to go in the first quarter to go up 7-0. Things seemed promising early on as the Hogs settled in. The question was could they keep it up against a top defense?
In the second quarter both teams traded punts again until LSU reeled in two huge gainers of 32 and 24 yards that would set up a Stevan Ridley touchdown from five yards out to tie the ball game at seven. Still in the second quarter both teams traded punts again. Starting at the 14 yard line, the Razorbacks took over and three plays later Ryan Mallett found Cobi Hamilton down the sideline and was able to outrun the Tiger defense and glide into the endzone for a touchdown. Talk about a back breaker there to take a 14-7 lead, the biggest play the Tiger defense had given up that season.
Late in the second quarter, Ridley would find the endzone again. This time in a pass from quarterback, Jordan Jefferson for an eight yard score to tie the game at 14. Both defenses would make a couple of stops and the Razorback defense was able to force a punt and give the Razorback offense six seconds left in the half. Surely, Arkansas would take a knee here, right? Mallett came from sideline with the call from Coach Bobby Petrino. Instead of lining up to kneel and head to the locker room, the Hogs shocked everyone in the Rock and the country as Mallett found Hamilton over the middle, forcing two Tiger defenders to collide into each other as he raced downfield and scored. Razorbacks 21 Tigers 14. Halftime.
Arkansas came back out from halftime but were held to zero points but were able to continue moving the football. LSU scored two field goals by Colt David and pulled within one point but that was as close as they would get again.
Starting the fourth quarter, Arkansas was continuing to move the ball until it was 4th and 3 at the Tigers 39 yard line. Would Petrino choose to kick a field goal or decide to punt the ball away and hope the defense stop the Tigers again? With Joe Adams spread out wide to the left, Mallett would take a three step drop, Adams used a nice double move on Tyrann Mathieu and was wide open with a ball right on the money for a score to extend the Razorback lead to 28-20. The Hogs were definitely control from there as LSU could only muster a field goal as did Arkansas the rest of the game.
With less than a minute remaining, Arkansas’ Andru Steward forced a fumble by LSU’s Jefferson and was recovered by Jerry Franklin to secure a 31-23 victory for the Razorbacks hoping to punch their ticket to the first BCS bowl game appearance in school history.
After the game, the members in the pressbox would turn the radio up and play “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” Oh, what an atmosphere. I remember the fans singing the song and it echoing through the streets.
Arkansas would go on to play Ohio State in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. Even though the Razorbacks lost 31-26, Arkansas seemed to have arrived as a program under Petrino.
Stars of the Game
- Cobi Hamilton: Two touchdowns of 85 and the always memorable 80 yard catch and run right before halftime.
2. Knile Davis: 30 carries, 152 yards and a touchdown. Petrino leaned on Davis hard for the second week in a row with 30 touches. An impressive sophomore campaign making him destined for major accolades later on.
3. Andru Stewart and Jerry Franklin: LSU still had a chance late in the game to tie it up and force overtime. It was highly unlikely but crazier things have happened in the ““Battle for the Golden Boot.” Stewart forced the fumble of Jefferson and Franklin recovered to pretty much seal the deal for the Razorbacks Sugar Bowl Bid.
4. THE FANS: It was a wild time that day, everyone was juiced up and ready to go and the fans brought it all game long. Loud when they really needed to be and exploded during every big moment. Oh, how I miss those days!