FAYETTEVILLE — In 2014, Arkansas and Bret Bielema were 0-13 in the SEC under his leadership since being hired prior to the 2013 season, but it all changed on Saturday, Nov. 15, when No. 20 LSU came to a very cold Fayetteville.
Arkansas was 4-5 at the time and struggling. However, Arkansas handed Bielema his first SEC win with a convincing 17-0 victory on a very cold day in Fayetteville. Fast forward eight years and No. 7 LSU rolls into Fayetteville to face Sam Pittman, who was the offensive line coach for Bielema in 2013-15, and the Razorbacks in what’s expected to be another extremely cold day in Razorback Stadium. The forecast is for temperatures in the 40s with the wind chill in the 20s. Is the weather something Pittman is hoping gives the Razorbacks an advantage?
“Well, we’re going to embrace it,” Pittman said. “We’re going to embrace the cold, we’re going to embrace the 11 o’clock, we’re going to embrace that we’ve got the leaders of the West coming in here. We’re looking forward to it. The colder the better, and the 11 o’clock is perfect. We’re going to embrace that situation, I hear what you’re saying there.”
Arkansas followed up that win with a 30-0 victory over No. 8 Ole Miss the next week to get bowl eligible. They eventually ended up in the Texas Bowl and downed the 31-7. Pittman expanded on the 2014 LSU game.
“If I remember right, we were 3-6 (4-5) and we won out (lost to Missouri 21-14 in final game),” Pittman said. “I think it was LSU, Ole Miss and I can’t remember the last one, it might have been Missouri, I don’t remember. But we got bowl eligible and was able to beat Texas. I remember all about that, I remember how cold it was and we played really well on defense.
“So, yeah, I remember all of those things, and we certainly have talked about a lot of things. We actually talked about the 2007 game of just staying in a ballgame, staying in a ballgame, because that’s what they did in ’07. They took the lead, they came back, they took the lead, LSU came back. Just staying in the game, keep fighting, and that particular year we found a way to win it in triple overtime.”
The 2007 game was Houston Nutt’s final time as head coach at Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated LSU 50-48 in three overtimes in Baton Rouge. Pittman also talked about his immediate feelings following the 2014 win.
“A team like LSU with the logo of LSU,” Pittman said. “I think they may have been ranked (No. 20) still that day. It was a very, very exciting feeling. You had to get the heck out of the way because our team was flying over there to the boot. But you coach for a lot of reasons. One of them is seeing the faces and the excitement on the kids. A big reason, and it certainly was there that night. There’s that big picture of them holding that boot was a big deal. It was down in our office in this building for a long, long time. And, yeah, it was a really neat feeling. And then I think it was the next year, we took it over there and we brought it back. And so it’s been that long since we beat them twice in a row, and that’s another incentive that we were talking about as well.”
Arkansas and LSU will kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Razorback Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN. LSU (7-2, 5-1) controls its own destiny in the SEC West having beaten Ole Miss and Alabama the last two games they have played. Arkansas (5-4, 2-3) is needing one more win to become bowl eligible. After LSU, they host Ole Miss and then go to Missouri on Black Friday to close out the regular season.