Arkansas’ COVID Challenged Defense Comes Up Just Short in 27-24 loss to LSU

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Photo Courtesy: University of Arkansas Athletics

The Razorbacks COVID depleted defense fought for four quarters but Arkansas came up just short when a game-tying field goal attempt was partially blocked with 2:35 left on the scoreboard. The Hogs dropped to 3-5 with a 27-24 loss to LSU. The Hogs were missing multiple starters and back up players along the defensive front due to positive COVID testing and quarantines.

Feleipe Franks threw for 339 yards and a touchdown with one interception. Arkansas based much of its game plan on running the ball but struggled on the ground. Trelon Smith, starting in place of Rakeem Boyd, managed just 28 yards on 11 carries. Arkansas rushed for just 104 yards as a team. For the second straight game the Hogs were dominated in time of possession. LSU had 41:43 of clock time to just 18:17 for Arkansas.

Arkansas opened the game with a quick three and out. LSU managed a first down before Arkansas forced a punt. The Hogs began their second drive on their own 20 and recorded a first down before punting it back to LSU. This time the Tigers drove 51 yards before settling for a 49 yard Cade York field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Arkansas then went three and out, as did LSU. A 58 yard Zach Von Rosenberg punt backed the home team up to its own eight but the Hogs quickly solved that problem. Franks’ 65 yard touchdown bomb to Treylon Burks put Arkansas up 7-3, part of a four play, 92 yard drive.

LSU stayed mostly on the ground for its next possession but retook the lead on a 30 yard touchdown toss from T.J. Finley to Racey McMath completing a 10 play, 75 yard drive. Arkansas then went three and out on three straight running plays.

It was shades of the Auburn game at that point as an LSU fumble at the Tiger’s 37 appeared to be recovered by Joe Fouche but a video review determined that there was not a clear recovery. Arkansas eventually got the ball back on that possession when Terrace Marshall fumbled at the Hogs’ 24 but once again Arkansas could do nothing with the ball.

This time Arkansas defense forced a three and out and after an LSU punt the Hogs set up shop on their own 27. At that point Franks threw his third pick of the season. Jabril Cox returned it for 36 yards to the Arkansas one yard line. A play later Tyrion Davis-Price gave the Tigers a 17-7 lead on a one yard touchdown run.

Arkansas then put together another quick scoring drive. The three play, 75 yard touchdown drive was fueled by Franks’ 50 yard pass to Mike Woods to the LSU 25. Franks then scored on the ground, diving across the goal line from 10 yards out, narrowing the lead to 17-14.

The Tigers got three of those points back on a 24 yard field goal as the clock expired on the first half.

LSU took the ball coming out of the dressing room but Arkansas stopped the Tigers at their 38. After a 50 yard punt Arkansas started on its nine and promptly went three and out. Arkansas’ defense was quickly back on the field. After a 58 yard Reid Bauer punt and a holding penalty, LSU started on the Tigers’ 27. The visitors then drove the ball to the Arkansas 39 before the Hogs forced another stop. But after a 35 yard punt this time Arkansas ended up on the four yard line.

The Hogs responded with yet another quick touchdown drive. A Burks to Mike Woods 50 yard pass was the big play. Smith put Arkansas in front on a one yard run. With 1:04 left in the 3rd quarter it was 21-20 Arkansas.

The Hogs forced another stop and started their next drive on the eight yard line. They drove 88 yards on seven plays behind two huge plays by T. J. Hammonds; a 51 yard catch and 21 yard run. But as the skies opened up Franks slipped trying to run the ball in on 3rd and goal from the LSU two. A.J. Reed came on to boot a 22 yard field goal for A 24-20 lead.

LSU made it to near midfield on its next possession but pinned Arkansas inside it’s own 10 again after another punt. The Hogs went three and out and once again Arkansas defense trudged back onto the field with LSU starting at its 33.

At that point Jalen Catalon was ejected on a controversial target call. LSU then drove 57 yards in nine plays, taking a 27-24 the lead on a Finley touchdown pass to Jaray Jenkins.

Arkansas then missed a 44 yard field goal attempt and LSU ran the clock out.

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