Montaric Brown intercepted a Garrett Nussmeier pass in overtime and then Cam Little booted a 37-yard field goal to hand Arkansas a 16-13 victory over LSU in Baton Rouge.
It was tied at 13 after regulation. Arkansas then won the coin toss and elected to play defense first. That is when Brown picked off Nussmeier’s pass in the end zone. Arkansas then ran three plays and turned the game over to Little who was successful on all three of his field goals Saturday night. Sam Pittman talked about the locker room after the game.
“It’s hard to describe the kids,” Pittman said. “I will say this, that’s why we coach. If they took away that time, man coaching wouldn’t be that fun. When you win, you should celebrate and that’s what I told the kids. Our offensive guys were kind of halfway down, I mean, a little bit down. They were excited we won. Man, when you win, you’ve got to celebrate, and that’s exactly what they did. We had a heck of a time. I never mention individual play with the team, but I did talk about Cam Little and Mo Brown. It was awesome.”
In usual Pittman character, he was very respectful of Ed Orgeron and LSU in the game.
“Hard fought game,” Pittman said. “It was ugly and beautiful and all in between. Credit LSU for playing so hard with Coach O not being their head coach and how hard they played. You have to give credit to their kids and their coaching staff to continue to coach and do their job. I was really proud of our guys being down at half and coming back. It wasn’t pretty, but when that ball went through the uprights, it was one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen. To come to LSU at night and to win is hard anytime. We’re very, very, very proud to have The Boot, and I’m proud of our coaching staff.”
Then Pittman talked about the interception Brown made in the end zone to hold LSU without a score in the overtime and the fact the Hogs won the turnover battle 3-0.
“We won the toss and elected to go on defense,” Pittman said. “I thought we had them earlier but they made a really good throw and catch on third down and got to the 11. They threw the pick. Well, they didn’t throw it, Mo went and got it. At that point, I told KB (Kendal Briles) we were going to run it twice to center it, and if we didn’t make a first down Cam was going to go win the game. That’s exactly what happened. How nice is it to have a kicker that you know if you put it in the middle of the field he’s going to make it. It doesn’t matter what the pressure is. When Mo picked it off, I thought we had a chance.”
Pittman said he had no doubt Little, a true freshman, would make the kick.
“I didn’t look at him,” Pittman said. “I was talking to the wings and the tight ends about handling the edge pressure. But I pretty much felt like if he got the ball up he was going to make it. Ironically, when we faked the field goal in the third quarter, I believe it was the third, Cam was the most excited guy whenever I said we’re going to fake it because he felt like it was there all night. Sure enough, Bauer went down there and did it. It just shows you how unselfish Cam is. Everybody else would’ve wanted to kick it, and it ended up being a three-pointer because we weren’t able to convert and score a touchdown. He’s just a really good kid. He was 3-for-3 tonight, and the extra point. So, very, very valuable.”
For Little it provided a first in his career when he booted it through the uprights to win the game.
“It feels great,” Little said. “This is actually my first game-winner — ever. It’s the first time I’ve ever been put in that situation and I was just glad to make the kick. I know how much it means to these guys that have been here forever and they never had The Boot. Grant (Morgan), Hayden (Henry) … I know how much it meant to them. And it was all I could just to get that Boot back,
“They had confidence in me the whole time. One of the guys told me after the game that they knew I was going to go out there and make it. Shout out to Buster for the opportunity with the pick. He game me the opportunity to go out and make that kick, so I’m really appreciative of my teammates’ confidence in me. It feels great to finally bring the Boot back.”
LSU called timeout in an attempt to ice him prior to the kick. Little talked about what was going through his mind during the timeout.
“I guess the (Texas) A&M game was another game where they called a timeout, and I kind of spent it the same way,” Little said. “Just swinging my leg, getting warmed up. We’ve gone through this scenario in practice a couple of times with Coach (Scptt)Fountain. So it was just a normal situation for me. It didn’t really affect me that much.”
According to Pittman, Arkansas felt so confident in Little they played for the field goal in overtime instead of feeling the need to score a touchdown or even get a first down.
“I was over there in my net warming up,” Little said. “I knew once Busta picked it, me and Vito Calvaruso were in the kicking net. And he was just like, ‘Hey, we’re about to go out there an have to kick a game winner.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I know, and I’m ready to get it done.; I was just warming up in my net, and second down went, then third down went. I got four or five kicks in and I’m like, ‘OK, I’m ready.’I’ve been preparing myself for this situation and I was just ready to go out there and make the kick. I had no doubt in my mind. I have full confidence as I was going to go out there and make the kick.”
Brown was asked where the interception ranks on his list of plays?
“I just feel like it’s up there in my top five for sure,” Brown said. “Having that mindset that the ball is coming way all the time. Just trusting my technique. That’s what I do in practice. It just translates to the game.”
Early in the game it appeared LSU was picking on Brown. That is something the redshirt senior welcomed.
“I just love when a team targets me,” Brown said. “It just gives me more opportunities to make plays. As a DB, you want the ball to come to you. I was loving it, actually. I know I had a PI called in the first quarter. Just got to have amnesia playing corner and just got to have that confidence each play.”
Arkansas (7-3, 3-3) will be at No. 2 Alabama (9-1, 5-1) on Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff to be televised on CBS.