FAYETTEVILLE — It took quarterback KJ Jefferson and the offense awhile to get started, but they were able to help put 16 points on the scoreboard to defeat LSU.
The Razorbacks offense was certainly balanced in the win. They passed for 142 yards and ran for 139. Jefferson was 18 of 25 for 142 yards and a touchdown. He also was the leading rusher with 15 carries for 43 yards. Jefferson talked about the adjustments the offense made in the second half.
“I mean we just had to establish the line of scrimmage up front,” Jefferson said. “They came out and we prepared for what they came out in. We knew they were going to blitz a lot. We had to establish the line of scrimmage up front. Just coming after halftime we just established the line of scrimmage and we just played our ball.”
Sam Pittman talked about Jefferson’s scrambling being the best offense for the night.
“Well, we didn’t block them,” Pittman said. “We didn’t block them. I mean, we were sitting there in man-to-man and we missed a ton of blocks. I’m talking about from the wide receivers and I’m talking about from the interior linemen. Basically, somebody’s got that back and we were trying to pick him with a lineman and we couldn’t get him picked. Now, we did in practice, but we couldn’t get the guy picked and our edge blocking wasn’t very good tonight if I had anything – I’m not going to say negative because… There’s a lot of things we have to get better at, but we’ll worry about it tomorrow, I guess.”
Jefferson found running back Dominique Johnson wide open with 6:01 remaining in the third quarter for a 43-yard touchdown. It was Johnson’s first receiving touchdown for the Hogs.
“I knew they were bringing pressure,” Jefferson said. “I knew I had to make one miss because I’m accountable for one. When I made him miss I just, the main thing, a great quarterback keeps his eyes downfield to make plays. The only thing on my mind was making a play. I saw him downfield, wide open and I just tried to give him a good ball and he ended up doing the rest.”
The 16-13 one-overtime win for Arkansas allowed them to take the Golden Boot back to Fayetteville. Earlier, Arkansas beat Texas A&M in another trophy game.
“It means a lot,” Jefferson said. “This is my first time to ever see the Boot up close and personally. To know it’s going back home to Fayetteville means a lot. And then early in the season Texas A&M this is my first time. All this is new to me since this is my first year being a starter. All of it is new so I’m just soaking it all in.”
Jefferson had a lot of praise for Arkansas’ defense that kept the team in the game when the offense was still struggling.
“They did,” Jefferson said. “Defense played lights out. They did what they said they were going to do. That’s just the whole point. I knew we had confidence in them, and they had confidence in us the whole game. When stuff wasn’t going right on offense, Bump, Grant, all those guys came up to me and they were like, ‘it’s going to happen. Just get it rolling. Get it rolling.’ And that’s what happened. It was a collective team effort.”
After cornerback Montaric Brown intercepted a Garrett Nussmeier pass to start the overtime all Arkansas had to do was score. Jefferson talked about the series in overtime that allowed Cam Little to win it.
“That was the main thing we have a certain type of signal or play call just for getting the ball to the middle of the field trying to help our kickers out get them a straight shot and making the field goal,” Jefferson said. “Coach Brown signaled it into me and I told the O-line we had to get the ball this direction and that’s what we did.”
Jefferson said the entire team has complete confidence in Little, who was successful on all three field goals Saturday night including the 37-yarder to win it.
“When we knew we were going on defense first that was our whole mindset, we wanted to go on defense first and when Busta came away with the pick, I knew right then in that moment right there we were going to win,” Jefferson said. “Going out there when the offense rolled out there, the main thing we had to do was protect the ball, we knew cam was gonna make the field goal he had it in his bag. That’s just the main thing protecting the ball and giving him a chance.”
Arkansas (7-3, 3-3) will travel to Tuscaloosa this week to face No. 2 Alabama (9-1, 5-1) with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on CBS.