Five Keys to a Razorback Win
1. Keep Cool Heads
Rivalry games are always emotional games, especially when they are competitive. Even when Arkansas has had a down year, they have still been competitive in the annual Battle for the Golden Boot. In 2008, Arkansas was 4-7 heading into a game against a 7-4 LSU team. Despite not being bowl eligible, they pulled off the upset, winning 31-30. With a tight score like this, emotions will be running high. However, if Arkansas expects to have a chance against a highly-ranked LSU team this year, they have to keep calm. Penalties for late hits and unsportsmanlike conduct will give LSU better field position and more opportunities to score.
2. Score in the Red Zone
Arkansas’ offense has moved the ball well this year, but they stall out once they get inside the 20-yard line. Heading into the Mississippi State game, the Razorbacks’ 72 percent success rate in the red zone was 106th out of 120 teams in the country. With LSU’s defense only allowing 262.9 yards per game, points will be scarce and Arkansas must capitalize when they get close to the end zone. Turnovers in the red zone, like the fumble against South Carolina, will kill any chance Arkansas has. They must come away with at least three, if not seven, points every time they reach the 20-yard line against LSU.
3. Win Third Downs
The Razorbacks have only converted on 36.8 percent of their third-down opportunities, which is 86th in the country. LSU has also struggled on third downs, only converting 41.6 percent of the time. The difference will be which defense allows the most third-down conversions. The Tigers are 10th in the country in third-down defense while Arkansas is 54th. The Razorbacks need to find a way to move the ball on third downs against LSU’s stout defense in order to keep drives alive. The longer their drives last, the more tired LSU’s defense will be, making them susceptible to big plays by senior wide receiver Cobi Hamilton or senior running back Dennis Johnson.
4. Pin Them On Deep Punts
Senior punter Dylan Breeding has had a stellar career at Arkansas. His average of 45.8 yards per punt is seventh-best in the country. He has also pinned teams inside the 20-yard line 15 times this season. LSU’s defense will inevitably force Arkansas to punt several times, and when they do, Breeding needs to pin the Tigers deep in their own territory. In a game where scoring will be at a premium, the longer LSU must go to score, the more likely it is that Arkansas’ defense can stop them.
5. Protect Tyler Wilson
Yet again, Arkansas will be facing a team that sacks the quarterback a lot. This will be the sixth time they have faced a team ranked in the top 25 in the country for total sacks. After 10 games, LSU has 26 sacks, which is tied for 25th most. The offensive line for the Razorbacks must keep senior quarterback Tyler Wilson on his feet so he can have a good performance in his last game in Fayetteville. Arkansas’ offense starts and stops with Wilson, and if he doesn’t play well, Arkansas typically doesn’t score very many points, which leads to losing.