Jul 10, 2017; Hoover, AL, USA; An Arkansas, LSU, and Tennessee football helmet during SEC media days at Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Winfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas-LSU Preview: Bielema vs. Orgeron

While the SEC West is currently a two-team race between Alabama and Auburn, culminating in the Iron Bowl, there are still other games to be played. Arkansas and LSU will square off at Tiger Stadium on Saturday at Noon on ESPN. The Hogs are 4-5 on the year, but have won their past two games. That being said, the Razorbacks beat 4-5 Ole Miss by one point and 1-8 Coastal Carolina by the same score at home. The 24th-ranked, 6-3 LSU Tigers lost their most recent game to Alabama by 14. While nobody expected the Tigers to beat ‘Bama, they hung close and showed that they can compete with the SEC’s best. Before that game, LSU won their previous three games against Florida, Auburn and Ole Miss.

LSU comes into the game as a 17-point favorite, per Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, and have an 88.2% chance to win the contest, per ESPN’s Football Power Index. The winner of Saturday’s game will receive the Golden Boot, a tradition that began in 1996. While the two teams played their first game in 1901, the Golden Boot was introduced over 90 years later. As seen below, if you combined the states of Arkansas and Louisiana, it would look like a boot.

LSU Keys To The Game

  • 1. Danny Etling
    • Ed Orgeron officially announced at the SEC Teleconference on Wednesday afternoon that Danny Etling will remain as the starting quarterback for LSU on Saturday. Etling has thrown for 1,589 yards, 9 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on the season. We know that Derrius Guice is the Tigers’ offensive center piece and that won’t change vs. Arkansas. It’ll be important for Etling to limit turnovers and sacks against an opportunistic Razorback defense.
  • 2. Don’t Fret Over 2-QB System
    • Bret Bielema hasn’t announced a starter for Saturday’s game vs. LSU and most likely won’t until game-time. The Razorbacks have switched between Austin Allen and Cole Kelley at QB this season. Allen has 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on the year, while Kelley has 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. As Steve Spurrier once said, if you have 2 quarterbacks, you have no quarterback. LSU has to stay ready for whatever quarterback is thrown at them, but shouldn’t worry over who it is. If they spend too much time thinking about the name instead of the game, it’ll hurt them in the end.
  • 3. Don’t Play Down To Your Competition
    • Arkansas isn’t an awful team, but LSU is clearly superior. The Tigers are the 24th-ranked team in the country but have struggled with inferior opponents throughout the season. LSU beat Troy of the Sun Belt Conference by just 3 at home, sneaked out a one-point win against 3-5 Florida, who could’ve sent the game to overtime had Eddy Piniero not missed an extra point, and struggled with Syracuse at home before pulling away late in the game. The Tigers have to play with the attitude that they’re the better team on Saturday and that Arkansas knows it as well.

Arkansas Keys To The Game

  • 1. Run, Run and Run The Ball Some More
    • Arkansas plays at their absolute best when they play a ground-and-pound style. The Razorbacks are averaging 182.7 rushing yards per game, tied for 47th in the nation. While that number may seem just a bit above average for a Power5 school, it’s what the team does best. In their four wins this season, the Hogs have ran for an average of 246.3 yards per contest. While the wins have come against FAMU, New Mexico State, Ole Miss and Coastal Carolina, the numbers are still impressive nonetheless.
  • 2. Get Creative
    • As mentioned above, the Razorbacks have a damn good rushing offense. That being said, the carries don’t simply go to one player. Devwah Whaley, David Williams and Chase Hayden have all rushed for at least 325 yards and 4 touchdowns this season. Arkansas should go with the hot hand in this game, but needs to get creative in their offensive play-calling. Keeping Ed Orgeron and the LSU Tigers on their toes will be the first step towards competing for a victory.
  • 3. Nothing Like A Rivalry Game
    • There’s nothing like an SEC rivalry game. Many of these rivalries, like LSU-Arkansas, date back to the early 1900s. While it’s not the Iron Bowl or The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, it’s still an important rivalry game to Razorback and Tiger faithful nonetheless. Bielema needs to preach the importance of the rivalry to his players to get them into the right mindset for Saturday’s game.

Audio From Bret Bielema

Bielema on not trying to trick the other team with his 2QB system.

Bielema goes further in depth on the battle between his two quarterbacks for the starting job.

Bielema on what Arkansas has to do to win on Saturday.

Bielema on preparing for the LSU Tigers.

Bielema on the rivalry between LSU and Arkansas.

Audio From Ed Orgeron

Orgeron on Danny Etling retaining the starting quarterback position vs. Arkansas.

Orgeron on the physicality of his team and how they played vs. Alabama last week.

Orgeron on fixing what his team did wrong vs. Alabama and what he’s doing to geu ready for Arkansas.

Orgeron on putting together defensive gameplans for both of Arkansas’ possible starting quarterbacks.

Orgeron on preparing for the Razorbacks as a whole.

How To Watch

Saturday’s game kicks off at 12 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN with Jason Benetti, Kelly Stouffer and Julie Stewart-Binks on the call.

About Jake Winderman

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