The LSU Tigers host the Arkansas Razorbacks in an SEC clash Saturday at 7 p.m.
The No. 12 Tigers look to leave their SEC home-opener 3-1, but will have to overcome the rival Razorbacks who seek a 3-1 start as well.
A Dangerous Wounded Tiger
Brian Kelly’s Tigers came into the 2023 season with high hopes after a strong first year under the head coach. All eyes were on their week one matchup against Florida State which, at the time, was a clash between two top 10 teams. LSU proceeded to get crushed 45-24, raising doubts about the team. In the two weeks since, Kelly’s squad has defeated Grambling State and Mississippi State by a combined score of 113-24.
Kelly knows that this week might not be as easy because of the challenge the Razorbacks can present.
If they are to win, however, the Tigers’ stars would like to play the way they did against Mississippi State. LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels played near perfect football in the game. The senior, who transferred to LSU from Arizona State prior to the 2022 season, completed 30 of his 34 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns. He contributed with his legs as well, running for an additional two touchdowns.
Junior receiver Malik Nabers had a big part in Daniels’ day, going for 239 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Nabers being able to duplicate this performance would give LSU an explosiveness that’s hard to match.
Kelly also knows that this is a rivalry game, and those always have an extra edge to them that can create chaos. He discussed this and what it means in his locker room.
Arkansas started the season off strong with two straight blowout victories at home. Sam Pittman’s team looked to make it a clean 3-0 last Saturday against BYU, but found themselves in a tight competition late. The visiting Cougars managed to leave with a 38-31 win, sending the Razorbacks on the road with a loss.
Senior quarterback KJ Jefferson didn’t have his best performance in the loss, throwing for 247 yards and one touchdown but an interception as well. Pittman thinks that seeing Daniels on the other sideline could motivate Jefferson to have a big game.
— Will Whitson (@will_whitson2) September 20, 2023
A formula that could help Arkansas as they try to upset LSU is running the ball. Junior running back AJ Green ran for a staggering 9.6 yards per carry last week. He also found the end zone twice, helping keep the team in the game.
What Arkansas will need to avoid is the penalties they’ve dealt with. The team had 14 penalties for 125 yards against BYU, which played a big part in their loss. Pittman talked about the issue and how the game should be played.
The Battle of the Golden Boot
LSU and Arkansas have had a long rivalry, with their first game against each other being played in 1901. Historically and recently, however, the Tigers have had the upper hand. LSU has won 43 of their 68 matchups, as well as six of the last seven.
Even though Arkansas hasn’t won often, they know it can be done. The one win they have in the last seven matchups came in 2021, when they won a low-scoring 16-13 contest. The Razorbacks also know that a win would not only give them positive momentum, but be a huge blow to the Tigers postseason hopes.
LSU, on the other hand, looks to keep their winning streak alive and not fall any further down the College Football rankings.