Oh, what might have been for No.
20 LSU this season, as it sits at 7-3 and 17th in the most
recent College Football Playoff rankings. The Tigers' three losses
have been to teams in the top nine of the rankings, including last
week's heartbreaking overtime setback to Alabama. Les Miles' squad
needs to bounce back against a dangerous Arkansas team that hasn't
won a conference game this season but was within a touchdown of
top-ranked Mississippi State in its most recent contest two weeks ago.
The late-November weather could
help the ground-oriented Razorbacks as they bid for their first league
win, with temperatures expected to be in the low 30s with the possibility of snow. Running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins - the
only pair of teammates in the nation with 800-plus yards on the
ground - certainly will get plenty of work against the Tigers. But
it won't be easy to get into the end zone against LSU, which allows
just 16.3 points a game to rank fifth in the country.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE:
ABOUT LSU (7-3, 3-3 SEC): Facing
a team in Arkansas that averages 5.7 yards per rush means LSU needs
everyone ready to go on Saturday. That includes linebacker Kendell Beckwith,
one of the top players on a defense that has allowed less than 110
rushing yards per game over the last month who feels he'll
be ready despite a sore hamstring that limited him against Alabama.
“I could go sideline to sideline. All-out sprint? Nah,” Beckwith
told the Acadiana Advocate. “It was hurting. I knew I had to
toughen up and man through it.”
ABOUT ARKANSAS (4-5, 0-5):
Despite its winless mark in conference play, Arkansas still has
dreams of a bowl game, and with two wins in its final three games,
it can achieve that goal. It won't be easy - Mississippi and
Missouri follow the visit from LSU - but the Razorbacks want to
avoid going three straight seasons without a bowl bid for the first
time since 1992-94. “We talk about it a lot,” quarterback Brandon Allen
told NWA Media. “This is a three-game season now. It's all about
finishing these last three games and taking it each game at a time
and winning each game at a time.”
1. LSU is 25-1 following a loss
under Miles, with the only back-to-back defeats coming in 2008 - when
the Tigers fell to Mississippi and Arkansas in consecutive weeks.
2. Arkansas has outgained six of
its nine opponents this season and ranks fourth
nationally with an average time of possession of 34:15 per game.
3. True freshmen have scored 18
of LSU's 37 offensive touchdowns this year, with QB Brandon Harris
accounting for nine (three rushing, six passing).
PREDICTION: LSU 31, Arkansas 24