Friday, November 25, 2011
Final: LSU 41, Arkansas 17
By Chris Low
BATON ROUGE, La. -- No. 1 LSU remained perfect Friday by sprinting past No. 3 Arkansas for a 41-17 victory at Tiger Stadium after trailing 14-0 early.
Here's an instant analysis:
How the game was won: LSU trailed 14-0 in the first quarter, but scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter and then dominated the second half with a combination of its bruising running game and big plays on defense.
Turning point: Leading 24-17 entering the fourth quarter, LSU scored a touchdown on its first possession of the fourth quarter and came right back and scored another one following Morris Claiborne's leaping interception, breaking the game wide open.
Stat of the game: LSU held Arkansas to 89 total yards in the second half. For the game, the Hogs were held to 254 total yards. They entered the game averaging 463.3 yards per game, which led the SEC.
Stat of the game II: It was LSU's third win of the season against a top 5 team.
Player of the game: LSU's Tyrann Mathieu, switching over to safety from cornerback to fill in for the injured Eric Reid, had a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown to tie the game at 14-14 in the second quarter. He also forced two fumbles, the first one leading to the Tigers' third touchdown, which put them ahead 21-14 at the half.
Unsung hero: Despite a couple of shaky plays in the first half, LSU senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson came back strong with his best all-around outing of the season. He was 18-of-29 for 208 passing yards, including a 9-yard touchdown to Russell Shepard, and also ran 48 yards for a touchdown.
What it means: LSU (12-0, 8-0) completes a perfect regular season and heads to Atlanta next week to face Georgia in the SEC championship game. The Tigers also put themselves in great shape for a berth in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game, even if they lose to the Bulldogs.