2:30 PM ET, November 26, 2004
War Memorial Stadium, LITTLE ROCK, AR
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- This time, the War Memorial Stadium mojo that had Arkansas believing it could beat anyone in that venue never materialized.
There would be no last-minute dramatics to salvage the game -- and the season -- as LSU (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today; No. 14 AP) took charge early and beat the Razorbacks 43-14 on Friday. The win came in the same stadium where, two years ago, Arkansas beat another ranked LSU team by one point on a touchdown scored with nine seconds left.
"This is a difficult place to play," said LSU coach Nick Saban. "We hadn't won here in a while and they hadn't lost here in a while. It was nice to win."
The loss was Arkansas' first in 18 games at Little Rock under coach Houston Nutt and keeps the Razorbacks (5-6, 3-5) from qualifying for a seventh consecutive bowl game.
LSU (9-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) was led by Marcus Randall, who ran for two touchdowns and threw two more to Joseph Addai. Randall was 10-for-14 for 173 yards and had 79 yards rushing. Alley Broussard added 81 yards rushing for the Tigers, who ended the game with 26 unanswered points.
"Coach kept reminding us about what happened here two years ago all week. I told coach that I felt comfortable running the ball," Randall said. "Their defense is pretty simple and our scout team did a great job imitating them all week."
Matt Jones, hobbled by a hamstring injury, could not muster the flair that has often sparked the Razorback offense. The senior quarterback and the team's leading rusher was sacked three times and had minus-10 yards on the ground. Confined to the pocket, he was intercepted twice on 12-of-29 passing for 152 yards and two TD passes.
"(My hamstring) was wrapped up pretty good, but it still bothered me," Jones said.
Added Nutt: "We would have scored more if Matt had been healthy. It was better than it was last week, but you know when he doesn't force the option he wasn't healthy."
Peyton Hillis ran for 66 yards had a touchdown reception and Steven Harris had five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown for Arkansas.
Each team scored off a botched special teams play early in the game. Arkansas, trailing 10-7 with 13:31 left in the second quarter, faked a punt on fourth-and-15 in its own territory. Jeremy Davis' pass was incomplete, and LSU took over on downs.
On the next play, Randall hit Addai for a 29-yard touchdown.
Arkansas again faced fourth-and-long on the ensuing possession and punted. Davis' kick was short and hit LSU's Chevis Jackson from behind, glancing off of his feet and rolling toward the goal line. Pierre Brown recovered for Arkansas at the 15, and two plays later Jones threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Harris to make the score 17-14.
The game fell apart for Arkansas after that.
The Tigers moved the ball almost at will throughout the game and, after the first quarter, managed to shut down Arkansas' offense.
LSU never trailed and led 27-14 at the half. Randall ran for a 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter to make it 34-14.
Chris Jackson kicked three field goals, including a career-long 53-yarder.
"We dominated in the second half, which was critical," Saban said. "We controlled the ball and burned a lot of time. The defense had some good turnovers when the game was still a game. I am really proud of what our team accomplished."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-12||6-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-3|
|TD||7:38||JOSEPH ADDAI 20 YD PASS FROM MARCUS RANDALL (RYAN GAUDET KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||7:00||PEYTON HILLIS 7 YD PASS FROM MATT JONES (CHRIS BALSEIRO KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 49 yards.
|FG||0:32||CHRIS JACKSON 46 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 51 yards.
|TD||13:23||JOSEPH ADDAI 29 YD PASS FROM MARCUS RANDALL (RYAN GAUDET KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 29 yards.
|TD||10:09||STEVEN HARRIS 13 YD PASS FROM MATT JONES (CHRIS BALSEIRO KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 15 yards.
|FG||7:50||CHRIS JACKSON 53 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 57 yards.
|TD||0:20||MARCUS RANDALL 1 YD RUN (RYAN GAUDET KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||9:48||MARCUS RANDALL 7 YD RUN (RYAN GAUDET KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 35 yards.
|FG||5:57||CHRIS JACKSON 27 YD FG|
Drive info: 15 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||1:37||SHYRONE CAREY 9 YD RUN (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 66 yards.