16-13 LSU OT LOSS SENDS BOOT TO ARK
In 2019 Arkansas came into Baton Rouge with a record of 2-8. The 2019 Tigers were undefeated and looking to stay that way, however, The Boot was still on the line. A four foot tall trophy weighing nearly 200 pounds, and valued at $10,000. It is said to be the heaviest trophy in a college football rivalry.
While that 2019 Tigers team did win the game handily, they nearly forgot The Boot on the field. One former player told me as they were carrying the trophy off the field “We have other trophies to worry about than this one.” He was right, the Tigers went on to win the National Championship and ranked as possibly the best college football team ever.
This 2021 team is young, banged up, has several starters inactive, out for the season, or waiting to come back for injury. We’ll wait and see.
This season though, The Boot staying in Baton Rouge could mean more for these Tigers than the National Championship did for the 2019 team. The Tigers need to win two of their next three games to become bowl eligible. Winning this game would mean a lot especially given their next two games are ULM and Texas A&M. Both games are at home, both games are winnable. However, winning one game and knowing you can win out the rest of your games, is much better than the pressure of must win games.
The Razorbacks won the toss and elected to defer to the second half. Things started out slow for the Tigers, a three and out, which Arkansas was able to capitalize on. Bryce Stephens was able to return the punt for 26 yards to the Arkansas 47. Negating more than half of the yardage of Atkins’ punt.
The Tigers defense would bend but not break and only allow a field goal to the Razorbacks on the shortened field.
Max Johnson would play two series for the Tigers before his night was through. He finished 3/6 for 21 yards. Garrett Nussmeier came into the game and right away went for the home run. Throwing a deep ball to Malik Nabers for 57 yards and to the end zone. Unfortunately the pass was incomplete. Broken up by Myles Slusher.
Nussmeier would move the Tigers into scoring position, and then on 4th and six from the Arkansas 15, Cade York would knot the score up with a 34 yard field goal.
The Tigers defense brought their lunch pails to play in the first half, forcing four straight three-and-outs and six punts through the Razorbacks next six series of the half. Linebackers Micah Baskerville and Damone Clark both played lights out in the first half. Both racking up TFLs, with Baskerville having a sack as well. “We’ve been sending pressure” said Baskerville. “We’re coming after them. We’ve for sure changed in how we have played in the past two weeks.”
The effort for this defense was there all night for the Tigers, it showed even in the second half. Even when tackling broke down a bit. “It didn’t go as we planned” said Clark. “But I am extremely proud of this defense. This is the second week that we’ve come out and fought until the very end. It was just that one play that we fell short.”
On defense, the past two weeks, LSU looks to have moved back to something that gave coordinators fits in 2019, the 3-4. “We went more of a 3-4 look” said Orgeron. “We did some things we thought that would help us. Got some more pressure, we missed some plays tonight, but overall I think the defense has been lights out. The job that Damone Clark has been doing, I think the defense has been playing really well.”
In the second half, Arkansas, made adjustments. Tackling for the Tigers seem to break down a bit. On the Razorbacks second possession QB K.J. Jefferson scrambled at the LSU 43 and when he looked to be in the grasp of a Tiger defender close to the Tigers bench, broke free and found Dominique Johnson wide open at the 17 yard line. No defender within ten yards of him. Johnson would score easily, and tie the game back up at 10.
On their next possession Arkansas would take the lead with a 27 yard field goal by Cam Little.
Arkansas would kick the ball back to the Tigers, the Tigers would drive and get inside the red zone only to settle for a field goal. Tying the game at 13.
The Tigers would hold the number four rushing offense to one rushing yard, and 28 total yards in the fourth quarter with zero points.
In overtime Garrett Nussmeier went from one of the biggest plays; completing on a 3rd and 20 for 24 yards. To one of the worst plays possible; throwing a pick. In the end zone. In overtime.
Arkansas would get the ball at the 25, four plays later Cam Little lined up to kick a 37 yard field and seal the victory for the Razorbacks.
Final Score: Ark 16 – LSU 13