FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP)No. 7 LSU forced and recovered a fumble on the Razorbacks’ final drive with 1:19 left, and its defense held Arkansas to 249 yards in the Tigers’ 13-10 win Saturday.
The victory kept LSU (8-2, 6-1 Southeastern Conference, No. 7 CFP) atop the SEC West standings with two games left in the regular season and kept its College Football Playoff chances alive.
”We are far from a finished product,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said. ”I don’t think anybody in that locker room thinks we have arrived.”
Arkansas (5-5, 2-4) attempted to rally in the fourth quarter behind third-string quarterback Cade Fortin. He entered in the third quarter to replace an ineffective Malik Hornsby and threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Matt Landers with 13:12 left to pull Arkansas within three.
Josh Williams ran for 122 yards and scored LSU’s only touchdown, a 1-yarder, late in the third quarter to give the Tigers a 10-point lead. LSU’s offense otherwise struggled, with only one of its 13 series yielding more than 40 yards.
LSU freshman linebacker Harold Perkins Jr. had four sacks and two forced fumbles – stripping Fortin late in the game. The defense had eight tackles for loss and held Arkansas to 3.7 yards per play.
Arkansas sacked LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels seven times, limiting the SEC’s top rusher at the position to 10 yards on 19 carries. Daniels completed 8 of 15 passes for 86 yards and an interception.
”I think the defense played so well that that gave us a chance. They kept us in it,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. ”I thought when Landers got the long one that we were going to rally around that and it seemed like it was the same story. Just didn’t seem to find a way to be consistent.”
The Razorbacks were without their usual starting quarterback, KJ Jefferson, announcing minutes before kickoff that Jefferson would not play due to a shoulder injury. Fortin finished 8 of 13 for 92 yards with the score and the lost fumble.
LIKE THE OLD DAYS
Arkansas’ 249 yards is the fewest LSU has allowed an SEC opponent to gain since Texas A&M managed just 169 in 2019. LSU won the national championship that season.
THE INJURY TOLL
Arkansas entered Saturday with 13th best output in total offense in FBS. Jefferson had thrown for 17 touchdowns against three interceptions and had run for 425 yards and six scores.
LSU was able to pack its defense into the box without Jefferson behind center.
”Not seeming to have much success on any of it right now,” Pittman said. ”And part of it is they’ve got to respect that the quarterback is going to pull the ball and throw it and if they don’t, you’ve got problems.”
LSU isn’t likely to jump given the margin of victory, but the Tigers won a game they couldn’t afford to lose.
LSU: Looked much different Saturday than in last week’s win over Alabama. LSU’s College Football Playoff hopes may hinge on which team shows up at each game.
Arkansas: Remained a game short of bowl eligibility, dropping to .500 in Sam Pittman’s third season. Arkansas won nine games last year.
LSU: Hosts UAB on Nov. 19.
Arkansas: Hosts Ole Miss on Nov. 19 in its final home game of the season.
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