Monday, 29 November 2010 15:26

LSU’s Hopes Go Down Bowl As Arkansas Prevails

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Touchdown passes of 85, 80 and 39 yards by Arkansas 6-foot-6 quarterback by Ryan Mallett were too much as LSU's inconsistent  season on offense  continued and the No. 12 Razorbacks handed the No. 6 Tigers a 31-23 setback in rustic War Memorial Stadium on Saturday at Little Rock.  On line was a shot at the BCS Championship and high post-season bowl pick.

LSU was outplayed offensively and defensively and Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson again showed he wasn't comfortable passing from the picket and was sacked four times. He was 16-of-28 passing for 184 yards, while running back Steven Ridley carried 77 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns. He became the 13th Tiger to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in a single season, but the game's best rusher was the Porkers' Knile Davis, who carried 30 times for 152 yards against the SEC's No. 1 defense.

On four occasions, the Tigers went for the field goal instead of the touchdown. With three field goals in four attempts, Tigers kicker Josh Jasper tied LSU's single-season field goal record with 26 in 2010, He converted from 46, 20 and 36 after missing his first attempt from 43.{sidebar id=4}

Though Jasper continued to shine, the Tigers' inability to convert scoring opportunities into touchdowns caught with them against the big-play Porkers.

"Defensively, we gave up big plays and anytime you give up those kind of big plays, it's very difficult to come up with a victory." said Miles. "Offensively, you have to continue drives and we didn't control our side of the ball when we had to."

Mallett finished 13-of-23 passing for 320 yards and two interceptions. Wide receiver Cody Hamilton had the two longest scores for Arkansas and 164 yards on three catches. Joe Adams had three grabs for 60 yards including a 39-yard touchdown on fourth-and-3 that put the Razorbacks ahead 28-20,

LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson  returned four kickoffs for  183 yards, give the Tigers a short field to work on. The All-American also got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after he made a fair catch on an Arkansas punt. He was bumped after he made his catch by defensive end Will Coleman. Peterson attempted to shove Coleman away, but also had the ball in his hand, brushing Coleman with it and drawing a flag.

"Actually I didn't know what he called," said Peterson. "Coleman was all in my face and ball just happened to be in my hand and I brushed  him back a little bit."

LSU came in ranked as the SEC's No. 1 defense, but for the third time in the past five games the Tigers gave up big yards to one of the SEC's top offenses. The Tiger gave up 464 yards Saturday after allowing 420 last week to Ole Miss and 526 to Auburn. No 1 defense?

A wild ending to the first half included a punt by the Porker, a fumbled snap by Jefferson that Arkansas recovered at the LSU 21, and an interception by Tigers cornerback Morris Claiborne in the end zone o the next play. LSU advanced to midfield, but punted into the Arkansas end zone with six seconds to play.

The Tigers were then burned for an 80-yard touchdown pass from Mallett to Hamilton to stun the Tigers.

LSU's All-American cornerback Patrick Peterson returned four kickoffs for 183 yards, giving the Tigers a short field to work on. He also got an unsportsmanship conduct penalty after he made a fair catch on an Arkansas punt,. He was bumped after he made a fair catch by defensive end Will Coleman. Peterson attempted to shove Coleman away, but also had the ball in  his hand, brushing Coleman with it and drawing a flag,

"Actuality I didn't know what he called." said Peterson. "Coleman was all in my face and the ball just happened to be in my hand and  I brushed him back a little bit. I think it was a bad call on the ref's part."

After the game, Porkers coach Bobby Petrino used his favorite saying again, "We didn't come here to paint. We came to win a  game."

Petrino did the incredible, he out Les Miles'd Les Miles.

LSU chatter:

Coach Les Miles (On the loss) "We haven't felt this way in a while. We'll look forward to playing again. It's now how we want to remember this team."

(On the Arkansas TD pass before halftime) "Who would have they would hit the long  ball like they did for the score. Certainly not I."

Quarterback Jordan Jefferson (On rushing for 34 yards on 14 carries)  "A majority of my carries were scrambles. I didn't have that many designed run plays. We ran it, but they didn't penetrate on the back, They keyed on me the whole time. They tried to  keep me from running the ball."

Cornerback Patrick Peterson (On the TD pass just before the half and the defensive backs collision) "We have to take more responsibility in that situation. Karnell (Hatcher) being the hard-hitting safety  that he is, and Morris (Claiborne) being the cornerback, we just have to go in there and make a tackle. But things happen.

"We thought they were just going to give us a simple run. That play put  us behind the 8 ball."

Middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard  (On the Arkansas offense) "They had a great scheme, overloading one side, a stretch play. It's hard to stop.  Outside of the bombs, we held them in check. They get your D-line going and it's hard for the linebackers to read and fit gaps."

Running back  Stevan Ridley  (On Arkansas) "Their offense came to play and so did their defense. Anytime a team comes to play like they did on both sides of the ball, you have to give them credit. They beat us in a lot of different ways."

Safety Karnell Hatcher (On guarding Arkansas receivers) "I was burned by Hamilton earlier on an 85-yard strike and on that play I stormed in for support. Hamilton made contact with Claiborne, but Hamilton stayed up and raced the length of the field. That play wasn't special at all. It was a simple post route and we didn't make the tackle."

FROM ESPN's Chris Low: "Something was different about LSU's defense the past few games, and it ended up costing the Tigers a trip to a BCS bowl. Over the entire course of the season, they were still the best defense in the SEC, but gave up too many big plays and too many total yards in their last four SEC games to be considered a great defense. In those four games, including the 31-23 loss to Arkansas, the Tigers gave up seven scoring plays of 39 yards or longer. They gave up an average of 433.8 total yards in those four games and yielded 19 or more first downs in all four games, The big plays were the killer.  The Hogs hit them with two touchdown passes of 80 yards or longer. That's the kind of thing you simply can't do and expect to be a great defense."...

TIGERS TRACKS: LB Kelvin Sheppard had 10 tackles against the Hogs for his sixth double figure tackle effort of the season. FS Karnell Hatcher also had 10 tackles...CB Morris Claiborne secured his fifth interception of the season...P Derek Helton boomed an 82-yard punt, second longest in program history only behind an 86-yard effort against Kentucky in 2002.l The punt was knocked out of bounds on the three-yard line to give Helton 15 punts inside the opponent 20-yard line this season...RB Spencer Ware  hauled in a career-long reception while WR Kardon Boone collected a career-best 24-yard catch...PK Josh Jasper had his run of eight field goal goals made come to a close on a 43-yard miss. He rebounded to kick three field goals...RB Stevan Ridley scored his fourth multi-touchdown game of his career. It marked the fourth time in the last six games and third straight multi-touchdown effort for Ridley. He has 14 rushing touchdowns for the season and vaulted into a fifth-place tie with Charles Alexander (1978) and Dalton Hillard (1985) on the all-time list...

At the end of its 10-win regular season, LSU was ranked 11th in the AP and Harris Interactive polls, and 12th by  the Coaches. The Tigers were ranked No. 10 in the BCS Standings released on Sunday.

LSU will wait until after the Dec. 4 SEC Championship Game to learn its postseason bowl destination, an 11th straight trip for the Bengals.

Auburn replaced Oregon as No. 1 in the BCS Standings and Boise State fell to 11th in the BCS Standings.


by Ed Staton
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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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