LSU Arkanasas Football

LSU players Tory Carter (44) and Nick Storz (85) carry "The Boot" trophy off the field after defeating Arkansas 27-24 in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

LSU is the victor in the battle of the Boot over Arkansas for the fifth consecutive year. The Tigers won 27-24 in a back-and-forth game in Arkansas.

The highlight to Saturday’s victory was the Tigers' ability to maintain most of the time of possession. The offense held on to the ball for 41 minutes and 43 seconds compared to the 18 minutes and 17 seconds Felipe Franks and Arkansas did.

Saturday’s matchup was contentious as both teams looked to improve their losing records. Following the game LSU advances to 3-3 on the season.

The Tiger’s offense, led by true freshman quarterback TJ Finley, seemed battle tested and was able to come up with critical yards in the win. Finley threw for 271 yards and connected with his primary receiver Terrace Marshall for 57 yards.

Late in the second quarter Finley lost one of his targets, senior Racey McMath, who scored the first touchdown of the game. This touchdown was also the seniors’ first receiving touchdown of the season. McMath would head to locker room due to a pulled hamstring.

The team was also able to gain momentum through their ability to run the ball. Historically entering the game, LSU under Head Coach Ed Orgeron had a record of 25-1 against opponents when a player would rush for more than 100 yards. Today, sophomore Tyrion Davis-Price carried the ball for 104 yards and one touchdown, and now LSU is 26-1 when a player rushes for more than 100 yards.

“Tyrion Davis Price gave us a spark in the run game,” Coach Orgeron said in a press conference. “He was physical in the things he needed to be.”

Price has been an asset to the Tiger’s team this fall, through his help and that of Chris Curry and John Emery, LSU has been able to manage their games through their run game. However, this weekend the main running back who received most of the carries, 24, would be Price. Late in the first half, John Emery had a costly fumble which led to an Arkansas score and had his touches reduced to 12.

Another costly mistake from the offense was the amount of penalty yards against them. There were two critical holding calls, one late in the second quarter and the other early in the third. Both calls were a blockade for the tigers marching down field. Similarly, both calls brought the ball back after long receptions had been made.

TJ Finley played the entirety of the game, with no late substitutions for the other freshman quarterback Max Johnson. It appears that the coaching staff and players are both satisfied with Finley’s performances this year and look to him to take on the replacement role for the injured Myles Brennan.

“Just he [Finley] has ice in his veins and he has a lot of confidence and he practices that way,” Orgeron said. “But overall he showed that he can win a big game at the end.”

Finley threw the ball for 271 yards, had two throwing touchdowns and completed 27 out of his 42 passing attempts. Comparing Finley to the other side of the field, he had a good game. Arkansas quarterback Felipe Franks threw the ball for 339 yards and threw one touchdown; however, Franks also threw a costly interception.

The game was never in one team’s total control. Both teams had a difficulty of pulling away with the lead. The game was decided in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The tigers were up by three points, 27 to 24, the rain was coming down and the players were exhausted. Arkansas failed to convert a third down pass on LSU’s 27-yard line, leaving AJ Reed, Arkansas’ kicker, to drill a 44-yard field goal to tie the game. After the snap, the outside rusher, who struggled throughout the game, Jay Ward, unleashed fury diving past the line and deflecting the kick, leaving the attempt short, and a win for the Tigers.

“Big time players make big time plays at big moments,” Jabril Cox, LSU linebacker said about Jay Wards clutch play. “Even though earlier in the game he had a couple struggles he came back and fought and that’s just a testament for us working hard these throughout these past few weeks”

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