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LSU ARKANSAS PREVIEW & PREDICTION

By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips


Following up their epic, statement overtime win over Alabama, LSU travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on Sam Pittman's Razorbacks...with a kickoff time set for the crack of dawn....aka 11am central.

How are human beings playing football at that early hour, with the sleep still in their eyes?

Recently, LSU has been a mixed bag when it comes to early morning games, losing at Missouri in 2020, beating Florida in Death Valley last season, before getting trounced by Tennessee this past month.

Could this be setting up for a trap game?

A tired LSU squad riding an emotional high, a week where everyone outside the locker room only wanted to talk about Alabama?

Could Brian Kelly's squad be distracted, perhaps even a little anxious concerning some reunions at play between these two programs?

Arkansas Head Coach Sam Pittman will square off against his former apprentice, LSU OL Coach Brad Davis, the pair constituting the two premier offensive line coaches in America.

Both share a deep love and respect for each other, although due to their shared competitive fire, both Davis and Pittman will supply their respective defensive line coaches with enough tendency ammunition to storm the Alamo.

Then there's an intriguing transfer swap that took place this offseason:

After multiple strong years as starters, Arkansas lost two Louisiana-native veterans in their secondary, Greg Brooks Jr. and Joe Foucha, both leaving the Razorbacks for home and a shot at representing DBU.

Going the other way, red shirt freshman defensive end Landon Jackson and solid 2021 starter Dwight McGlothern departed for the Hogs, with Jackson grabbing a few sacks while McGlothern has impressed as Arkansas' best DB, hauling in 3 INTs.

As for any concerns over the readiness of Kelly's squad, at least health has been on their side more than Arkansas' over recent times.

One major storyline heading into Saturday is the health of Hogs starting QB KJ Jefferson, nursing an injured throwing shoulder.

Playing through the pain barrier during last week's humiliating defeat to Liberty, Jefferson worsened the issue, unable to practice or throw passes.

On the other hand, LSU didn't sustain any injuries against Alabama. In fact, the long awaited return of OL Garrett Dellinger could be on the cards.

With Jefferson's throwing shoulder on the ropes, leading receiver Jadon Hazlewood being unable to replace the explosive Treylon Burks and Arkansas appearing more or less one dimensional against LSU's evolved defense, tired or not, distracted or otherwise, exhausted etc, you still have to sense this scenario plays out well for LSU's rabid defensive front.

When I look at Arkansas' biggest strength and weakness, I see their rushing game behind Raheim Sanders as their supreme guiding light, yet their pass defense is remarkable in its woefulness, specifically when covering slot receivers or hybrid tight ends.

As it stands, Arkansas owns the 14th lowest ranked coverage grade on Pro Football Focus, with Arkansas State even posting a better coverage ranking...and that grade is actually an improvement from earlier this season.

Arkansas have 6 defenders who've allowed 18 or more catches this season, giving up over 1,300 yards after the catch and allowing 17 passing touchdowns directly charged to players in coverage (Simeon Blair giving up 5 and Latavius Brini surrendering 3 already).

While LSU themselves are just 38th from the bottom in coverage nationally, in comparison, only one Tiger has allowed 20 catches and, as a unit, just 9 touchdowns directly.

Could LSU take advantage of Arkansas' profound weakness in defending the pass?

This should be a game for Jayden Daniels to connect routinely with Kayshon Boutte, Malik Nabers, and Brian Thomas Jr. while looking for LSU to work Jack Bech back into the game plan.

Concerning the danger of Sanders, the Hogs' All-American level back, LSU could be hit back at first, giving up easy yards early, but could they find adjustments and gather themselves after a torturous game vs Alabama?

Already over 1,000 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 6 performances of 100+ yards, Sanders is a definitive worry for LSU, supplying Arkansas with their strongest weapon.

But he will be running into a brick wall in Mekhi Wingo, Jaquelin Roy, Harold Perkins, and of course BJ Ojulari.


PREDICTION:

This game will depend a lot on KJ Jefferson's availability.

If he's there, Arkansas has an outside chance to disrupt LSU.

If he's not playing, Arkansas will have a long day against Matt House's bruising defensive unit.

LSU should have trouble early, allowing cheap yards to Sanders, but once the team make adjustments, they clamp down on the run by the second half.

Jayden Daniels finds his receivers early and often, hitting Boutte for 2 scores, Bech and Nabers for one apiece, and taking over the game with gashing runs.

LSU should be able to overcome any distractions, road weariness, or any other factors....this team isn't merely settled with a win over Alabama. They have a plane headed for Atlanta to catch.


LSU 38

ARKANSAS 16


MVP: BOUTTE 2 TDs, 138 yards


By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips

©️ 2022 Uninterrupted Writings Inc


















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2 Comments


I like your analysis and score prediction. We need another solid showing by Special Teams during this game. Win the turnover battle.

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Lonn Phillips Sullivan
Lonn Phillips Sullivan
Nov 12, 2022
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Thank you my brotha! LSU should win here and anything less would be a big letdown

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