Arkansas drove the field in the final seconds to take a win over Mississippi State, displaying the poise that had been the key to the hot start to the season.
Though the final score was a nail biter, the first half of the game saw Arkansas control the line of scrimmage and win the special teams match-ups.
State scored with just .07 on the clock after the Hogs committed multiple penalties to provide the opportunity.
That score was a big momentum swing, as the Bulldogs would also get the ball to start the second half. The first drive was productive, and Arkansas was suddenly behind.
The lead changed hands a couple of times, and many felt it was over when State scored with just 2:22 left in the game to take a 28-23 lead.
KJ Jefferson then took control, and drove down the field, getting a little help on a fourth down incompletion where the Bulldog defender held the receiver and kept the drive alive.
Jefferson used his feet to avoid tacklers getting the ball close before Dominic Johnson capped off the drive and the game with just 21 seconds to go.
Arkansas converted the 2 pt conversion on the ground.
Mississippi State dove to within field goal range, and after a rough start on special teams, Mike Leach sent a freshman placekicker out instead of a senior who had a rough start.
It did not go well, as the kick was off from the start and the Hogs started celebrating.
Leach went to the press conference and derided his kickers publicly before stating they would hold an open tryout on campus.
As you can imagine, this did not endear him to fans, especially when photos soon emerged showing Arkansas freshman place kicker Cam Little was among the first to put an arm around his opposing counterpart following the missed attempt.
Little would receive SEC freshman of the week honors for his work against the Bulldogs.
Arkansas improved on special teams, and again ran for over 200 yards on the day.
They are currently the top rushing team in the SEC and ranked 4th nationally.
On this day, it was red shirt freshman Dominic Johnson who carried the workload, though Treylon Smith and Rocket Sanders had significant snaps.
Arkansas must now turn their attention to LSU and a coveted night game in the SEC.
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Keys to the Game:
Penalties: Arkansas is among the most penalized teams in the SEC, something they must clean up if they want to win the close games.
Defensive penalties in the secondary were costly a week ago, but Miles Slusher played a very solid game in place of Jalen Catalon, who is lost for the season.
Run the dang ball!: Arkansas will look to keep running the ball with authority in this one.
LSU overachieved versus Alabama’s run game a week ago, holding them to only 6 yards. Overall.
The LSU run defense is 7th in the SEC allowing 148 yards a game. Which LSU defense will show up?
Will it be the one from the Alabama game or the defense that gave up 265 yards on the ground to Ole Miss?
Quiet the Crowd: Overall, Arkansas has fared well in night gamesat LSU.
Arkansas needs to take the crowd out of this one as early as possible and break the will of an already fractured team and fanbase.
LSU sits at 4-5 overall and likely will need this game to reach bowl eligibility.
The predictions are all over the place for this one, with Arkansas a 2.5 point road favorite and LSU favored in the Power Index.
If the over/under of 59 is even close, I like the Hogs in this one.
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