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LSU vs. Arkansas

Betting Line: Arkansas -3.5

11/27/10

 

It's going down in the SEC. That's the best way to describe this week's game pitting LSU and Arkansas against one another. The prize is likely to be a spot in a BCS game. This game is always a thriller and these two are big rivals. Arkansas was last seen holding off Mississippi State on the road in double overtime. They blew a 10 point 4th quarter lead, but held on to win 38-31. The Tigers have won three in a row with victories over Alabama, ULM, and Ole Miss since dropping a close game to Auburn. Vegas has tabbed the Razorbacks as a 4 point home favorite.

The Hogs looked good against Mississippi State, but a few key errors almost cost them the game. Although he had a big game with 30 carries for 187 yards and 2 TDs, RB Knile Davis almost ruined it all when he put the ball on the turf and the Bulldogs recovered. They turned that turnover into a FG, but easily could have found the end zone if not for a big defensive stand by the Razorbacks. QB Ryan Mallett was his usual self converting 17/26 for 305 yards, 3 TDs, and an INT. He connected with WR Jarius Wright on an 89 yard pass for a TD. It was a one play scoring drive. That play symbolizes the Arkansas offense as a whole. They can score, and they can do it in a hurry!

The Tigers put together a late rally to stop Ole Miss from pulling off a big upset. In the end they prevailed 43-36, but needed 20 4th quarter points to do so. RB Stevan Ridley provided much of the offensive firepower by scoring 3 TDs and picking up a total of 89 yards. QB Jordan Jefferson passed for 254 yards, 1 TD, and an INT. He rushed 9 times for 45 yard and a TD. The 36 points the Rebels scored are the most LSU has allowed all year. The defense is usually very good and ranks 8th in the nation in Points Against at 16.5 PPG. This road game against the arguably the best offense in the SEC will be their biggest test of the year. 

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Arkansas is a pass happy offense. They rank 3rd in the country in Pass Yardage at 340.1 YPG. QB Ryan Mallet has one of the best arms in the entire NCAA. Not only that, but he has a stable of capable WRs including Jerious Wright, and Greg Childs. RB Knile Davis has been the secret weapon lately. While opposing defenses focus on stopping the pass, he has been carving them up for big yards on the ground. He has carried the ball 138 times for 1,031 yard and 12 TDs this year. That is an average of 7 YPC. LSU has solid defense, but they will have their hands full trying to keep Mallett and company in check.

It's amazing that LSU has come this far with Jordan Jefferson at QB. He isn't terrible, but he clearly isn't a good passer. He's got only 4 TD passes this year. He sort of makes up for it with his legs. He's got 97 carries for 349 yard and 6 TDs this year. RB Stevan Ridley does most of the dirty work on offense. He has 208 carries for 967 yards and 12 TDs in 2010. The Arkansas defense has been susceptible to running attacks this year, so he can take advantage of that. Mississippi's State Vick Ballard was the latest to prove this point by rushing 33 times for 150 yards and 3 TDs. Ridley should have no problem picking up where Ballard left off.

We have conflicting opinions here. We have one set of numbers favoring LSU and the other giving us a margin of Arkansas 3. So, we'd lean towards taking anything more than +3 with LSU here in a game that figures to come down to the last play. Not strong enough to warrant a wager, but LSU +3.5
 

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