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Bring On The Hogs: 10 Wins In Reach

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Arkansas has been a thorn in Les Miles' side, but the Tigers appear to have the upper hand this season. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.
Arkansas has been a thorn in Les Miles' side, but the Tigers appear to have the upper hand this season. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

The LSU Tigers will close out their regular season at home against the 3-8 Arkansas Razorbacks. After falling hard at Tuscaloosa, the Tigers redeemed themselves against Texas A&M last weekend.

The 24-point victory has reinstalled confidence and preserved the hope of reaching 10 wins for the year. If LSU can beat Arkansas and win their bowl game, Les Miles would become the first coach in school history to win double-digit games in four consecutive seasons.

The Tigers offense is humming along, able to dial up the run or pass on any down and any situation. Jeremy Hill already has more than 1,000 rushing yards for the season. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry have topped 1,000 receiving yards, and Zach Mettenberger needs just 74 passing yards to reach 3,000 for the year. Not bad for a defensive-minded football team in the rugged SEC West.

The Hogs are known for running the ball on offense. Freshman running back Alex Collins leads a rushing attack that averages more than 211 yards per game. Only two teams in the SEC average more than 212 rushing yards per contest (Auburn). However, Arkansas has had a difficult time throwing the ball, especially during obvious passing situations. It ranks dead last in the conference in passing yards per game.

Game Within The Game

Look for John Chavis to use plenty of eight- and nine-man fronts to slow down the Razorbacks. The strategy also includes putting the Hogs in plenty of third-and-long situations and involving the crowd in the game to make life difficult for quarterback Brandon Allen. The Razorbacks have played better at home than on the road this season, in particular on offense.

LSU should keep its offense plowing along and have equal success running and passing against the hapless Hogs. It will be a great surprise if the Tigers are not hoisting the Golden Boot after Friday’s contest.

Series Notes

This is the last time these rivals will play at the conclusion of the regular season. Since the SEC split into divisions more than 20 years ago, the teams traditionally have played on the Friday after Thanksgiving to close the year. Starting next year, Arkansas will finish its season against Missouri and LSU will conclude its campaign against Texas A&M.

The two teams first met in 1901, and LSU leads the all-time series 36-20-2. Since 1996, Regions Bank introduced a large golden trophy in the shape of the two states. LSU has won the coveted Golden Boot 11 times while Arkansas has cherished the trophy just six times.