Friday, December 13, 2002
Arkansas 14, LSU 3
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas linebacker Quinton Caver's
dream play shook up LSU quarterback Josh Booty.
Caver returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown on LSU's
first play and Robby Hampton's fourth-down completion set up
another TD as the Razorbacks beat the 24th-ranked Tigers 14-3 on
"I told the guys that I had a dream last night that I
intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown and it
happened," Caver said.
Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said the interception ignited the
"It set the tempo, put some doubt in the head of their
quarterback and was just what we needed," Nutt said.
Despite constant rain, the Razorbacks (6-5, 3-5 SEC) didn't
commit a turnover and played the field-position game to the hilt.
Arkansas' Richie Butler often punted from the LSU side of the
field and, at one point, the Tigers (7-4, 5-3) started from their
12, 14, 8, 28, 2, 20 and 3.
"We'd eventually get them stopped, but then they'd punt the
ball down to the 10-yard line and we'd start out with bad field
position again," LSU coach Nick Saban said.
The Razorbacks, who beat No. 23 Mississippi State last week,
became bowl-eligible with the victory. The loss cost the Tigers a
share of the Western Division title with Auburn and might have
knocked them out of the Cotton Bowl.
Arkansas protected a 7-3 lead for 40 minutes.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Razorbacks' Jermaine Brooks
recovered a fumbled punt at the LSU 19, but Arkansas was too
exuberant and received a 15-yard penalty. Faced with fourth-and-4,
Nutt called time.
Boo Williams, Hampton's main receiver all day, picked off
cornerback Robert Davis, and Richard Smith turned up the sideline
for Hampton's 18-yard pass. Freshman Brandon Holmes, who gained 143
yards on 42 carries in his first start, got outside from the 11 and
bulled into the end zone.
"For an 18-year-old (Holmes) to touch the ball 42 times without
a fumble is awesome," Nutt said.
The Tigers did not make a first down on their first five
possessions of the second half. Their failures included a
third-and-1 when 275-pound Tommy Banks was inches shy.
LSU quarterback Josh Booty, who was 73-of-132 for 1,036 yards
and 10 touchdowns and one interception in the past four games, was
only 6-of-27 for 65 yards with two interceptions.
"Things just didn't click," Booty said. "It's hard to play
with your backs against the wall and we just never got things
Certain to have trouble scoring without running back Fred
Talley, Arkansas couldn't have asked for a better start.
On LSU's first play, as soon as Booty began to retreat, senior
linebacker Caver was on the move to his left. Intent on throwing to
Jerel Myers on the right sideline, Booty never saw Caver, who
tipped the ball before gathering in his first career interception
and heading for the end zone.
Domanick Davis returned a short kickoff 35 yards to the Arkansas
45 and the Tigers made three first downs before they bogged down at
the 8. Davis made nothing inside on first down and Booty was
incomplete on second and third down before John Cobello kicked a
27-yard field goal.
Twice in the second quarter, the Tigers failed near midfield.
The Tigers had a first down at their 49, but Tony Bua dropped
Davis for a 5-yard loss on a sweep into the short side of the field
and Booty threw incomplete when Caver applied pressure with a
Butler's 51-yard punt and a penalty on the Tigers put them in
another hole at their 14. LSU made two first downs before facing
third-and-1 at midfield. The Tigers lined up in a power formation,
but Booty pulled out from under center without the ball and
recovered the fumble for a half-yard loss.