LSU's defense shines against Arkansas

Crystal LoGiudice/US Presswire

Tyrann Mathieu had a punt return for a TD, forced 2 fumbles and had a fumble recovery vs Arkansas.

The top-ranked LSU Tigers clinched its fifth SEC West Division title and ran its record to a school-best 12-0 after defeating the third-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks 41-17 on Friday. The Tigers trailed 14-0, but scored 41 of the game’s final 44 points to advance to the SEC Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Most SEC West Titles
Since SEC Title Game Began in 1992

This is LSU’s third win over a top 4 team this season (also won at No. 2 Alabama and against No. 3 Oregon in Arlington, TX).

Only one other time in history has a team been involved in three pre-bowl matchups of AP top-four teams. That came in 1943 when Notre Dame actually played in four matchups of top four teams, winning them all, as they defeated No. 2 Iowa Pre-Flight, No. 3 Army, No. 3 Navy and No. 2 Michigan as the nations’ top-ranked team.

LSU, with the second-ranked defense in the country, gained 494 yards of offense in the win over Arkansas (including nearly 300 yards on the ground), its most in a game since gaining 497 in a win on October 25, 2008 over Georgia - the Tigers' opponent in next week's SEC Championship game.

Not surprisingly, LSU’s defense came to play – limiting Arkansas to 254 total yards. The Razorbacks came into the game with 61 plays going 20-plus yards. In this game, Arkansas managed three such plays, which tied for its second fewest in a game this year. Two of those games ended in losses.

LSU Defense vs Throws Of 20+ Yards
2011 Season

Tyler Wilson completed 14-of-22 passes for 207 yards, but attempted only four passes of 20-plus yards downfield. The Tigers continued their great play on defending such throws. LSU’s Morris Claiborne intercepted a fourth quarter pass to give the Tigers’ its eighth interception on a throw of at least 20 yards this season.

Wilson had completed 65.2 percent of his passes when opponents send five or more pass rushers this season. Against LSU, Wilson completed just four of eight and was sacked four times against five or more pass rushers.