<
>

Planning for success: Arkansas' offensive duo can beat LSU

QB Brandon Allen and RB Alex Collins have combined for 1,418 total yards of offense and 18 touchdowns over the past three games. USA TODAY Sports, Icon Sportswire

If you're an Arkansas Razorbacks player, coach or fan, you have to be feeling pretty good about Saturday's matchup with No. 9 LSU. So much of what happened in two different games last Saturday should give Arkansas a lot of confidence.

For starters, Arkansas might have forgotten how to play defense in that tremendously thrilling 53-52 overtime victory at Ole Miss, but Brandon Allen and Alex Collins have turned into one of the SEC's most dynamic duos. This is not a misprint: Allen completed 33 of 45 passes for 442 yards (second most in school history) and a school-record six touchdowns against the Rebels. He also ended the game on a razzle-dazzle two-point conversion run that sent him flying awkwardly into the end zone.

When Allen wasn't carving up Ole Miss' relatively solid defense, Collins was gashing it with one pummeling run after another. He only had 108 total rushing yards, but he averaged 6.4 yards per carry, and no one will forget that frantic fourth-down scamper he had on that improbable lateral/fumble/backward pass from Hunter Henry.

Arkansas has scored at least 50 points in three straight games, the longest such streak for Arkansas since 1916 (also three straight), according to ESPN Stats & Information. During this current spurt, Allen and Collins have combined for 1,418 total yards of offense and 18 touchdowns.

Batman and Robin have ignited a three-game winning streak for an Arkansas team that is firmly back in postseason position with a 5-4 record. Remember, this team went from potential SEC Western Division contenders to major pretenders with a 2-4 record halfway through the month of October.

Now, with LSU coming off an Alabama shellacking and having to play a re-energized -- and extremely confident -- Arkansas team, watch out. There's just something about Bret Bielema and getting his guys prepared for the second half of the season. Last year, the Hogs won three of their last four games.

After checking out the film on LSU, the Hogs should feel good about what their offense can do to an exhausted LSU defense. The Tigers gave up a season-high 434 yards, including 250 rushing yards. Derrick Henry grabbed 210 of those yards and also had three touchdowns. Jake Coker, who has enjoyed a relatively up-and-down season, threw for 184 yards.

Here are the issues presented to LSU: Allen is a better passer than Coker and he'll likely throw the ball a lot more than Coker did (Allen is averaging 31.4 pass attempts per game in SEC play). Collins isn't Henry, but he's a tough runner (averaging 118 yards per game) and Arkansas' offensive line is built to keep pounding an LSU defensive line that was totally dominated over the weekend.

Arkansas has given up just nine sacks this season, while LSU has registered 21 (2.6 per game). Obviously, something will have to give this weekend, but with Arkansas hitting its stride and LSU hitting a crimson wall, the Hogs have the momentum LSU desperately wants as it tries to hold onto its SEC and playoff hopes.

To stay in the hunt, LSU's defense must stop Arkansas' dynamic duo in Death Valley.