Arkansas knocks off No. 1 LSU, 50-48

Af­ter triple over­time, Ra­zor­backs end na­tional ti­tle hopes for Tigers

The Covington News - - SPORTS - By Brett Mar­tel

BA­TON ROUGE, La. — De­spite all of LSU’s tal­ent and flair for the dra­matic, the Tigers rarely seemed com­fort­able with life at the top.

Done in by an­other Heis­man Tro­phy hope­ful in an­other triple-over­time de­feat, LSU will lose its No. 1 rank­ing for the sec­ond time this sea­son, and likely the last.

Dar­ren McFad­den rushed for 206 yards and three touch­downs, and even threw for an­other score to lift Arkansas to a 50-48 vic­tory over LSU on Fri­day.

LSU still has a good shot to play a bowl game in New Or­leans, but not the one they wanted — the BCS cham­pi­onship on Jan. 7.

“It’s a sick feel­ing, los­ing an­other tough game that we played our hearts out,” said LSU tight end Richard Dick­son, who caught five passes for 69 yards. “We can think about it for a while, but we have to come out next week and win an SEC ti­tle.”

The Tigers (10-2, 6-2 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence) had al­ready clinched the SEC West Di­vi­sion and will move on to the con­fer­ence ti­tle game in At­lanta on Dec. 1.

Win­ning the SEC ti­tle will put LSU in the Sugar Bowl. No team with two losses has ever played in the na­tional ti­tle game. A few more up­sets could put LSU back in the de­bate, but it could’ve been much eas­ier for the Tigers if they had got­ten a han­dle on McFad­den.

“Cer­tainly, he had a Heis­man per­for­mance to­day,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “Right now, there’s a goal of our foot­ball team taken off the board and it’s sad. ... Tonight, we’ll be sick.”

McFad­den’s rush­ing touch­downs went for 16 yards in the sec­ond quar­ter, 73 yards in the third pe­riod and 9 yards in the sec­ond OT. His TD pass was a flaw­lessly ex­e­cuted 24-yarder over the mid­dle to Pey­ton Hil­lis af­ter McFad­den froze the de­fense with a play-ac­tion fake.

Heis­man vot­ers will have to think twice about leav­ing McFad­den off of the top of their bal­lot.

“How­ever you want to put it,” McFad­den said, “num­bers speak for them­selves.”

Hil­lis scored four TDs, the last in the third over­time. Felix Jones ran for the crit­i­cal 2-point con­ver­sion to make it 50-42 for the Ra­zor­backs (8-4, 4-4).

LSU re­sponded when Matt Flynn found Bran­don LaFell for a 9-yard TD, but Mat­ter­ral Richard­son in­ter­cepted the 2-point con­ver­sion at­tempt, and Arkansas’ bench emp­tied onto the field in tri­umph, hav­ing ended the na­tion’s long­est home win­ning streak at 19 games.

That had to dev­as­tate most of the 92,606 fans who filled Tiger Sta­dium with ear­split­ting roars through­out this clas­sic, then qui­etly filed out while the Ra­zor­backs cel­e­brated in Death Val­ley.

“Hey, we were the best team in the coun­try to­day,” said Hous­ton Nutt, who is ru­mored to be on his way out as the Ra­zor­backs’ coach.

McFad­den, last year’s Heis­man Tro­phy run­ner-up, has 1,725 yards rush­ing this sea­son, break­ing the school’s sin­gle-sea­son record he set last year.

He of­ten took di­rect snaps in the “Wild Hog” for­ma­tion, in which he was a triple threat to run, hand off or throw.

He was most dan­ger­ous run­ning the ball, as usual.

“We had been watch­ing film of LSU and saw they had weak­nesses against run­ning quar­ter­backs,” McFad­den said. “It was some­thing we planned on do­ing all week.”

Miles said he thought he had a good plan for the “Wild Hog,” with two de­fend­ers shad­ow­ing McFad­den. LSU line­backer Ali High­smith did his best, mak­ing 15 tack­les.

“There were two pretty good LSU tack­lers ready to tackle that guy and he didn’t go down,” Miles said. “It def­i­nitely af­fected us.”

Over­all, Hil­lis ran for 89 yards and Jones had 85 as Arkansas fin­ished with 385 yards on the ground against one of the best run de­fenses in the coun­try.

Sub­mit­ted Photo

Ram-tas­tic: New­ton’s Kier­stie Moon signed a soft­ball schol­ar­ship with Lees-McRae Col­lege on Nov. 14. Moon was a four-year starter for the Rams. Pic­tured is Coach Vir­ginia Wa­ters (seated, left), Kier­stie Moon and New­ton head coach Ja­son LaChap­pelle. They are sur­rounded by par­ents Roger and Amy Moon, sis­ter Alyssa Moon, grand­fa­ther Gary Moon and grand­mother Rita Battaglia.

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