Drop­ping tem­per­a­tures greet Hogs, Tigers

The Sentinel-Record - - SPORTS - NATE ALLEN

FAYETTEVILLE — The LSU Tigers hail from the typ­i­cally hot and hu­mid Ba­ton Rouge, La., but the fore­cast projects freez­ing tem­per­a­tures by the end of tonight’s game at Arkansas.

The Ra­zor­backs (2-7, 0-5 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence) will host the Tigers (7-2, 4-2) at 6:30 p.m. at Don­ald W. Reynolds Ra­zor­back Sta­dium. The game will be broad­cast on the SEC Net­work (Re­sort Chan­nel 79).

Arkansas’ lone vic­to­ries this sea­son came against Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship Sub­di­vi­sion mem­ber Eastern Illi­nois (2-7,

2-4 Ohio Val­ley Con­fer­ence) and Tulsa (2-7, 1-4 Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence).

Coach Ed Org­eron’s Tigers have beaten Ge­or­gia (8-1, 6-1), Mis­sis­sippi State (6-3, 2-3), Auburn (6-3, 3-3) and Ole Miss (54, 1-4). South­east­ern Louisiana

(4-6, 4-4 South­land Con­fer­ence) is the lone non-con­fer­ence cup­cake on LSU’s sched­ule, which in­cludes vic­to­ries over Mi­ami

(5-4, 2-3 At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence) and Louisiana Tech (6-3,

4-1 Con­fer­ence USA). Other than Alabama (9-0,

6-0), LSU is the SEC school that scouts visit the most and where they linger the long­est to eval­u­ate prospects, es­pe­cially on de­fense. LSU lineback­ers Devin White and Michael Di­vin­ity, de­fen­sive end Rashard Lawrence, safety Grant Del­pit and cor­ner­back Greedy Wil­liams among other Tigers seem some­day NFL bound.

“When you look at their back end, their sec­ondary is as good as it gets,” Arkansas first-year head coach Chad Mor­ris said. “These are all NFL guys that are go­ing to play at a very high level on Sun­days. They lead the league in (forc­ing) turnovers and in­ter­cep­tions. They’re sec­ond in the coun­try in in­ter­cep­tions. And when you watch them, you can see why.

“They’ve got the size, they’ve got the speed, they break on the ball, ex­pe­ri­enced. And very phys­i­cal. Their sec­ondary is as good as we’ve seen. And Rashard Lawrence is as dis­rup­tive a D-line­man as we’ve seen. Michael Di­vin­ity, their Jack ‘backer, is very ac­tive. Then Devin White is one of the top lineback­ers in the coun­try.”

Un­til the Alabama game, LSU’s of­fense had shown a real spark be­hind quar­ter­back Joe Bur­row, who trans­ferred to Ba­ton Rouge from Ohio State. He was 15-for-30 for 200 yards in a

36-16 win over Ge­or­gia. Jo­han Jef­fer­son caught six passes for

108 yards in the game. Bur­row also net­ted 66 rush­ing yards with two touch­downs on 13 car­ries. Run­ning backs Clyde Ed­wards-He­laire and Nick Brosette com­bined for 210 yards on 32 rush­ing at­tempts.

Evan Alabama net­ted but one LSU turnover.

“Of­fen­sively, they do a re­ally good job of not turn­ing the ball over,” Mor­ris said. “They only have eight turnovers all year long. So, that’s keep­ing you in a lot of games right there.”

But LSU does have a check­ered bad weather his­tory, like dur­ing 2000 in a 14-3 loss to a .500 Arkansas team in the pour­ing rain in Lit­tle Rock, or Arkansas’ 17-0 vic­tory over the Tigers in 2014 un­der frigid con­di­tions like what is pre­dicted for tonight.

Na­tive Louisianan Org­eron knows their aver­sion to the cold.

“It’s prob­a­bly go­ing to be cold,” Org­eron said “In our guys’ minds, we have to block that out. We have to get back on track.”

The el­e­ments are part of most Arkansas prac­tices.

“We prac­tice out in it,” Mor­ris said. “Whether it is 35 de­grees, 3 de­grees or mi­nus-3 de­grees, it re­ally has no bear­ing on the way we play. It’s a mind­set for us.”

The Hogs had an open week to get over the dis­ap­point­ment of a 45-31 SEC loss on Oct. 27 in Fayetteville to Van­der­bilt (4-5, 1-4) while the dis­ap­point­ment of los­ing badly to Alabama af­ter the na­tion­ally big­gest pregame ac­claim for this sea­son seems a LSU con­cern.

“We need to be care­ful about hav­ing a (Alabama) hang­over and re­spect­ing Arkansas,” Org­eron said. “They put 31 points on Alabama and we didn’t put any. Ob­vi­ously, we have to re­spect their foot­ball team. They’re go­ing to play their best shot and it’s go­ing to be a hos­tile crowd.”

At least six Arkansas play­ers likely to play hail from Louisiana.

“They have talked about it with that be­ing their home state it’s a big deal for them,” Mor­ris said. “Every game is a big deal, but the op­por­tu­nity to play a team from your home state, these guys take in­cred­i­ble pride in that.”

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