Following a disappointing loss to Liberty this past Saturday, Arkansas enters this year’s “Battle for the Boot” in a much different place than LSU. While Arkansas fans continue to react to another embarrassing loss to a group-of-5 school, LSU is riding high after a huge win over Alabama last week.
LSU has won five of the last six games in this series and are 42-23-2 against the Hogs all-time. However, three of the last four meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less.
The ESPN Football Power Index gives LSU a 72.4% to win on Saturday, but both Hogs and Tiger fans know the series’ history suggests that anything can happen.
With a history as crazy and unpredictable as Arkansas and LSU’s, we thought it would be beneficial to hear from someone who knows a lot about the No. 7 ranked Tigers. Razorbacks Wire was able to sit down with Tyler Nettuno of LSU Wire to discuss this week’s latest chapter in the “Battle for the Boot.”
How has Brian Kelly turned LSU around so fast? Does Nettuno think Arkansas has a chance to slow down the Tiger offense? Find out all of that and more on this week’s edition of “Behind Enemy Lines.”
Brian Kelly's first season at LSU
LSU Football Head Coach Brian Kelly speaks to media following the first spring practice under him. Thursday, March 24, 2022
Lsu Spring Practice 03 24 22
First seasons for coaches in the SEC are usually rough. How has Brian Kelly had so much success, so quickly in his first year at LSU?
There’s a lot I could say, whether it’s putting together a fantastic staff or consistently being able to adjust in the second half. But the real reason this team is so much better than it was when Kelly took over a year ago is the talent he has put together between recruiting and the transfer portal. This team has newcomers all over the field, and though things started a bit slow, that group is really gelling together. Kelly is quickly restocking the talent in Baton Rouge.
LSU enters Saturday's game riding a hot streak
Sep 10, 2022; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) runs the ball against the Southern Jaguars at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Clause-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been a month since LSU’s last loss, a 40-13 blowout at home to Tennessee. How have they been able to turn things around mid-season?
The biggest change since the Tennessee game has been the play of quarterback Jayden Daniels. He’s made plays with his legs all year, but he’s really taken a step forward as a passer. He’s become one of the top quarterbacks in the SEC and is seeing the field really well while avoiding turnovers. The Tigers have also improved when it comes to running the ball with its backs, with Josh Williams turning in a few impressive games.
LSU's advantage over Arkansas
Nov 5, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks defensive lineman Landon Jackson (40) and defensive back Hudson Clark (17) tackle Liberty Flames quarterback Johnathan Bennett (11) during the first quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
What aspects of Arkansas’ game do you feel gives LSU an advantage on Saturday?
When it comes to Arkansas, the answer is pretty obvious: its defense. The Hogs have been decent against the run but abysmal when it comes to defending the passing game this season, ranking 129th in the FBS in that regard. LSU’s receiving corps is absolutely loaded, and I expect Daniels and the passing attack to have a lot of success in what should be a relatively high scoring game.
Arkansas' advantage over LSU
Nov 5, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) passes in the second quarter against the Liberty Flames at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
What aspects LSU’s game do you feel gives Arkansas an advantage on Saturday?
My biggest concern for LSU would be the fact that KJ Jefferson is yet another big, mobile quarterback. LSU’s been no stranger to quarterbacks like that, as it has already faced Jordan Travis, Hendon Hooker, Jaxson Dart and Anthony Richardson. Its defense has been mostly good this season, but it did give up some big plays to those players, especially on the ground. Jefferson is one of the better quarterbacks in the SEC, and I expect the Razorbacks to find some offensive success, especially in the first half.
How 'The Boot' can end up back in Baton Rouge
Nov 23, 2019; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; General view of The Boot trophy LSU Tigers won against Arkansas Razorbacks during the second half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
What does LSU need to do well in order to leave Fayetteville with The Boot?
It’s a bit cliche to say, but I think this one is all about psychology for LSU. It’s an obvious trap game against a talented team on the road after an emotional statement win. Brian Kelly recognized this at his press conference on Monday and said it will be important for the team to prepare the right way. That’s easier said than done, especially for a morning kickoff. LSU is the more talented team and shouldn’t have many problems if it plays as well as it can, but this is a strange rivalry in which anything can happen. But for me, the key for the Tigers will just be sticking with the gameplay and avoiding the turnovers that got you out of sync in the loss to Tennessee.