For the second straight week, the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-2, 0-1 SEC) falls short in a one-possession game.
There was a lot of positives to take away from their 34-31 loss to No. 12 LSU on Saturday night. For starters, the highly-criticized offensive line played much better and that translated to an improvement in the Arkansas running game.
KJ Jefferson was able to showcase is ability on a big stage and prove that he deserves recognition as one of the SEC’s best quarterbacks. Luke Hasz became a household name and Rashod Dubinion took advantage of an increased workload.
With those positives, there were also plenty of things that continue to keep the Hogs from taking that next step and winning close games. Let’s view Saturday’s night 34-31 loss in Baton Rouge by going “Behind the Numbers” and take a closer look at some important statistics.
Each of the last four meetings between Arkansas and LSU have all been decided by a field goal. In 2020, LSU snuck by the Hogs 27-24. In 2021, Arkansas was able to beat the Tigers in overtime, 16-13. Last season, LSU was able to survive, 13-10, and then last night they won again, 34-31.
For the second straight week, Arkansas was flagged double-digit times en route to close loss. Sam Pittman talked about how the penalties needed to be cleaned up after they were flagged 14 times for 125 yards against BYU.
Those same penalty issues reared their heads on Saturday night when the Hogs were flagged 11 times for 69 yards. That included multiple false start penalites when the offense was in the redzone. One particular false start early in the game back the Hogs up from the goal line, which forced them to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown.
One of the most critical points in the game came at the 14:52 mark of the fourth quarter. Arkansas already burnt their first two timeouts of the half in the drive where they converted the fake field goal – but still were forced to settle for a field goal.
Inexplicably, KJ Jefferson called the team’s final timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty with nearly the entire fourth quarter left to play. This came back to bite the Hogs in the rear end as they were unable to stop the clock on LSU’s final drive of the game.
Would one timeout have saved Arkansas’ game? Unlikely, but it would’ve given Jefferson a chance. Regardless, it’s a good lesson for Sam Pittman in game management.
With his final touchdown pass of Saturday night’s game, KJ Jefferson officially tied Matt Jones for the most total touchdowns in program history. They’re tied with 77 each, but Jefferson will likely gain sole position of that record next against Texas A&M.
True freshman tight end Luke Hasz continues his recent hot streak and became a household name for Arkansas fans last night. Hasz finished with six receptions for 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Tigers.
His 116 yards receiving yards were the first of what could be many more 100+ yard performances in his Arkansas career. It’s clear that the Hogs may have something very special with Hasz, but his youth and inexperience still showed at times. He was flagged multiple times for false start penalties on Saturday night, which luckily were able to be overcome shortly after.
Despite those minor mistakes, it’s clear that Hasz has the potential to be the next great tight end in Arkansas history.