Five reasons why LSU will beat Arkansas

Arkansas enters Saturday’s game against LSU as an underdog. At home.

Good reasons abound for it. First-year Tigers coach Brian Kelly needed practically no time at all to turn the program around from last year’s Ed Orgeron debacle. Even then it wasn’t like LSU was all that far away from being good. And they were certainly still relevant.

Arkansas was relevant. Bordering on good last year. This year? The wheels haven’t totally come off the wagon, but some of the more vocal segments of the fan base are beginning to whisper about changes to the fundamental structure of the Arkansas football program.

The Hogs need a win Saturday. It would get the team bowl eligibility. It would show that Sam Pittman and his staff can win against major opponents. It would stop the bleeding.

It’s also unlikely to happen. Here are the five biggest reasons LSU is likely to walk out of Fayetteville with a victory and a Boot.

If KJ Jefferson can't go, Arkansas is toast

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS – NOVEMBER 05: K.J. Jefferson #1 of the Arkansas Razorbacks warms up before a game against the Liberty Flames at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on November 05, 2022 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Malik Hornsby ran for more than 100 yards against Mississippi State. He also completed fewer than 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions. He would unquestionably be the starter against LSU if Jefferson can’t go and the Razorbacks would have a far worse chance of beating the Tigers if that’s the case.

Jayden Daniels in 2022 is KJ Jefferson 2021 only better

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

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels through nine games in 2022:

  • 131 carries, 619 yards, 10 TD

  • 1,994 yards passing, 14 TD, 1 INT

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson through nine games in 2021:

  • 92 carries, 432 yards, 6 TD

  • 1,515, 16 TD, 3 INT

LSU's wide receiver balance is near top of SEC

Nov 13, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Myles Slusher (2) breaks up a pass intended for LSU Tigers wide receiver Malik Nabers (8) in the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kayshon Boutte was expected to break out in a big way in 2022 after catching 38 passes for nine touchdowns in just six games last year for LSU. Through eight games in 2021, Boutte has 34 grabs for a single touchdown.

That doesn’t mean he’s dropped or Daniels can’t through. LSU doesn’t pass overall as much, certainly, but LSU is deep at the position. Four wide receivers at least 20 catches and 280 yards and a touchdown. Arkansas can’t match that. Few in the SEC can.

LSU's run defense is excellent recently

Sep 18, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers linebacker Micah Baskerville (23) reacts to a stop against Central Michigan Chippewas during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU’s overall rush defense looks middling at best. But consider the last two weeks against Ole Miss and Alabama. The Rebels average an SEC-best 267 yards a game on the ground. Alabama is fourth in the league at 202. Ole Miss had 117 against LSU. The Crimson Tide had 137. LSU won both games.

Arkansas is going to need to hit its 10th-best-in-FBS mark of 233 to have a shot.

LSU has more talent than Arkansas

Dec 1, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers football head coach Brian Kelly speaks to the fans at halftime between the LSU Tigers and the Ohio Bobcats at Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Non-LSU fans across the SEC were laughing last year as the Tigers faltered the finish, proclaiming LSU’s talent didn’t mean squat. They couldn’t win.

Turns out, LSU’s talent is just fine. And that’s what has the rest of the league rightfully terrified.

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire