Bret Bielema has become a very big thorn in Les Miles’ side.
Bielema is now 2-1 against LSU after Arkansas’ 31-14 victory Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. He’ll return back to Fayetteville, Arkansas, with this team getting to retain The Golden Boot trophy for the second straight year.
“People freak out around that Boot,” Bielema said. “The power of that thing, our players really respond to it.”
Bielema’s actually a miracle away from being undefeated when facing Miles.
The Tigers needed that 49-yard heave in 2013 — Bielema’s first year at Arkansas — from then-freshman backup Anthony Jennings to win that one. Remember, that was an Arkansas team that went winless in the conference.
Then, Bielema and the Hogs embarrassed LSU last year on a frozen night in Fayetteville, shutting them out 17-0.
Bielema humiliated the Tigers again Saturday, giving him back-to-back victories against Miles.
The only other coaches to accomplish that same feat since Miles arrived in Baton Rouge are Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and Houston Nutt.
“There were a lot of Arkansas people smiling ear to ear to get two in a row on LSU,” Bielema said. “Especially with one over here at night. It really represents what we’re all about.”
A trend has emerged in Bielema’s recipe for success in stopping LSU.
The Tigers have run for an average of just 47.5 yards in the consecutive losses. Though Leonard Fournette went for 91 on the ground Saturday, LSU’s team rushing total got dragged down thanks to five sacks on Brandon Harris for a combined loss of 37 yards.
Bielema, a nose guard at Iowa from 1989-92, apparently knows a thing or two about winning the battle up front.
“I knew we’d shut that off and make it a game where they had to beat us in the air,” he said.
Bielema mentioned several times after the game the impact this win would have in recruiting. The Razorbacks have made a big push recently to pull kids out of Louisiana.
Arkansas signed four from the state in the 2014 class, including wide receiver Jared Cornelius, who had a 69-yard touchdown Saturday. They’re battling LSU for several more in this year’s class.
Consecutive wins against the Tigers makes for a good recruiting pitch.
“This is an area we really try to hit hard,” Bielema said. “It’s fun to see these Louisiana kids have success.”
Bielema now has the Razorbacks rolling. Arkansas is 5-1 since a three-loss September, the only blemish in that stretch coming against Alabama.
Arkansas moved even with LSU in the conference standings and holds the tiebreaker thanks to this head-to-head victory. The Razorbacks close the season with home games against Mississippi State and Missouri.
Their four SEC wins this season match their total the three previous combined. It’s the most since a 6-2 year in 2011.
“When you play Arkansas, it’s going to be a street fight,” Bielema said. “It’s not going to come easy. … We get a little bit of respect in our league before we even take the field now.”
Bielema’s next matchup with LSU will come Nov. 16, 2016, in Razorback Stadium.
You can bet he’ll be plenty motivated to try to make it three straight wins.