FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Wednesday at his weekly radio show that Arkansas would have to show the Tigers they can stop the run.
He wasn’t deterred by the Razorbacks' defensive performance against Florida a week earlier, when Arkansas held the Gators to 12 yards on 14 carries. The Razorbacks (6-4, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) had not been able to stop the run against Auburn on Oct. 22. Auburn accumulated 543 yards on the ground, a school record in a Southeastern Conference game, in a 56-3 win.
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So when the No. 19 Tigers (6-3, 4-2) faced a second-and-19 at their own 10-yard line in the third quarter, clinging to an 11-point lead, LSU ran the ball right at Arkansas. In fact, the Tigers ran it right at the Razorbacks’ porous run defense six straight times en route to a 38-10 victory.
LSU running back Leonard Fournette carried the ball 17 yards to the Tigers 27 to set up and third-and-2. Backup tailback Derrius Guice sprinted 38 yards off the left side on the next play. Four plays later, Fournette capped off an 81-yard drive with a 3-yard score, his third of the game.
"When they were able to run the ball, they got in a wide zone play and obviously got us gapped," Bielema said of Fournette's 17-yard run. "I think our support was to the field a little too wide, and they cut it up inside. And then they got down to a (third-and-2) and converted. It was a big hit."
And Fournette wasn’t even the star of the game. Guice amassed 252 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns, including a 96-yard scoring sprint in the fourth quarter. The run was longest run from scrimmage in school history.
A week after its stingiest defensive outing of the season, the Razorbacks reverted to being the victim of school records.
Arkansas linebacker Brooks Ellis acknowledged LSU's big rushing plays came back to haunt the Razorbacks defense.
"That's what killed us," Ellis said. "We just got to figure out how to stop those and keep those big plays to a minimum."
In total, LSU racked up 390 yards on 51 carries — 7.6 yards per carry. Fournette, still dealing with a lingering ankle injury, did not play at all in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with 98 yards on 17 carries.
It didn’t matter.
Guice’s night is now the second-best single-game rushing performance in program history — behind only Fournette, who set the mark with 284 yards against Ole Miss on Oct. 22.
"With the analytical report I got earlier, statistically, (Guice) is one of the most productive runners in college football," Bielema said.
The Tigers had 12 runs of more than 10 yards, including bursts of 38 and 96 yards by Guice. Guice chewed up 65 of his yards on a drive to a 19-yard field goal.
Even fourth-string tailback Nick Brossette feasted on a beaten-down Razorbacks defense on the final possession of the game, carrying the ball five times for 32 yards.
Razorbacks linebacker Dwayne Eugene couldn't deny how well the Tigers offensive line played.
"Tonight, they were at their finest," Eugene said.
LSU’s first possession after halftime ended with Fournette coughing up the ball on an 11-yard run, forced out by Razorbacks safety Randy Ramsey.
The Razorbacks cut their 14-point halftime deficit to 11 when Adam McFain booted a 24-yard field goal on the ensuring possession. Then, LSU center Ethan Pocic was penalized for holding on the second play of the Tigers’ next possession, setting up the second-and-19 play.
When a glimmer of hope showed itself to the Arkansas defense, Fournette and Guice ran right over it.
"We weren't playing downhill as well as last week," Ellis said. "We just got to play more downhill."