LSU Arkanasas Football

Arkansas defensive back Jalen Catalon (1) tackles LSU receiver Kayshon Boutte (1) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Fayetteville, Ark. Catalon was called for targeting on the play and ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

When it came to the pair of targeting calls that led to ejections during LSU's defeat of Arkansas, Ed Orgeron's assessment was a simple one that ended with an important note.

"That was a tough hit," Orgeron said after his team's 27-24 win. "I'm just glad our guy is OK."

He was referring to freshman wide receiver Kayshon Boutte, who took a hit to the head from the shoulder of Arkansas defender Jalen Catalon. The play resulted in a flag for targeting and review, which was confirmed by officials.

Because the penalty came in the second half, that meant that along with 15 yards and an ejection for the remainder of the game, Catalon must sit out the first half of the Razorbacks' game next week against Missouri. LSU drove for a go-ahead touchdown later on the possession.

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Despite vehement objections from the SEC Network broadcast crew, the review decision seemed inevitable after LSU cornerback Eli Ricks was ejected earlier in the game for a hit to the head of a defender as he attempted to make a tackle.

Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek posted to social media after the game to state that he planned to "work with the appropriate SEC officials to make sure that this 'targeting' call does not cost Jalen Catalon our next game. My student athletes deserve better."

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While Orgeron said he thought the penalty against Arkansas was a "good call," he didn't make that assessment of the one that sent Ricks from the game. But he did concede what prompted the call as the true freshman went in for a tackle on Arkansas receiver Mike Woods. 

"His shoulder hit first, but his head was in there," Orgeron said. "You just can't do it, especially against a defenseless player."

Ricks shared his personal displeasure with the call after the game.

"Game done turned soft man. I clearly didn’t lead with the crown of my helmet. What else was I supposed to do?" Ricks posted on Twitter. "But I’m glad my teammates had my back and came through with the win that is all that matters."

With Ricks ejected from the game, sophomore defensive back Jay Ward took his place. He was victimized later in the second quarter on one of Arkansas' several successful deep balls that represented a major chunk of their yardage gained.

Because Ricks' penalty came in the first half, he won't face any suspension next week when LSU faces Texas A&M. 

See Ed Orgeron's full comments below. Can't see the video? Click here. 


JABRIL COX: 'Big-time players make big plays'

While beating Ward deep was how Arkansas narrowed the deficit at the end of the first half, the young cornerback sealed the result for the Tigers at the end of the second half.

Ward made a strong tackle on third down to force a game-tying field goal attempt by Arkansas. Then he sprinted around the edge and got a hand on the kick itself, which fluttered as it fell short of the uprights from xxx yards away.

LSU took over and ran out the clock for the victory. 

"He made a big play at the end," said senior linebacker Jabril Cox after the win. "I mean, big-time players make big plays at big moments. You see right there, even though earlier in the game he had a couple struggles, but he came back and fought. That's just a testament of us working hard throughout these past few weeks."

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But Cox joined Ward in the category of huge plays made. It was Cox who grabbed an interception on a pass from Razorbacks quarterback Feleipe Franks, returning it to the 1-yard line and just missing his second touchdown of the year. 

LSU running back Ty Davis-Price plowed in for a score on the next play. 

See Jabril Cox's full post-game comments below. Can't see the video? Click here.


TY DAVIS-PRICE: 'I hate losing'

After a freshman season that featured comfortable LSU wins all the way to a national championship, it's understandable why Ty Davis-Price appeared to give a noticeable shudder as he talked about the feeling of going nearly a month between wins.

That time frame is aided by coronavirus, with games against Florida and Auburn delayed to the spread within either LSU or the opposing team's program. But it still resulted in a 28-day gap between a win against South Carolina on Oct. 24 and the next against Arkansas on Nov. 21. The only game played between them was a humbling, 48-11 defeat against Auburn.

"A great feeling, man. I hate losing. I hate losing," Davis-Price said. "Like I said, we had a great week of practice, and we knew that it was just time to get that feeling out of us. We needed that W. We needed that as a team."

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And it was Davis-Price that led the backfield committee with 24 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. He added two catches for 11 yards, and nearly had a touchdown reception but officials ruled he didn't control the ball long enough.

John Emery had 12 carries for 33 yards and 3 catches for 7 yards. 

See Ty Davis-Price's full post-game comments below. Can't see the video? Click here. 

Email Jeff Nowak at jnowak@theadvocate.com

Twitter: @Jeff_Nowak