LSU plays Arkansas at 11 a.m. Saturday inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the Tigers' first game in three weeks. These are staff writer Wilson Alexander's keys to the game for LSU.
1. Avoid costly turnovers
Since the beginning of LSU’s preparations for Arkansas, coach Ed Orgeron emphasized turnovers. Arkansas enters the game plus-8 in turnover margin — buoyed by 13 interceptions, the most in the nation — while LSU is plus-4. True freshman quarterback TJ Finley had three turnovers in LSU’s last game, which turned into 21 points. Finley will likely start again this weekend. He has to avoid turnovers, and LSU needs to force Arkansas into uncharacteristic mistakes.
LSU and Arkansas have had been skirmishing with each other across the border since way back in 1901. The Tigers lead the series 41-22-2, are 1…
2. Rediscover the run
Finley succeeded in his first start because LSU didn’t ask him to do too much. The Tigers relied on their running backs throughout the game, taking pressure off Finley to generate offense. In his debut, LSU rushed 54 times for 276 yards, both season-highs. Finley attempted three passes in the second half. A week later, LSU gained 32 yards rushing. Arkansas has allowed 183.43 yards rushing per game. LSU should lean on its running backs.
Ed Orgeron received a phone call Monday morning. On the other end was Sam Pittman, the head coach at Arkansas, LSU’s opponent this weekend. Co…
3. Limit explosive plays
LSU self-scouted its defense after the loss to Auburn and once again identified a common theme this season: It allowed too many explosive plays, which Orgeron defined as those gaining more than 15 yards. Before LSU’s consecutive open dates, the Tigers ranked bottom-10 nationally in three explosive play categories. LSU recognized the issues — blown coverages, confusion, miscommunication and poor execution — but it remains to be seen if LSU fixed the problems.
LSU reinstated redshirt sophomore left tackle Dare Rosenthal on Tuesday after a month-long suspension.
4. Control the line
Despite the overwhelming number of points scored in this year’s SEC, games within the league still depend on controlling the line of scrimmage. For LSU to beat Arkansas, the Tigers’ offensive line must play the way it did against South Carolina, when Orgeron called the group the MVP of the game. The offensive line regressed a week later, but three weeks have passed since LSU last played and LSU reinstated left tackle Dare Rosenthal from an indefinite suspension.