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Hogs used to drill of stingy defenses

by Tom Murphy | November 11, 2016 at 5:45 a.m.
Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos watches warmups prior to a game against Florida on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos almost has run out of adjectives to describe the defenses he has schemed against this year.

When the No. 25 Razorbacks host No. 24 LSU on Saturday, they'll face their third opponent that ranks in the current top six in the nation in fewest points allowed per game.

"I mean, here we go again," Enos said. "It's like I'm a broken record coming in here. Texas A&M, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU. I don't see much difference to be honest with you. It almost gets depressing."

When a reporter said to Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema at his Monday news conference, "LSU has a pretty good defense," Bielema broke in briefly to add, "You think?"

LSU ranks sixth in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 14.4 points per game. The Tigers' defense, led by first-year coordinator Dave Aranda, has allowed an FBS-low nine touchdowns through eight games.

Arkansas (6-3, 2-3 SEC) scored a combined eight touchdowns in back-to-back games against Alabama and Ole Miss. The Hogs had four last week in their 31-10 rout of No. 11 Florida, which ranks fifth nationally by allowing 14.1 points per game.

"I turn the tape on Sunday, feeling good we won, and I have a stomach ache again, like, 'Oh my gosh, we have to block these guys,' " Enos said.

Last week, LSU (5-3, 3-2) allowed 323 total yards in its 10-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama. That was 155 fewer yards and 30 fewer points than the Crimson Tide's averages.

"I feel like we've seen their defense for the whole year now, just how big, physical, fast they are," Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen said. "They fly around. They make a lot of plays. They have guys on the outside who have played a lot of football and are really good football players and then just how big they are on the inside and their linebackers.

"I could go on and on about how good they are, but we have to get in our game plan and get on their tendencies like always and try to play well on Saturday."


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LSU has held opponents scoreless for 10 of the past 16 quarters, since Ed Orgeron took over as interim head coach after the Tigers' 18-13 loss at Auburn in Week 4. LSU is the only team in the country to hold all of its opponents to 21 points or less.

"They've got athletes all over the field," Arkansas offensive tackle Dan Skipper said. "Their defensive line, of course, is highly touted and highly ranked and does a bunch of good things.

"They've got athletes all across the board. They're big, they're fast, they're strong."

LSU has a base 3-4 front under Aranda, with ends Lewis Neal and Davon Godchaux, middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith, inside linebacker Duke Riley and outside linebacker Arden Key doing the most damage.

Beckwith has 85 tackles to lead the SEC with 10.6 tackles per game. Key ranks third in the SEC with 8 sacks, while Godchaux has 4 and Neal has 3½.

"Key is fast and quick and really twitchy," Skipper said. "He's got a huge number of sacks and is a great athlete. Then on the other side they've got Lewis Neal, who I went against last year, and he's everything and then some."

On the back end, strong safety Jamal Adams is a standout with 56 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 3 pass breakups.

"They've always had good secondary players," receiver Keon Hatcher said. "It's a good team overall. It's LSU. They're not going to come in here backing down from anything, and they're going to come ready to fight, and we're going to come ready to fight, too. The best man should win."

The Razorbacks' offense is packing the confidence that comes from producing 466 total yards against Florida, the nation's No. 2-ranked defense, during its 31-10 victory over the Gators last week.

That was one fewer yard than the Razorbacks notched in a 42-3 rout of Texas State on Sept. 17.

"Coming into Florida was a big statement game for us to say we're back on track, we've got our legs underneath us," receiver Drew Morgan said. "We've got our head on straight going into LSU."

The attack was balanced as well, with 223 rushing yards and 243 passing yards. It was the second-most balanced game of the year for Arkansas behind its 241 passing yards and 226 rushing yards against Texas State.

Running backs coach Reggie Mitchell thinks tailbacks Rawleigh Williams and Devwah Whaley are turning into a formidable duo. Williams had 148 rushing yards and 170 all-purpose yards against Florida, while Whaley added 66 rushing yards and 69 receiving yards.

"They're starting to develop a little bit," Mitchell said. "Rawleigh has kind of been on a roll all year. Devwah's getting more comfortable on third down. If he can continue to do that, I think they're going to be a pretty good duo."

Sports on 11/11/2016

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