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Arkansas-LSU matchups

by Tom Murphy | November 12, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
An Arkansas football helmet is shown on a trunk on Friday, Nov. 26 2021, during the second half of play at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.


Offense

Quarterbacks

Jayden Daniels (187-268-1, 1,994 yards, 14 TDs, 69.8% completions, 619 rush yards, 10 TDs) is the only FBS QB with 1,900 pass yards, 600 rush yards. Also the only SEC starting QB with 1 or fewer INT. His efficiency rating of 148.77 is 7th SEC/42nd FBS, lower than SEC norms due to 7.4 yards per attempt. Garrett Nussmeier (24-39-2, 323, 1), who went most of the game vs. UA last year, has been in 3 games.

KJ Jefferson (148-222-3, 1,981 yards, 17 TDs, 66.7% completions) is coming off an uneven performance and the first 2-INT game of his career. His bruised clavicle kept him from much of practice last week and his status is questionable today. The junior's 164.19 efficiency rating is 2nd SEC/11th FBS. Malik Hornsby (9-18-2, 244, 1; 135 rush yards) averages 10.4 ypc, but his passing must be sharper if he gets the start.

ADVANTAGE LSU

Running backs

Much like with Arkansas, QB runs are a huge part of the LSU offense, as Jayden Daniels leads the team with 619 rush yards. Josh Williams (73-364, 5, 4.9 ypc) has come on lately. Armoni Goodwin (43-270, 5, 6.1 ypc) is a lighter option with more burst, less between-the-tackles power. Penn State transfer Noah Cain (35-191, 4, 5.5) and John Emery Jr. (45-180, 1, 4.0) also figure in deep backfield.

Raheim Sanders (173-1,101, 7 TDs, 6.4 ypc) leads the SEC and is 9th in the FBS with 122.3 ypg. He's coming off a season-low 60 yards vs. Liberty with lots of hits in the backfield. AJ Green (61-263, 2, 4.3) ran well at 9.3 ypc last week. Frosh Rashod Dubinion (36-113, 3, 3.1) was stuffed on both his runs vs. Liberty. Hogs' RBs catching passes was huge vs. LSU last season and might loom large today.

ADVANTAGE Arkansas

Receivers/tight ends

Malik Nabers (42 catches, 504 yards, 1 TD) has the team reception lead in a talented corps. Kayshon Boutte (34-339, 1) seems to have settled in after early discontent. Jaray Jenkins (20-288, 5), Brian Thomas (20-280, 3), Kyren Lacy (16-148) and Chris Hilton Jr. (7-109) are viable options. Frosh TE Mason Taylor (22-214, 2) had a huge game vs. Alabama. TE Jack Bech (10-81, 1) scored on UA last year.

Speedy and tall Matt Landers (35-594, 3) had his third consecutive game of 99-plus yards last week to assume team yardage lead. Jadon Haselwood (44-553, 3) had some big-time catches vs. Liberty to pair with a dropped swing pass. TE Trey Knox (19-233, 5) dropped 1 TD pass, caught 2 more last week. Warren Thompson (12-178, 2), Ketron Jackson Jr. (12-234, 2) and Bryce Stephens (7-89, 1) all in the mix.

ADVANTAGE Even

Line

Former Sam Pittman protege' Brad Davis' unit is gathering steam after a shaky 2021 as one of the heaviest units in the land (6-5, 324 pound avg.). Freshman OTs Will Campbell and Emery Jones Jr., and OGs Miles Frazier and Anthony Bradford are all 323-plus, anchored by the junior Bradford (6-5, 345). C Charles Turner is the light one at 6-4, 295. G Garrett Dellinger is expected back from injury.

The Arkansas O-line was out-schemed, out-quicked and sometimes out-physicaled by the Liberty front last week, one of the weakest showings of the Pittman/Kennedy era. The unit will be tested by LSU's D-line talent and blitzing today. The same five of LT Luke Jones, LG Brady Latham, C Ricky Stromberg, RG Beaux Limmer and RT Dalton Wagner have started all 9 games and have 145 career starts.

ADVANTAGE LSU

Defense

Line

BJ Ojulari (36 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 5 sacks, 11 hurries) plays the rush end "Jack" opposite 6-6 angular Ali Gaye (24, 3.5, 1, 2 FFs). The top inside guys are 315-pound Jaquelin Roy (26, 1.5, 2 hurries) and Mekhi Wingo (37, 3, 2 sacks, 4 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR). Mike Jones Jr. (20) and Sai'von Jones (14, 3, 2.5 sacks) are backup ends, while Jacobian Guillory (8) is the top reserve on the inside.

DE Jordan Domineck (24, 6.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR) added to his sack count last week. Zach Williams (23, 5 TFL, 3 sacks, 5 hurries), ex-LSU player Landon Jackson (20, 2.5 sacks, 1 hurry, 1 PBU), Eric Gregory (12, 1 sack, 4 hurries) and Jashaud Stewart (4, 1 hurry, 1 PBU) rotate at end. The DT rotation is Isaiah Nichols (11, 1 PBU), Terry Hampton (19, 1.5 TFL, 1 PBU), Cam Ball (19, 1.5 TFL) and Gregory.

ADVANTAGE LSU

Linebackers

Micah Baskerville (56, 4 TFL, 1 sacks, 1 INT, 5 hurries, 4 PBU) is a fifth-year senior with 49 career starts who hounded UA last year. Greg Penn III (40, 2 PBU, 2 hurries, 1 FR) is the returning starter in the middle. True freshman Harold Perkins Jr. (44, 4 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 11 hurries) is having a big season and he's likely to spy KJ Jefferson. West Weeks (18, 1.5 sack) and DeMario Tolan (9, 1 hurry) are backups.

Bumper Pool (80, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 5 hurries, 3 PBU), the UA all-time tackler leader (429) has a third straight 100-tackle season in his sights. Drew Sanders (74, 11, 7.5, 6 hurries, 3 PBU, 3 FF) leads the SEC in sacks and forced fumbles. Chris Paul (40, 4, 2, 2 hurries, 1 FF, 1 FR) is being primed for a much-increased role in '23. Jordan Crook (5) and Jackson Woodard (5) play behind that trio.

ADVANTAGE LSU

Secondary

NB Greg Brooks Jr. (39, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 1 FF) and S Joe Foucha (20, 1, 1, 2, 1) face their ex-teammates. Jay Ward (39, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 2 hurries) is a good senior NB. The top CBs are Jarrick Bernard-Converse (30, 1 INT, 2 PBU) and Mekhi Garner (29, 1.5 TFL, 6 PBU). S Major Burns (18, 2.5 TFL) returned from injury last week. Sage Ryan (15, 2 FR, 2 FF) and Colby Richardson (12) also earn time.

Will Dwight McGlothern (30, 3 INTs, 6 PBU, 1 FF) be revved up and talking? Simeon Blair (52, 1 TFL, 4 PBU), Latavious Brini (42, 3, 1 PBU, 1 hurry), Hudson Clark (39, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 8 PBU), Khari Johnson (25, 1 PBU), Jayden Johnson (23, 1.5 sacks, 3 hurries) and Malik Chavis (11) will likely be in the inside spots. Snaps for Quincey McAdoo (3, 1 INT) are on the rise. Unit is down Myles Slusher due to suspension.

ADVANTAGE LSU

Special teams

Punter Jay Bramblett (44.8 average) has 9 boots of 50-plus yards and 12 inside the 20. LSU is No. 60 in net punting (38.8). New PK Damian Ramos (6 of 9 FGs, 38 of 39 PATs) is 1 for 2 on 40-plus yard FG. Ramos and Nathan Dilbert have combined for 28 touchbacks on 55 kickoffs (51%). The Tigers have used 5 KORs and average 19.8 yards per return. Micah Baskerville has blocked a kick.

Omit 1 key miss vs. A&M and Cam Little (9 of 11 FG, 34 of 34 PAT) is having a huge year. Reid Bauer (47.3 avg.) has settled shaky punting. His average would top the SEC if he qualified. Quincey McAdoo had a punt block for a safety last week. Landon Jackson has a FG block. Jake Bates' touchback rate (84.6%) is real good. Hardly any chances for KOR AJ Green (14.8) and PR Bryce Stephens (11.3, TD).

ADVANTAGE Arkansas

Intangibles

What do the Tigers have to play for? A huge followup to last week's upset of Alabama. Their standing as the SEC West leader with 2 league games remaining. A chance to reclaim the Golden Boot after the Razorbacks took it in Baton Rouge last year to snap a five-year skid. That's plenty. Plus, ex-Hogs Greg Brooks Jr. and Joe Foucha are proven ball hawks who'd like to show it again.

The Razorbacks won four trophies last season and have already conceded one back to Texas A&M. Trophies are a big deal to Coach Sam Pittman, so the inspiration is real. There's also a pride factor after last week's somewhat stunning upset loss to Liberty. The Razorbacks think they are better than that. Do these Razorbacks still believe they can win big games against any opponent?

ADVANTAGE Even


Print Headline: Arkansas-LSU matchups

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