OPINION — Like It Is

OPINION | WALLY HALL: Sun sets on Hogs’ upset bid at Death Valley

BATON ROUGE -- Doom and despair should have been replaced with dreams and hopes Saturday night in Death Valley, where no one wants to play LSU, especially after the sun sets.

When it did go down, the Arkansas Razorbacks were leading, but in the end probably seeing yellow as they were flagged nine times in the second half for 55 yards and 11 times for 69 yards total.

The officials didn't cost the Razorbacks the win, the penalties did.

Other than that Achilles heel, it might have been a major upset instead of huge moral victory after holding LSU to 34 points and scoring 31.

With 14:11 to play, the score was tied at 24-24 after KJ Jefferson scrambled and true freshman tight end Luke Hasz got wide open when the Tiger defenders closed in on Jefferson, who pulled up and threw the 59-yard touchdown.

LSU answered with its third consecutive 75-yard scoring drive and led 31-24. But the Razorbacks weren't folding the tent and aided by a LSU roughing the passer penalty on third and 18, Jefferson threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Hasz to tie it at 31-31 with 5:06 to play. But Arkansas was out of timeouts.

LSU drove to the Arkansas 7 then ran the clock down and with five seconds to play kicked the game-winning 20-yard field goal.

The Tigers ended up with 320 passing yards and 509 total.

Arkansas went into the dressing room at the half with a 13-10 lead, a lead it held for 20:56 of the first half after a pair of 23-yard field goals by Cam Little and a 19-yard touchdown pass from Jefferson to Tyrone Boden.

An unnecessary review finally revealed the obvious, which was disputed by one official who talked the official out the touchdown signal he had made. Replay showed Boden's knee went down a yard into the end zone with him in full control of the ball.

The Razorbacks had led 13-3 with just 48 second left in the first half, but the Tigers struck fast and furious when Jayden Daniels followed an incomplete pass with strikes for 26 yards and a 49-yarder to Brian Thomas.

The drive took 18 seconds, showing the speed of LSU.

For the most part the underdog Hogs went toe-to-toe with the No. 12-ranked Tigers as the two best quarterbacks in the SEC duked it out on the ground and through the air.

At halftime, Jefferson had thrown for 135 yards on 15-of-20 passing and ran for 36, while Jayden Daniels threw for 145 yards on 9-of-16 passing and ran for 18 yards. Both quarterbacks had an interception and were sacked twice.

It was the most complete game the Razorbacks have played this season, but Daniels wasted no time in the second half giving the home team its first lead of the game, again with a 49-yard touchdown pass for a 17-13 lead.

Arkansas took a calculated risk on its possession and ran 11 times in a 15-play drive that eventually ended in a 40-yard field goal by Little.

The Razorbacks came face-to-face with a fourth and two from the 19 and this time when they went for it it was with a trick play. Punter/holder Max Fletcher kept and gained 8 yards and a first down. But later back-to-back sacks of Jefferson forced the Hogs to settle for the field goal. Jefferson was sacked 6 times.

The defense had been on the field for more than eight minutes but wearing it down didn't slow down the offense.

The Tigers' second possession of the second half was 9 plays -- the shortest play being 4 yards -- for 75 yards ending on a 8-yard pass to Nabers, who is almost impossible to cover. He had eight receptions for 130 yards.

A great effort that came up short with too many penalties.