Freshman Alex Collins surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season on his first carry against LSU on Friday in Baton Rouge, La. He ended the season with 1,026 yards after gaining only 28 against the Tigers on 11 carries. Collins is Arkansas’ first 1,000-yard freshman rusher since Darren McFadden ran for 1,113 yards in 2005 and he’s only the 10th true freshman in the Southeastern Conference to go for 1,000 and the 68th in NCAA history. Collins’ 998 yards after 11 games was tops in the NCAA among freshmen. His average of 90.7 rushing yards per game was fifth in the SEC and 39th in the nation. Collins’ average of 96.5 all-purpose yards per game prior to Friday was 16th in the SEC. He was the only freshman ranked in the top 50 in the conference.
Eight Or Fewer
Eight of the last nine Arkansas-LSU games have been decided by eight points or less. In 2011, LSU beat Arkansas 41-17 at Baton Rouge as the lone the exception. The difference Friday was four points.
Friday marked the 16th time in 18 seasons that the CBS national game on the Friday after Thanksgiving has been Arkansas vs. LSU. CBS took a two-year hiatus from the series to feature the Iron Bowl — Auburn vs. Alabama — in 2009-10 but switched back to Arkansas-LSU after a home-and-home stint with the Alabama schools. The Iron Bowl moved back to its familiar Saturday national CBS game. Next season, Arkansas will play Missouri on Thanksgiving weekend for what is billed as "rivalry week" and LSU will begin a Thanksgiving weekend series against Texas A&M — likely on Thanksgiving Day. CBS has not said which teams will play on the Friday after Thanksgiving next season.
Louisiana native David Hurd, who has started all season at one of the tackle spots for Arkansas, got his name called Saturday when he recovered an Alex Collins fumble on a second-down run up the middle with just more than a minute to play in the first quarter. Hurd, who is from West Monroe, said this week he considered the LSU game his national championship game. "I’m going to put everything I’ve got into it," he said prior to the game. Hurd walked on at Arkansas in 2009 and has been a starter for two seasons. He has been on scholarship since his junior season.
All For The Boot
Friday marked the 18th Battle for the Golden Boot between Arkansas and LSU — a trophy that was the brainchild of former Arkansas linebacker David Bazzel, an unofficial promoter of all things football. The 24-karat golden boot, which will belong to LSU for a third straight year, is shaped like the states of Arkansas and Louisiana and is one of the heaviest trophies in college football at 75 pounds. LSU has earned possession of the boot 12 times to six for the Razorbacks. Bazzel expressed some disappointment in the press box prior to Friday’s game because the trophy was not displayed on the field. He said trophy games should be more obvious to fans and players.
Bazzel also is credited with coming up with the Broyles Award given to the nation’s top assistant coach and this year introduced the Cliff Harris Trophy to be given to the best small college football defensive player. Harris, a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, played his college football at Ouachita Baptist University. The trophy was unveiled at the Henderson-Ouachita game a week ago.
Points On LSU
Arkansas’ 27 points against LSU matched the total scored by Ole Miss and TCU. The Tigers defeated TCU 37-27 but lost 27-24 to Ole Miss. The two teams scoring the most points against the Tigers were Alabama — a 38-17 winner — and Georgia, which beat LSU 44-41.
Arkansas recorded three sacks Friday at LSU, one more than the Tigers had allowed at home all season. LSU recorded one sack against Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen. Arkansas entered the game as the SEC leader in sacks allowed this season — seven total before Friday’s game. The seven sacks in 11 games was tied for the second-lowest number of sacks in the nation. Arkansas was allowing one sack for every 38.86 passes thrown, tops in the SEC and seventh in the NCAA. Arkansas’ sack differential stands at plus-20 after the LSU game.
Red On Red
Arkansas wore red jerseys over red pants Friday against LSU — the first time for all-red uniforms since Arkansas wore them in a home game against Texas-El Paso in 2010. LSU is the only SEC school that wears white jerseys at home.
Streak Ends At 50
Center Travis Swanson, a Rimington Trophy candidate, started 50 straight games for Arkansas, meaning he was at center for every Razorback game dating back to 2010. The senior started the 2013 campaign on several All-America and All-SEC teams, in addition to being on several watch lists for various trophies. He was joined in the starting rotation for the last seven games with Hurd and junior Brey Cook at the tackles and a pair of freshmen — Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper — at the guards.
Last Time For No. 98
Jarrett Lake, the senior linebacker from Jenks, Okla., gave up his No. 39 for his final game at Arkansas to don the jersey of injured senior captain Robert Thomas, who broke a bone in his leg on Oct. 12 against South Carolina. Different players have honored Thomas by wearing his jersey since that game.
Hocker Gets Nine
Arkansas senior Zach Hocker kicker scored nine points against LSU — two field goals and three PATs — to extend his career scoring record to 354 points. Hocker entered the game as the SEC’s active career leader in PATs made, PATs attempted, field goals made, field goals attempted and total points.
Zach Mettenberger became only the third LSU quarterback in history to pass for more than 3,000 yards in a season. The senior from Watkinsville, Ga., joined Rohan Davey and JaMarcus Russell in the 3,000-plus club. He went into Friday’s game with 2,926 yards and went over the 3,000 mark in the third quarter. His career total before being injured in the fourth quarter was 3,082.
Second Three Times
Arkansas’ highest ranking in any statistical category in the NCAA was second after 11 games — a ranking accomplished in three areas: Skipper three blocked kicks was No. 2 in the country, Arkansas was second in total number of sacks allowed (seven) and number of sacks allowed per game (0.64).
More Death Valley
The south end zone above the second deck is a construction zone at Tiger Stadium. The stadium, as configured, seats about 92,500, and the addition of a suite level and a deck above the suites will make capacity close to 100,000 next season.
Make It 31-1
LSU finished undefeated at Tiger Stadium for the fourth time in the last five seasons after Friday’s win and has accomplished the feat 15 times in the program’s history. The last season the Tigers lost at Death Valley was 2009 — the year Arkansas lost there in overtime.
Record In 2008
LSU has lost back-to-back games only once in program history and Arkansas was part of that. In 2008, Ole Miss and Arkansas accomplished the feat. LSU leads the series with Arkansas 37-20-1.
—Dennis A. Byrd
Arkansas News Bureau