FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema told his team all week its mission was simple: take back the Golden Boot.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema told his team all week its mission was simple: take back the Golden Boot.


So as soon as the final seconds ticked off the clock Saturday night, securing Arkansas’ long-awaited 17-0 win against No. 20 LSU, most of his team sprinted toward the northeast corner of Razorback Stadium to do just that.


Arkansas hoisted the Golden Boot and, more important, laid to rest its 17-game SEC losing streak Saturday night. The Razorbacks buried 763 days worth of disappointments on a cold night in front of an announced crowd of 70,165, many of which joined the team on the field to celebrate the moment after the game.


Arkansas (5-5, 1-5 in SEC) collected the first conference win under Bielema by leaning on a suffocating defense that held an LSU offense reliant on its powerful ground game to 123 yards. Arkansas didn’t just beat the Tigers (7-4, 3-4 in SEC), it held LSU scoreless for the first time since its national championship game loss three years ago and recorded its first shutout since beating Utah State 20-0 in 2006.


But it didn’t matter exactly how it happened Saturday night.


The only thing the Razorbacks reveled in was the fact the streak was over.


"Today didn’t just happen," said Bielema, who said he probably hugged everyone twice in Arkansas’ victorious locker room. "Today was a process, 24-7 for however many months it took to get where we are."


The painful process is well-known by now. Arkansas had come so close so many times over the past 12 months. The Razorbacks suffered through their share of blowouts early last season, but had lost five of their past seven SEC games despite being tied with opponents or leading at some point in the fourth quarter.


Arkansas was in position once again after controlling Saturday’s game.


"We knew they wanted this one really bad," LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture said. "You could tell right from the beginning the fans were into it. They were really pumped up trying to get this ‘W.’


The Razorbacks weren’t perfect on offense, but did more than enough with its run-pass mix to keep LSU’s improving defense off balance.


Quarterback Brandon Allen (16-for-27 for 169 yards) targeted his tight ends over and over again and helped the Razorbacks convert on several key third downs. Meanwhile, running backs Jonathan Williams (55 yards) and Alex Collins (46 yards) found just enough cracks in the LSU defensive front to grind out yardage.


The Razorbacks got a 32-yard field goal from place kicker Adam McFain on their opening possession, then added a 1-yard touchdown run by Williams in the second quarter to take a 10-0 lead into the locker room. It held up through the end of the third quarter, when Bielema gathered his team and delivered one final message.


"I said whatever happens, just keeping one play at a time," Bielema said. "Just give yourselves on defense a chance to make the next play and on offense there’s always going to be another down or series and just stay with it."


Arkansas — which had so many things crumble late in games during its previous losses — was finally able to accomplish it in an SEC game Saturday night.


Collins gave the Razorbacks a 17-0 lead with a five-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. It capped a 12-play, 55-yard drive that at 6:16 off the clock. It was Arkansas’ third scoring drive of 10 plays or more Saturday night.


Arkansas’ defense took care of the rest, suffocating the Tigers.


LSU finished with a season-low 36 rushing yards, while quarterback Anthony Jennings went 12-for-22 for 87 yards. Jennings was sacked four times and LSU’s longest play was his 14-yard completion to receiver Travin Dural.


The final blow came midway through the fourth quarter, when Jennings fumbled the football at the Arkansas 19. Defensive tackle Darius Philon fell on the ball with 8:21 remaining, kicking off a fourth-quarter party in Razorback Stadium.


"I think if you build things on a solid enough foundation you don’t waver and you don’t flinch," Bielema said. "The great thing about our guys is we’ve been through so much that nothing’s going to faze them. There’s nothing that they haven’t been through that they can learn from. I do say all the time to our players and our coaches, it’s not what happens, it’s how you react to what happens. We’ve had some bad things happen to us and they just kept reacting in the right way and eventually good things were going to happen to those who work and survive and battle."


With it, a number of streaks came crashing down Saturday night.


It was Arkansas’ first SEC win since beating Kentucky 49-7 on Oct. 13, 2012. The Razorbacks also ended a 15-game losing streak against ranked opponents, which dated back to the 29-16 win against No. 1 Kansas State in the 2012 Cotton Bowl.


Arkansas beat LSU for the first time since 2010, snapping a three-game losing streak. And not only was it Arkansas’ first shutout since 2006, it was the first time the it held an SEC opponent scoreless since beating South Carolina 23-0 in 2002.


"I think it was my first shutout for me playing football my whole life," said Arkansas linebacker Martrell Spaight, who finished with a team-high 10 tackles. "So it was a great feeling to go out there and do it against a great team and go get a trophy."


But Bielema didn’t join in on the party until Williams’ 6-yard run on third-and-2 gave the Razorbacks their final first down. He removed his headset, embraced assistants on the sideline and had the Gatorade cooler dumped on him while Arkansas lined up in victory formation.


Then the Razorbacks raced off to the LSU sideline to reclaim the Golden Boot.


It was the start of a wild scene on the field reminiscent of the 1999 victory against Tennessee. Fans couldn’t tear down the goal posts because they were lowered by the security staff on the field. But they flooded the field while players walked through the masses to with the Golden Boot hoisted over their heads.


"I can’t even really describe the feeling," Arkansas safety Alan Turner said. "It was amazing. I’ve never experienced anything like that with the fans rushing the field. They were more excited than us. It was a great feeling to see them react that way."


But Arkansas deserved the moment. The streak is over. Finally.


"To face the struggles we’ve been through was hard," Williams said. "But I wouldn’t do it with any (other) group of guys. We’ve got a hard-working group of guys in that locker room. It’s fun to experience this."