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One of my favorite things about the Hogs’ win over LSU on Saturday was that, as KevinHog put it, no miracle was required. Sure, things did get a little wacky there at the end of the first half, but overall it was a solid, end-to-end victory. It was the kind of solid win that a BCS-bound team should produce (and that the Hogs have traditionally managed to let slip away in the past…see the 2006 LSU game for reference). LSU is a good team and put up a tough fight, as expected, but in the end there was no doubt about who was better.
* as a Little Rock guy now living far away, I always get a particular thrill from seeing War Memorial on national TV. I went to many Razorback games there as a boy, and my high school (Go Rockets) played there as well. Love that place.
* I’m guessing both teams were a little too wound up at the start of the game…the first quarter was exceedingly sloppy all around. I kept picturing people from around the country seeing the Hogs and Tigers for the first time and thinking “these teams are supposed to be good?”
* it wouldn’t be an Arkansas-LSU game without a little crazy, and the sequence to end the first half was about as crazy as it gets: LSU fumble deep in their own territory + Arkansas interception in the end zone + Les Miles actually leaving too much time on the clock with an incredibly short possession + that insane Ryan Mallett/Cobi Hamilton bomb as time expired…all in about two minutes of game time. Dizzying!
* Although it didn’t feel like a great thing at the time, the decisive point of the game was when LSU took over on the Hogs’ 9 yard line after Dylan Breeding‘s muffed punt in the 3rd quarter. Instead of letting the Tigers roll in for an easy TD and the lead, the Razorback defense stiffened with three consecutive great plays: a touchdown-saving open field tackle on a screen pass, stuffing a run up the middle for no gain and batting away the corner fade pass on 3rd down. From that moment on, it was all Arkansas.
* Continuing the theme of the above point, the defense played its best game of the year. Hats off to them (and especially SEC defensive player of the week Jerico Nelson). LSU had just 71 yards of offense in the second half.
* After the aforementioned defensive stand, the offense rose to the occasion with two of the best drives I can remember from an Arkansas team: first, an 11 play march that culminated in Mallett’s triumphant 39 yard TD pass to Joe Adams on 4th down (and featured a couple of huge 3rd down conversions before that), then, after a quick stop by the defense, a smashmouth masterpiece that featured nine straight butt-kicking runs by Knile Davis and Broderick Green.
* Les Miles must have still been a little sleepy from too much Thanksgiving turkey, because we never even saw a glimpse of the wackiness that’s made him famous. LSU had several opportunities to go for it on 4th down and never did…in fact, it was Bobby Petrino who broke the game open with that ballsy 4th down call on the TD pass to Adams.
* Cobi Hamilton is a proud Texarkana native, but he must feel a special connection with Little Rock: in his two SEC games at War Memorial the speedy WR has caught TD passes of 85, 80, 64 and 58 yards. And, he made the game-clinching recovery of LSU’s last minute onside kick. Not too shabby.
* I alluded to this in the intro, but in 2006 the highly-ranked Hogs took on the highly-ranked Tigers in War Memorial with a BCS bowl on the line and managed to lose in typically Nutty fashion. Very nice to come full circle and close it out this time.
* Final thought: when was the last time the Razorbacks had a win this big? Submit your suggestions in the comments section, because I’m having trouble thinking of one.