How Arkansas and LSU match-up at each position

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Arkansas cornerback Ryan Pulley, left, and LSU fullback Trey Gallman exchange words during the second quarter of a game Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Fayetteville. LSU won 38-10.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas cornerback Ryan Pulley, left, and LSU fullback Trey Gallman exchange words during the second quarter of a game Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Fayetteville. LSU won 38-10.

Quarterbacks

ARKANSAS Austin Allen (66-117-4, 850 yards, 8 TDs) and Cole Kelley (84-141-3, 1,002 yards, 8 TDs) are expected to split time. Kelley nudged ahead in pass efficiency (133.74 to 133.16) last week and has a higher completion percentage (59.6 to 56.4) though his fumble count is higher (6-2). LSU’s pass rush is an issue. The Hogs are No. 84 in passing (205.8), No. 62 in efficiency.

LSU Danny Etling (105-181-2, 1,589 yards, 9 TDs) has the SEC’s No. 5 efficiency rating (145.95) for an offense that prefers the run. Etling’s completion percentage (58.0) falls between Allen’s and Kelley’s. Freshman Myles Brennan (13-23-2, 178, 1 TD, 118.49 efficiency) was sacked twice in limited action vs. Alabama last week. The Tigers are No. 88 in passing (196.3), No. 36 in efficiency.

ADVANTAGE Even

Running Backs

ARKANSAS The Hogs’ running back depth has been on display after the losses of Rawleigh Williams and Chase Hayden with the emergence of T.J. Hammonds (25-259, 1, 10.4 ypc) the last couple of weeks to pair with Devwah Whaley (92-428, 4, 4.7 ypc) and David Williams (85-425, 5, 5.0 ypc). Austin Cantrell (3-13, 1 TD) took short-yardage reps last week. Arkansas is No. 47 in rushing (182.7).

LSU Arkansas DC Paul Rhoads said Derrius Guice (143-782, 6 TD, 5.5 ypc) and Darrel Williams (108-559, 6, 5.2 ypc) are as good a tandem as any pair in the country. Both also are weapons in the pass game. Williams had a 54-yard run among his Wildcat snaps last week. John David Moore is a top fullback who catches passes. The Tigers are No. 32 in rushing (209.0).

ADVANTAGE LSU

Receivers/Tight Ends

ARKANSAS Jonathan Nance (33-497, 5 TD) hasn’t scored since Oct. 7, but he got close on the Hail Mary tip last week. Deon Stewart (24-279, 3) missed a key block last week. Jordan Jones (16-252, 2) and Brandon Martin (7-76) have cooled off. TEs Cheyenne O’Grady (20-138, 2), Austin Cantrell (12-93) and Jeremy Patton (5-102) are weapons. La’Michael Pettway (4-39) and De’Vion Warren (1-5) help.

LSU DJ Chark (25-588) averages 23.5 ypc, but the speedster hasn’t scored. He had a big drop last week as the Tigers attacked Alabama’s CBs. TE Foster Moreau (15-181, 3) leads in TD catches, followed by Russell Gage (14-173, 2). Derrick Dillon (10-95) and Stephen Sullivan (6-146, 1, 24.3 ypc) are also targets. Gage and Chark have rushing TDs.

ADVANTAGE Even

Offensive Line

ARKANSAS Allowed no sacks last week as it continues to adapt to the loss of All-SEC C Frank Ragnow. The starting unit is likely LT Colton Jackson, LG Hjalte Froholdt, C Zach Rogers, RG Johnny Gibson and RT Brian Wallace. Jackson was cited for playing well last week. Arkansas is No. 76 in total offense (388.4), No. 55 in scoring (29.9), No. 114 in sacks allowed (3.11).

LSU Like Arkansas, the Tigers have had injury concerns. LT KJ Malone (knee) might be back after missing 3 games. LG Garrett Brumfield and C Will Clapp have started 9 games, while RG Ed Ingram has started 8. Toby Weathersby, Saahdiq Charles and Adrian Magee have all played LT. LSU is No. 62 in total offense (405.3), No. 86 in scoring (25.4) and No. 85 in sacks allowed (2.33).

ADVANTAGE LSU

Defensive Line

ARKANSAS McTelvin Agim (23, 5 sacks, 1.5 TFL, 3 hurries) is back after a targeting ejection. Jake Hall (9, 1 sack, 1 PBU, 2 hurries) did well last week opposite T.J. Smith (20, 3 TFL, 1 sack, 3 hurries). Bijhon Jackson (14, 1 sack, 1 hurry), Briston Guidry (12, 1.5 TFL, 1 FF, 1 FR), Austin Capps (12, 1.5 sacks, 1 PBU) and Jonathan Marshall (5, 2 hurries) contribute. Arkansas is No. 95 against the run (190.2).

LSU Also runs a base 3-4. NT Greg Gilmore (38, 5.5 sacks, 3 hurries) has been disruptive and the DEs Christian LaCouture (52, 7 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 3 hurries) and Rashard Lawrence (20, 2.5, 1.5) are active, agile and physical. Glen Logan (14, 1 TFL) is a backup end and Ed Alexander (8), a 339-pounder, gets NT work. The Tigers are No. 41 against the run (142.4).

ADVANTAGE LSU

Linebackers

ARKANSAS De’Jon Harris (81, 7 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 PBU) had 13 tackles last week and is playing near home. Dre Greenlaw (73, 2 PBU, 2 hurries) made a big play here in ‘15. Dwayne Eugene (29, 5.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks) and Randy Ramsey (28, 3.5, 1, 4 hurries) start at OLB. Playing downhill vs. the LSU run game is key today. Arkansas ranks No. 92 in total defense (422.2), No. 111 in scoring (36.1).

LSU OLB Arden Key, 6-6, 265, (30, 5.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 4 hurries) is considered a prime NFL draft talent. Rover Devin White (89, 8, 3) leads the SEC in tackles. MLB Donnie Alexander (38, 6, 5.5) has been dinged up. Corey Thompson (31, 6, 5) starts at OLB. Tyler Taylor (25) and K’Lavon Chaisson (19, 2 sacks) rotate in. The Tigers are No. 17 in total defense (317.0) and No. 31 in scoring defense (20.4).

ADVANTAGE LSU

Secondary

ARKANSAS Major snaps are taking a toll on mainstay DBs Santos Ramirez (51, 2 TFL, 7 PBU, 1 INT), Kevin Richardson (30, 3 INT, 3 PBU) and Josh Liddell (31, 1 INT, 1 PBU) and CBs Kamren Curl (34, 6 PBU) and Henre Toliver (28, 8 PBU, 1 INT) with injuries to De’Andre Coley (6) and Britto Tutt (2). The deep ball has emerged as a big concern. Arkansas is No. 80 in passing (232.0) and No. 95 in efficiency.

LSU CB Andraez Williams (31, 9 PBU) leads with 3 INT. Kevin Toliver II (24, 6 PBU, 1 INT) and Donte Jackson (31, 7 PBU, 1 hurry) also play CB. SS John Battle (45, 1.5 TFL, 3 PBU, 1 INT) and FS Grant Delpit (41, 3 TFL, 7 PBU, 1 INT) are a solid tandem. Corey Thompson (31, 6 TFL, 5 sacks) and Kary Vincent Jr. (9, 1 INT) roll in. LSU is No. 12 in passing (174.6) and No. 12 in efficiency.

ADVANTAGE LSU

Special Teams

ARKANSAS Kicker Connor Limpert is a solid 6 of 7 on FGs, 23 of 24 PATs. The sophomore lefty had touchbacks on 6 of 7 kickoffs last week. De’Vion Warren (27.2 kickoff returns) was slowed last week but ranks No. 11 in the FBS and the Hogs are No. 40 (22.58) overall. Net punting (36.9) is below par and punter Blake Johnson (39.5) is No. 91 Kick and punt coverage has been steady since the A&M game.

LSU Connor Culp is 9 of 10 on FGs, 14 of 14 on PATs since taking over in week 2. DJ Chark is dangerous on punt returns (15.7) as the SEC leader and No. 8 in the FBS. The Tigers are No. 9 overall (15.7) on punt returns. Zach Von Rosenberg averages 42.2 yards per punt after taking over and LSU is No. 72 in net punting (37.7).

ADVANTAGE Even

Intangibles

ARKANSAS Hogs won handily in its last appearance here, a fact both squads have been apprised of all week. The Razorbacks snapped their 7-game losing streak to Power 5 teams in their last road game and overcame great adversity in the process, so a quick start by the Tigers isn’t necessarily fatal. The hot seat of Coach Bret Bielema should equate to incentive for the Hogs.

LSU Shook off the “Bama hangover” effect last season by trampling the Hogs’ 38-10. The Tigers left last week’s 24-10 loss at Alabama with decent vibes because of their play in the trenches, which has been an issue for Arkansas. Ed Orgeron promises a strong finish and all signs seemingly point to LSU handling business at home despite the unwanted 11 a.m. kickoff.

ADVANTAGE LSU

Discussion

Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.