LSU falls in OT heartbreaker at home to No. 25 Arkansas

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LSU quarterback Garrett Nussmeier (5) throws against McNeese State during an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

BATON ROUGE, LA. — Cam Little’s 37-yard field goal in the first overtime period Saturday night lifted No. 25 Arkansas to a 16-13 win over LSU in Tiger Stadium. Arkansas ended a five-game losing streak to the Tigers and claimed the Golden Boot for the first time since 2015.

The Razorbacks improved to 7-3 overall and 3-3 in the SEC, while LSU dropped to 4-6 overall and 2-5 in conference play.

Arkansas defensive back Montaric Brown intercepted a pass from LSU quarterback Garrett Nussmeier in the end zone on the Tigers’ first overtime possession.

Taking over at the LSU 25-yard line for its OT possession, quarterback KJ Jefferson ran the football three straight times, setting the stage for Little’s game-winning kick.

LSU is now 8-8 all-time in overtime games, including a 6-5 record in Tiger Stadium.

The overtime game was LSU’s first since November 24, 2018, when the Tigers lost a 74-72 seven-OT marathon at Texas A&M.

Saturday’s contest was the first overtime game in Tiger Stadium since November 8, 2014, when Alabama defeated LSU, 20-13.

Nussmeier, who replaced starting quarterback Max Johnson in the first quarter, finished 18-of-31 for 179 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price rushed 28 times for 106 yards, and the Tigers outgained Arkansas in total offensive yards, 308-281.

LSU linebackers Micah Baskerville and Damone Clark performed brilliantly, as the Tigers employed aggressive, blitzing schemes for the second straight game.

Baskerville recorded 12 tackles, two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss, while Clark posted 11 total stops with one sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Jefferson completed 18-of-25 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown, and he was Arkansas’ leading rusher with 15 carries for 41 yards.

After Arkansas forced LSU to punt on its opening possession, the Razorbacks moved into LSU territory, and Little connected on a 48-yard field goal to open the scoring with 11:59 remaining in the first quarter.

Later in the quarter, the LSU defense forced Arkansas to punt from its own end zone, and after Trey Palmer returned the kick 12 yards to the Razorbacks’ 43-yard line, Nussmeier replaced Johnson as the Tigers’ quarterback.

Nussmeier guided LSU to the Arkansas 15-yard line, where on fourth down, Cade York hit a 34-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3 with 1:47 left in the first period.

The suffocating LSU defense again bottled up Arkansas deep in its own territory, and the Tigers took over at the Hogs’ 40 after another punt.

The Tigers needed just three plays to take the lead, as Nussmeier fired a 29-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Jack Bech, and LSU held a 10-3 advantage at the 14:52 mark of the second quarter.

Neither team scored again before halftime, as LSU’s defense continued to perform at a dominant level. The Tigers limited Arkansas to just six first downs and 101 total yards in the first half, recording five tackles for loss, including two sacks.

Arkansas tied the game with 6:01 left in the third quarter when Jefferson connected on a 43-yard scoring pass to running back Dominique Johnson, capping a five-play, 63-yard march for the Razorbacks.

Defensive back Myles Slusher picked off a Nussmeier pass at the Razorbacks’ 37, giving Arkansas a scoring opportunity. The Hogs moved 53 yards in nine plays, and Little kicked a 27-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the third period.

The drive was sustained by a fake field goal, as holder Reid Bauer ran 23 yards for a first down on fourth-and-six from the LSU 36-yard line.

LSU responded by moving 48 yards in 12 plays, and York nailed a 45-yard field goal with 10:53 remaining, knotting the contest at 13-13.

(LSU Media Press Release)

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