Battle for the Golden Boot
Arkansas Razorbacks (2-6, 0-6) @ No.1 LSU Tigers (10-0, 6-0)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana – Tiger Stadium (“Death Valley”)
6 pm ESPN
LSU is favored by 44.5 points on the betting line
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index LSU has a 98.7% chance to win with a 42.5-point favorite
Spread Over/Under 70
The Arkansas – LSU football rivalry, also known as the Battle for the Golden Boot, is an American college football rivalry between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the LSU Tigers. The first game was played in 1901, when Arkansas joined the SEC in 1992, the game has become an annual game. The “Golden Boot” trophy was first awarded to the games winner in 1996.
- Total Meetings 64
- All time series LSU leads 40-22-2
- Current Streak LSU 3
From the “Ice Bowl” in 1947, with a final score of (0-0), the Cotton Bowl Classic in 1996 that had National Championship implications (LSU 14- Arkansas 7) the game has been a good one. The first Golden Boot awarded in 1996 to LSU (14-7) as well as the Hogs fan favorite “Miracle on Markham” in 2002 (Arkansas 21- LSU 20) there has always been a special theme to this annual game. All Arkansas fans remember Houston Nutt’s last game in 2007 3OT thriller Arkansas 50- LSU 48. No matter who is ranked what, or who anyone things is the better team a rivalry is a rivalry. These are the games where upsets happen and the unthinkable makes headlines.
Whether the game is a game for a championship or just a week on the schedule, the annual event is circled by Arkansas each year. After the Miracle on Markham “part II” when Casey Dick threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to wide out London Crawford on a forth and one with 22 seconds remaining on the clock to give the Razorbacks a 31-30 victory, the game seemed to always keep football fans watching.
Watch: Miracle on Markham “Part II”
The Arkansas Razorbacks travel to Death Valley Saturday night for a true SEC road game to take on the No. 1 team in the country as well as hated Rival LSU. The Battle for the Golden Boot, which LSU has staked claim to for many years. The Hogs, let by Barry Lunney Jr., a long-time assistant and former Razorback quarterback who has taken over the Head Hog position as interim coach after the firing of Chad Morris. LSU with former interim coach Ed Orgeron appreciates as well as anyone the jolt a team like Arkansas could get from a coaching change and a good interim in the spot. “Always, always, no question,” said Orgeron, who was the interim head coach in 2013 at Southern California and in 2016 at LSU. “I think they get juice. Every time I’ve been an interim coach, the next week we came out on fire.”
Lunney has probably the toughest task that any College Football coach has had the entire season. To take a struggling team into one of the toughest environments in all of College Football, Death Valley at LSU. “It just so happens to be that we are playing right now the best football team in the country,” Lunney said. “We are going to one of the best environments in college football – at night.” Hog fans can look at this game many ways, maybe none of them are for the Hogs to win. Fans need to see a team compete and not quit at all during the game. Show some git and work for what you want. The Hogs have a chance, although its 1.3% chance, but they do have a chance to bring the BOOT back to Arkansas and completely change the College Football Playoff committee decisions.
Watch: Lunney Previews LSU (Pig Trail Nation YouTube)
Who will Start for Arkansas as quarterback? We have heard about the future and it is time for KJ Jefferson show what he can do. We have seen flashes of the Jefferson run offense the real question this week is, can there be a drive that keep the offense on the field? An uncertain o-line will keep him running which is where Rakeem Boyd comes in to play. We have seen #5 run away from defenses in the past few weeks. Will Lunney and the offense decide to stay with the run. Run the bawl if we may. One it can shorten the game while keeping the defense off the field. Two, we need to see what this offense can really do with a QB that everyone knows needs to be the play caller. Can the offense manager to get a few first downs and give the defense a break from the field? If they cannot sustain some drives in this game the Arkansas defense will get tired and torn to shreds by the Burrow lead offense. Hopefully Coach Lunney’s gut will keep the LSU defense guessing and give the Hogs a show to move the ball.
Expectations are to get things started for next year and the next head coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks. KJ Jefferson should be getting his first start in one of the most hostile environments in college football, Death Valley in Baton Rouge. Arkansas does have a receiving core for Jefferson to work with. With no CJ O’Grady the catches will have to be made by Trey Knox, T.Q. Jackson, Treylon Burks, and should get a good look at Freshman Hudson Henry, brother of NFL star Hunter Henry. Coach Lunney not coming out and saying here is our starter, why would he not go this direction. Starkel has been gun shy for weeks after a horrible performance, John Stephen Jones not seemingly to have the arm against DBU, and Hicks just doesn’t seem a good fit this season. There has been no quarterback play for years, and him being a former quarterback himself I believe he sees what we the fans see and have heard about. We need to go into next year knowing who is going to lead this offense. There is no time for questions or switching back and forth. Put up or shut up time, and get this program going in the right direction. Simplify the offense to short quick passes with the occasional deep try while staying true to the run. 1000-yard rusher Rakeem Boyd beside him, even though the O-line is not up to par, there should be many RPO options along with a stunning young wide receiver core to cause the LSU defense problems. With the worry of No. 5 breaking a long run causing older fans to have deja vu of McFadden in Death Valley, there should be some openings in the secondary. Jefferson will get the test of his life early in his career to solidify whether he will be QB1 for the future. There doesn’t need to be anything hugs just start going in the right diction with 2 more games and still able to redshirt. Arkansas fans should see some new names and numbers with 53-freshman on the roster, it is time to see them play. Get the much- needed experience in the most hostile of environments with eyes on the prize.
The LSU Tigers lead by Heisman favorite Joe Burrow, Senor QB, looks to keep his streak going. Burrow has 3,687 passing yards on the season with 38 TD and 6 INT. A QB rating of 93.2. If the Tigers win they win the SEC West title and plan their trip to Georgia for the SEC Title Game. Along side soon to be 1000-yard rusher Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Junior RB, the Tigers plan will be as it has been all season long. Stay true the run and feed your RB core to open the secondary for Burrow to have another 300+ passing yard game. Arkansas allowing a scary 446.7-yards per game this season, almost equal at 221 passing and 225 rushing the Razorbacks D is going to have to put on a show. McTelvin Agim in the middle of the D-line should be able to add to his 36 tackles on the season, maybe with a few snaps from the defensive end position to get to Burrow or at least make his presence known. Still the best name is football Bumper Pool should come out and add to his good Sophomore year with 76 tackles, 29 of them solo. In the middle of that front 8, which it will have to be early with Sophomore Joe Foucha in the box as well to keep the running game away or at least calm for the beginning. With Foucha in the box Kam Curl and Jarques McClellion will be put on an island at some point of the game against a top WR core. The young Hogs are going to have a fight of their lives. The LSU offense has been clicking all year in terrifying ways against every defense that have faced this year. Orgeron made is apparent that Burrow’s job this week is to help LSU build a lopsided lead as quickly as possible, so reserves can get more playing time. “If we get into the game and we are winning by a certain amount, I’m taking guys out,” Orgeron said. “I’m taking guys out as soon as I can.” The whole country will know what LSU wants to do. The first half LSU is favored by 27 by halftime, and we all know Orgeron wants it to be 35 to play reserves in the second half. The Hogs to make sure this does not happen it has to be 100% for the full 60 minutes. There is no stopping and there are no excuses this week.
Razorbacks secondary is going to get a true test Saturday night. Can Joe Fouche, Bumper Pool, De’Jon Harris, Cam Curl, Jarques McClellion, and Gabe Richardson manager to keep the LSU wide receivers uncomfortable or will they shine yet again under the Death Valley lights.
Hopefully, Arkansas Razorbacks great David Bazzel is there to tell the Hogs not one of you, but all of you get your ass over there and get that Boot. KJ Jefferson will give the Hog fans something to think about and some maybe some hope for the future. Jefferson should throw for 200+ yards getting more on the same page with his wide receivers with at least one wide out with 100 yards receiving. Boyd should get his 100 yards hopefully with at least one 60 plus yard run to stun the LSU faithful. Will all the turmoil in the Razorback program although a SEC win is not in the thoughts for this weekend a good played game behind interim Barry Lunney Jr. will give fans hope for the future. Burrow unfortunately for Ed Orgeron will have to play in the third quarter to get the comfortable lead he wants to put in reserves. In the end LSU should keep their #1 status and their record setting pace in college football in the 2019 season. Burrow keeps his Heisman hopes alive with another SEC win this time keeping the Golden Boot for another year from the Razorbacks.
Arkansas 20 LSU 63
Football Sports Writer for Natural State Sports
Co-Host of Thursday night live show “The Sports Junkies” along side Steve Hinson