LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- In what has become a series known for late-game heroics, Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick hit London Crawford on a game-winning 24-yard touchdown pass with just 21 seconds left on the clock to give the Razorbacks a 31-30 win over LSU on Friday at War Memorial Stadium in the regular-season finale for both teams.
With the final minutes ticking away, the Razorbacks found themselves without a timeout as they faced a fourth-and-1 from the LSU 24-yard line. Dick took the snap from center and threw a pass down the right sideline to Crawford in the corner of the endzone for the winning score.
Despite a 17-yard return to the Arkansas 46-yard line by Chad Jones on the ensuing kickoff, the potential 63-yard game-winning field goal by Colt David fell short. Arkansas won the “Battle of the Boot” for the second year in a row after defeating LSU by a score of 50-48 in three overtimes in Baton Rouge last season.
The Tigers (7-5, 3-5 SEC) will now await their postseason fate as bowl invitations will go out on Sunday, Dec. 7. Arkansas (5-7, 2-8 SEC) saw its season come to an end on Friday.
While making his first career start for the Tigers, true freshman Jordan Jefferson took every snap under center and finished 9-of-21 passing for 143 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 19 rushes for 50 yards. Jefferson’s 19 carries were the most by an LSU quarterback in a single game since Marcus Randall had 17 carries against Arkansas on Nov. 26, 2004, in Little Rock.
The Razorbacks struck first on the opening possession of the game when they marched 76 yards in six plays to take an early 7-0 lead. Freshman running back Dennis Johnson put Arkansas on top with a 17-yard touchdown run around left end just 3 minutes, 20 seconds into the contest.
It appeared the Tigers tied the score seven plays later with a touchdown of their own as junior running back Keiland Williams took the option pitch from Jefferson around the right side and walked into the endzone from three yards out. But the touchdown did not stand as video evidence showed that Jefferson’s knee was down on the 3-yard line before releasing the pitch.
After Jefferson bobbled the ensuing shotgun snap on third-and-goal, David cut the Arkansas lead to 7-3 by splitting the uprights on a 29-yard field goal attempt with 8:19 to go in the quarter.
It only took starting quarterback Nathan Dick 3:21 to drive the Razorbacks back down the field for their second touchdown on their second possession of the afternoon. With the drive starting at their own 19-yard line, Dick completed a slant pass to Greg Childs for 18 yards to the Arkansas 37 before Johnson took a handoff and raced 54 yards over the left guard to the LSU 9-yard line.
LSU’s defense tightened to force a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but Dick rolled out to his left on a play-action pass and found tight end Andrew Davie standing alone in the endzone for the score with 4:54 to go in the first quarter of play.
Despite allowing the Razorbacks to take a 14-3 lead with 178 yards of offense in the first quarter, the Tigers took control of the game in the second quarter by dominating both sides of the ball to take a 23-14 lead into the halftime break.
The LSU defense played arguably its best quarter this season, holding Arkansas scoreless for the remainder of the half. The Razorbacks managed only three yards of total offense on nine plays in the second quarter, while junior linebacker Perry Riley intercepted a pass by Nathan Dick with less than a minute to go to set up a David field goal.
Not only did LSU’s defense dominate the second period, the offense exploded for 20 unanswered points to take control of the game at that point.
After missing a 40-yard field goal attempt with 2:13 to go in the first quarter, David came back to convert on attempts of 31 and 46 yards in the second quarter to surpass Georgia’s Kevin Butler for sole possession of third place on the SEC’s all-time scoring list with 361 points for his career.
While David kicked three field goals in the first half, junior running back Charles Scott scored LSU’s first touchdown of the afternoon with 11:25 left on the clock. After Jefferson hit fullback Quinn Johnson on a 24-yard completion down the right sideline, Scott took the handoff and went untouched up the middle of the Razorback defense on second-and-goal from the 5-yard line.
Scott’s 15th rushing touchdown of the season and 25th of his career capped a brilliant 11-play, 73-yard drive that took only 3:39 off the clock and moved him past Billy Cannon into the No. 9 spot on the school’s all-time list for rushing touchdowns in a single season.
After a field goal by David pulled the Tigers to within 14-13, the LSU defense forced a three-and-out, and Jefferson drove the Tigers 83 yards in eight plays to take their first lead of the game. The Tigers faced a second-and-10 from the Arkansas 11 when Jefferson rolled to his right and hit tight end Richard Dickson on a diving catch in the back corner of the endzone for the 20-14 lead.
In the waning moments of the half, Riley intercepted Nathan Dick for his first career pick to set up David’s 31-yard field goal attempt that split the uprights with 29 seconds to go.
The Tigers took a 23-14 lead into the locker room after running 40 plays for 242 yards in the half, while Arkansas ran 25 plays for 181 yards of their own.
LSU wasted no time in adding to its lead coming out of the break as speedster Trindon Holliday returned the opening kickoff of the second half 46 yards to the Arkansas 44-yard line. It only took Jefferson four plays and 1:54 from there to find senior Brandon LaFell streaking down the right sideline on a 32-yard touchdown pass to give LSU what seemed to be a comfortable 30-14 lead.
Holliday finished the game with 124 yards on three kickoff returns, moving him into third place in career kickoff return yards at LSU. He now sits at 1,269 yards for his career after eclipsing the 1,178 yards by former Tiger great Eddie Kennison.
But the Razorbacks pulled to within six points with 12:33 to go in the game following a 46-yard touchdown pass by Casey Dick to Jarius Wright late in the third quarter and a 22-yard field goal by Alex Tejada early in the fourth to cut the Tigers’ lead to 30-24.
LSU vs. Arkansas
Nov. 28, 2008 – War Memorial Stadium (Little Rock, Ark.)
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Arkansas received the opening kickoff.
4. LSU has scored at least 21 points in 32 of its last 33 games. LSU’s streak of 31 straight games with at least 21 points was snapped last week against Ole Miss. The last time before that the Tigers did not score at least 21 points in a game was at Florida on Oct. 7, 2006.
5. With Jordan Jefferson earning the start, LSU became 12th school in Division I-A to have started at least three players at quarterback this season.
6. When Perry Riley intercepted a pass in the second quarter, an LSU linebacker recorded an interception for the first time this season and the first since Darry Beckwith picked off a pass against Tennessee in the 2007 SEC Championship Game.
7. WR Brandon LaFell has now caught a pass in 27 straight games dating back to the 2007 Sugar Bowl versus Notre Dame.
a. With his two catches today, LaFell moved into eighth place in LSU single-season receptions. LaFell has made 61 catches on the season.
b. With his 49 yards today, LaFell moved into 10th place in LSU single-season receiving yards. LaFell has 903 receiving yards on the season.
c. LaFell hauled in his eighth receiving touchdown of the season and 14th of his career on a 32-yard pass from Jordan Jefferson with 13:06 left in the third quarter.
8. QB Jordan Jefferson became the first true freshman to start at QB for LSU since Herb Tyler did so in 1995.
a. Jefferson fired a career-long pass of 41 yards when he found Demetrius Byrd in the open field late in the second quarter.
b. Jefferson tossed his second and third TD passes of the season today on an 11-yard pass to Richard Dickson with 1:17 left in the second quarter and a 32-yard throw to Brandon LaFell with 13:06 remaining in the third quarter.
c. Jefferson had 19 rushes in the game, ironically the most by an LSU quarterback since Marcus Randall had 17 rushes versus Arkansas on Nov. 26, 2004, at War Memorial Stadium.
9. PK Colt David connected on a 29-yard field goal with 8:19 left in the first quarter, a 46-yard field goal with 6:59 left in the second quarter and a 31-yard field goal with 0:29 left in the second quarter. They represented his 13th, 14th and 15th made field goals of the season and 51st, 52nd and 53rd of his career.
a. Of David’s 53 made field goals in his career, 18 have come from 40 or more yards.
b. David moved into sole possession of second place in LSU career field goals made with his three today. He sits at 53 career made field goals, surpassing John Corbello (1999-02) and now trails only David Browndyke (1986-89) who made 61 during his career.
c. David connected for three field goals in a half for the third time in his career. David also had three field goals in the second half of last year’s Auburn game and first half of last year’s Middle Tennessee game.
d. With his 12 points today, David extended his school record of career points to 361 and now sits in third place in SEC career points. David passed Georgia’s Kevin Butler (1981-84) today.
10. WR Demetrius Byrd has now caught a pass in 22 straight games dating back to last year’s Tulane game on Sept. 29.
11. RB Charles Scott tallied his 15th rushing TD of the season and 25th of his career on a 5-yard TD run with 11:25 left in the second quarter.
a. Scott moved into a tie for third place in LSU single-season rushing touchdowns with 15. He is tied with Kevin Faulk (1997) and trails LaBrandon Toefield (2001), who amassed 19 touchdowns for the school record.
b. Scott is now ninth in LSU career touchdowns with 25 as he surpassed Billy Cannon (1957-59), who had 24 during his career.
13. DT Charles Alexander recorded his first sack of the season and 4.5 of his career midway through the second quarter.
a. Dickson moved into a three-way tie for fourth place in LSU single-season TD catches by a tight end.
b. Dickson is now one TD catch shy of tying the LSU career record for TD receptions by a tight end.
15. LB Perry Riley picked off his first career pass late in the second quarter.
16. KR Trindon Holliday moved into third place in LSU career kickoff return yards with his 124 yards today. Holliday now sits at 1,269 yards for his career after eclipsing Eddie Kennison’s 1,178 yards.
17. DE Rahim Alem recorded his eighth sack of the season in the third quarter, which puts him in a tie for ninth in LSU single-season sacks.
18. S Danny McCray forced his first fumble of the season and fourth of his career with 2:19 left in the third quarter.
19. CB Patrick Peterson recovered his first career fumble with 2:19 left in the third quarter.