BATON ROUGE, La. — Ryan Mallett got everything he needed for a legendary touchdown drive, but his LSU counterpart Jordan Jefferson put his kicker, Josh Jasper, into position twice in the closing moments.
Jasper tied the LSU school record with four field goals as LSU escaped the comeback Arkansas Razorbacks with a 33-30 overtime victory before a crowd of 93,013 at Tiger Stadium.
Jeferson passed for 179 yards and Trindon Holliday combined for 166 all-purpose yards to lead LSU.
LSU moves to 9-3 on the season, and combined with Ole Miss’ loss today claims second place in the SEC West at 5-3. The Razorbacks see their winning streak snapped, but close the season at 7-5 overall and 3-5 in league play. Both teams await the bowl selection process next weekend.
"I’m very proud of the way be battled," head coach Bobby Petrino said. "We got in a position to win the game. We made the adjustments at halftime, and we put ourselves in a place to win the game."
The Razorbacks had one of their most balanced offensive days, racking up 148 yards rushing and 227 yards passing.
Down four, Mallett was presented with his opportunity to create his own Razorback legend. Starting at his own 25-yard line, Mallett directed a 12-play drive that culminated with Joe Adams’ 14-yard touchdown reception with 1:18 left in the game.
Adams figured twice in the drive, first by taking a crushing helmet-to-helmet blow at the goal line, with the resulting personal foul putting Arkansas at the LSU 14 yard line. Alex Tejada’s point after put Arkansas ahead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game.
Jefferson responded for LSU, moving the Tigers 41 yards in just 64 sections to set up the tying field goal with eight seconds left for Jasper.
In the overtime, both teams stalled on the 19 yard line. Arkansas played defense first, putting the game on Jasper’s toe. He hit the 36-yarder for his fourth of the game. Arkansas reached the same 19, but Tejada’s kick went wide right.
The second half was a back and forth offensive battle.
DD Jones tips the pass and Franklin hauls it in on the Tiger 45, returning it to the LSU 28. Ronnie Wingo, Jr., took over with three carries to close the short-field drive, his last being a 13-yard ramble up the middle, breaking left off tacklers, for the touchdown. Tejada’s PAT made it 17-13 with 12:24 left in the third.
Jefferson drove LSU 67 yards on nine plays, capping it with a 15-yard pass to Deangelo Peterson, to return the spread to 11, 24-13.
The Razorbacks matched with a 77-yard, seven-play drive of their own, with Mallett’s 19-yard pass to Jarius Wright pushing Arkansas upfield. Broderick Green went into the end zone untouched for the final nine yards.
Jefferson move LSU to midfield, but a combination of penalties and Razorback defense stalled the Tigers. Arkansas took the next posession 62 yards for a third Tejada field goal, this one 40 yards, to cut the Tiger margin to one, 24-23.
Jefferson pushed the Tigers 55 yards up the field, converting two clutch third down plays, to set up a 47-yard field goal for Jasper with 4:05 left, 27-23, to set the stage for the final two drives.
The Razorbacks opened the game with a quick drive into LSU territory, but a pass that floated high for Mallett near the LSU five yard line stopped the Razorbacks as Chad Jones made the pick for LSU.
LSU was unable to get on track offensively, and Arkansas marched back up field to set up a career-tying 47-yard field goal for Alex Tejada.
The Tigers came back with 17 unanswered points, starting with a 16-yard touchdown strike to Brandon LaFell from Jordan Jefferson.
The drive was fueled by a pair of Trindon Holliday carries of 19 and 12 yards.
LSU extended its lead to 10-3 with a 47-yard field goal by Josh Jasper.
Arkansas struggled in the air most of the first half as Mallett hit only seven of his 20 attempts. Still, the 91 yards in the air for Arkansas allowed the Razorbacks to have a statistical advantage at halftime.
Special teams proved the difference early, as the Tigers got an 87-yard punt return from Trindon Holliday for their second score.
LSU pinned Arkansas deep at its own five, and looked like it would pick up great field position until a fumbled reception on the punt gave the ball back to Arkansas.
The Razorbacks were unable to take advantage of that special teams miscue, but shortly thereafter used good field position from a shanked LSU punt to drive for a second score.
Scrambling most of the night early, Mallett evaded the Tiger rush to find Adams for a key gain into LSU territory. Picking up another LSU rush with a play check, Mallett handed to Johnson for 10, and a 15-yard personal foul for a facemask set the Razorbacks up with less than a minute left deep in Tiger territory. Mallet sailed a pair of pases high before Tejada came on for his second field goal, a 35-yarder, to end the half.
Holliday had three punt returns for 109 yards to go with his 57 yards rushing while Arkansas did not have a single punt return.