Run, Clyde, Run: LSU's Stars Shine Bright in 56-20 Blowout Win Over Arkansas
For what seems like a weekly tradition these days, the LSU offense made SEC history in route to a 56-20 win over Arkansas Saturday night.
With the Tigers carrying only a 7-3 lead after one quarter, fans were unsettled by the fact that the LSU offense would be punting for the second time when the second quarter was about to start.
Well, the offense would respond by scoring touchdowns on seven of its next eight drives, making it the most lopsided game the Tigers have played all season.
"Excellent job by our offensive staff, excellent job by out players," Orgeron said. "I thought our defense played a lot better and I thought overall our team played very well."
Tim Couch, who holds the SEC record for passing yards in a season with 4,275, will likely be surpassed by quarterback Joe Burrow before the regular season ends. Burrow came into Saturday's game with 3,687 yards, needing 588 to break the record.
There were plenty of yards, plenty of possessions for the Tigers to capitalize on as LSU scored on its final three drives of the first half to take a commanding 28-6 lead into the break. Burrow continued his stellar play, completing 23-of-28 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns, leaving him 261 yards shy of Couch's SEC record with Texas A&M still on the schedule.
While Burrow's performance was up to par with what we've come to expect, the player who stole the night was junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Edwards-Helaire continued to display his diverse set of skills, skills that led to a Paul Hornung award finalist given to the most versatile player in college football.
Edwards-Helaire combined for 103 yards on the ground and through the air in the first half alone, finishing with 253 total yards and three scores. The junior became the 21st running back in school history to go for over 1,000 yards in a single season.
"He's been on fire, we really like Clyde," Orgeron said. "He's starting to learn how to hit the holes and I think this spread offense fits him well. He knows where that hole is and usually the first guy can't catch him."
His six carry, 188-yard rushing performance was quite the sight to behold as half of his carries went for touchdowns. Over his last four games, Edwards-Helaire has rushed for 600 yards on 75 carries and eight touchdowns, averaging eight yards per attempt in that span.
With Edwards-Helaire passing the 1,000-yard mark and Burrow the 4,000-yard mark, the LSU offense became the first in SEC history to have a 4,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season.
Defensively, the goal entering the final two games of the season was to find a semblance of consistency after surrendering 41 and 37 points in its previous two outings. Junior safety JaCoby Stevens had called the performances 'embarrassing.'
"I thought they were ready to play," Orgeron said. "Coach Aranda was fired up, our whole defensive staff was fired up. I thought they did some really good things tonight."
The starting unit stepped up, albeit against a poor Arkansas offense. Stevens along with linebacker Jacob Phillips stole the show on defense as Phillips recorded 12 tackles, 2.5 of which went for a loss.
Stevens on the other hand had another jaw-dropping stat line, recording eight tackles with three sacks and four tackles for a loss, likely setting the junior up for his third SEC Defensive Player of the Week Award of the season.
After allowing two field goals in the first and second quarters, the Tiger defense forced Arkansas to punt on six of the next eight drives, not surrendering a single point in that time.
The win officially locks the Tigers in as SEC West champions, setting up an SEC championship appearance with No. 4 Georgia in two weeks time. While Orgeron and the teams are happy to punch their ticket to the game, the team ultimately has bigger goals in mind.
"We don't talk about rankings, we don't talk about SEC this SEC that, it's not time to do that," Orgeron said. "We're just taking it one game at a time. We want to be ranked No. 1 at the end of this season, that is the goal of this football team. We have a ways to go and we have to get better."
Up next for the Tigers is a date with No. 24 Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium, the final home and regular season game of the 2019 season.
"I'll never forget that game last year, we're going to be ready," Orgeron said. "