Instant analysis: LSU 20, Arkansas 13

November, 23, 2012
11/23/12
6:47
PM ET

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Jarvis Landry's highlight-reel, one-handed 22-yard touchdown catch from Zach Mettenberger looked like a big play in what was going to lead to a blowout.

Not so much.

No. 7 LSU ended up fighting for its BCS-bowl life in what was likely John L. Smith's final game at Arkansas, holding on for a 20-13 win at Razorback Stadium.

It will be argued that Smith was too conservative in this one. Down 17-10 and facing fourth-and-goal inside the 1-yard line, Smith opted to kick an 18-yard field goal rather than go for it.

But the Razorbacks still had a chance later on. The last play was a throw from Tyler Wilson to Mekale McKay into the end zone, but the throw was high and into tight coverage. It fell incomplete after Arkansas (4-8) had driven to the LSU 18.

It was over when: It looked over when Odell Beckham caught a 47-yard pass from Mettenberger with less than two minutes remaining, which converted a third-and-11 at the LSU 36.

Beckham, who had 112 receiving yards on four receptions, broke a tackle and streaked down the right sideline for the biggest gain of the day for the Tigers.

That led to a field goal by Drew Alleman with 1:24 left, but Arkansas had one more drive from Wilson, who finished 31-for-52 for 359 yards, the most thrown against LSU this year.

Game ball goes to: Landry, whose twisting catch in the back of the end zone was likely the play of the year for LSU.

He caught eight passes for 75 yards. Mettenberger completed 16 of 29 pass attempts for 217 yards.

Key play: The key decision. Arkansas (4-8), playing with nothing to lose, stayed conservative on the John Henson 18-yard field goal.

It seemed everybody in the stadium was begging for the Razorbacks to try for the tying touchdown. Smith played it conservative, and lost.

Key stat: 462-306, Arkansas' edge on total offense. Yet, the Tigers found a way to win, much like it did in last week's 41-35 win over Ole Miss.

What it means for LSU: The Tigers finish 10-2 and await Saturday's Iron Bowl result to see if they get a chance to play for the SEC championship. That's unlikely, considering it would require an Auburn upset of Alabama.

Short of that, LSU must hope for a BCS bowl berth, probably to the Sugar Bowl.

What it means for Arkansas: It's time to move to the next chapter. Arkansas went 4-8 just months after they opened the season a Top-10 team.

Gary Laney | email

Reporter, GeauxTigerNation

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