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November 29, 2013
RECAP: LSU 31, Arkansas 27
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Backup quarterback Anthony Jennings closed out LSU's regular season by giving Tigers fans a big dose of hope for the future.
The freshman replaced an injured Zach Mettenberger in the fourth quarter and lofted a 49-yard touchdown pass to Travin Dural with 1:15 left as No. 15 LSU pulled out a tense 31-27 victory over upset-minded Arkansas on Friday.
Jennings entered the game after Mettenberger hurt his left leg in the fourth quarter, and the game came down to whether Jennings could drive the Tigers 99 yards in the final 3 minutes.
He responded with a pair of clutch first-down passes and a 21-yard scramble to set up his winning scoring strike that kept LSU (9-3, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) alive for a fourth-straight 10-win campaign.
Brandon Allen completed two touchdown passes to tight end Hunter Henry, the second giving Arkansas (3-9, 0-8) a 27-21 lead that stood most of the fourth quarter. But Jennings' heroics extended the Razorbacks' school-record losing streak to nine games and ensured Arkansas' first winless record in the SEC since joining the conference in 1992.
LSU's defense sealed up the victory when cornerback Dwayne Thomas sacked and stripped Allen and defensive end Jermauria Rasco recovered in the final minute, allowing Jennings to take a curtain call in kneel on the ball to run out the clock.
The Tigers first three scores all came on long runs. Terrence Magee had TDs of 29 and 23 yards in the first and Jeremy Hill broke loose for a 52-yarder in the third quarter. Hill finished with 145 yards on 20 carries.
Junior receiver Jarvis Landry caught eight passes for 113 yards in what may have been his final game in Tiger Stadium, including an awkward, leaping circus catch from behind a defender to set up a field goal that cut Arkansas' lead to 27-24 with about 5 minutes to go. The catch came on the 32-yard pass that Mettenberger delivered just as hit low and twisted underneath a defender and blocker.
Mettenberger, a senior, finished 14 of 22 passing for 156 yards, becoming the third QB in LSU history to eclipse 3,000 yards in a season.
Allen completed 19 of 29 passes for 178 yards.
Arkansas, a more-than three-TD underdog, led 17-14 at halftime and increased its lead on Zach Hocker's field goal in the third quarter, which was set up by Alan Turner's interception of Mettenberger's overthrow that was tipped by Landry.
LSU regained the lead on Hill's touchdown, but Arkansas responded with a 15-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Henry's second TD catch.
Early in the fourth quarter, LSU was inside the Arkansas 20. But on fourth-and-2, coach Les Miles kept the offense on the field instead of trying a field goal, and Mettenberger's pass to Hill went for only 1 yard, leaving the Tigers' deficit at six with 9:20 left.
Early on, it looked like LSU was on its way to the type of romp odd makers expected. The Tigers forced a quick punt on the Hogs' opening drive, then marched 70 plays on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead Magee's first score.
The Razorbacks then exhibited their determination in the way they responded to Korliss Marshall's 100-yard kickoff return being called back for holding. Arkansas had to start on its own 14, but drove 86 yards on eight plays to tie it on fullback Kiero Small's 3-yard run on a direct snap.
Magee's second touchdown put LSU back up 14-7. But Arkansas once again answered with another eight-play, 86-yard drive, this one ending with Henry's 9-yard catch.
Late in the half, Braylon Mitchell sacked and stripped Mettenberger and Brandon Lewis recovered on the 28, setting up Hocker's 20-yard field goal and the Hogs' first lead.