This weekend’s LSU-Arkansas match-up is a must-win for the Tigers. In what will be Ed Orgeron’s final season, the Tigers enter Saturday at 4-5 overall. Playing for bowl eligibility in November, LSU must step up and get a few big wins.
The Tigers will use both Max Johnson and Garrett Nussmeier as quarterbacks against the Razorbacks. Nussmeier has been deserving of more playing time with Johnson unable to lead the team down the field and score in certain situations. Last week, LSU had four opportunities to take the lead over Alabama and failed to capitalize in the end zone. This week, Nussmeier will have his opportunity to play. Using both signal-callers could fair well for the Tigers.
Both Quarterbacks Set to Play
While Johnson has been a decent quarterback in 2021, many think it might be time for a switch at the position. Getting Nussmeier playing time down the stretch could be a successful attempt at reaching bowl eligibility. In the action he has seen, the freshman has thrown the ball well and looked poised in the pocket. Unlike last season, the Tigers won’t be positioning Nussmeier into a hostile road environment. With the Arkansas game in Tiger Stadium, the Tigers backup signal-caller should feel comfortable when he is placed into the game.
Sticking with the offense, the front line is depleted with injuries. Marlon Martinez and Garrett Dellinger will both see field action this week. The offensive line has struggled this season in blocking for the run and the pass. But heading into Arkansas week, LSU could see a few bright spots upfront.
How LSU Can Run the Ball Effectively
For LSU to stay in this game, the rushing attack has to be consistent. Tyrion Davis-Price needs to get upfield and be an effective tailback against the Razorbacks. Arkansas allows 156 rushing yards per game on average. Even with a beat-up front line, the running game could be a big factor in a Tigers win on Saturday.
Banged Up Defense Has to Contain the Pass
Looking at the defense, LSU has dealt with injuries all season. That remains the case this week, but the unit should be motivated. Against Alabama, the Tigers only allowed 20 points and 308 total yards of offense. Defensive coordinator Daronte Jones should call a similar game plan against the Razorbacks this weekend.
One area the defense will have to play well in is pass protection. Arkansas quarterback K.J. Jefferson can sling the ball down the field in a flash. Despite having injuries, the pass coverage has looked better over the past game or two for the Tigers. If there is one aspect the unit can gain momentum at, it’s certainly containing the deep throws. Dwight McGlothern has allowed a few deep passes in coverage this season. However, replacing Derek Stingley Jr. is no easy feat. In the eyes of some, McGlothern has played about as good as he can be given the fact that LSU has been banged up on both sides.
LSU-Arkansas Final Thoughts
Saturday’s LSU-Arkansas game will be a true test of just how trusted the backups are. With many starters out, new faces will see game action. If the newcomers can shine, LSU has a chance to escape with a victory.