Give it up to the LSU Tigers. Facing the toughest schedule any college team has ever had to play in route to a national championship run, the Tigers finished off the regular season with a 12-0 record after a convincing 41-17 win over third-ranked Arkansas.
Despite spotting the Razorbacks a 14-0 lead it was the Tigers who played their version of "smash-mouth" football. The defense also chipped in by stinging Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson and the high-powered Razorback offense every time they took a snap.
The Tigers, behind the bruising efforts of former Patterson High School freshman running back Kenny Hilliard (who rushed for 102 yards on 19 carries), totaled 299 rushing yards.
After halftime the Tigers just rammed the football down the throats of an undermanned Razorback front with an overwhelming rushing attack on a unit that had little quality front-seven depth.
Early on the Tigers seemed to miss more tackles than in any other game this season and partially that is due to the offensive talent of the Razorbacks. But the Tigers defense just smothered an attack that was considered one of the best offenses in college football.
The Tigers held the Razorbacks to under 100 yards rushing and the passing skills of Tyler Wilson were limited to just 207 passing yards.
The Tigers also won the special teams part of the game with Tyrann Mathieu returning a punt 92 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Punter Brad Wing and place-kicker James Hairston also did a marvelous job pinning the speedy return men of the Razorbacks deep on kickoffs and punts.
But the real story is the redemption of senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Give Jarrett Lee full credit because he was a major part of putting this team in a position to play for the national championship, but since the showdown against Alabama it has been the former Destrehan quarterback that has been the triggerman.
Despite outcrys from many outside and also inside the Tiger fanbase, Les Miles knows his football team better than I do and better than any other person not involved directly with the team.
He is putting his best players on the field and right now the best quarterback for LSU is Jordan Jefferson.
Jefferson rushed for 64 yards against Arkansas on seven carries and he bolted 53 yards for a touchdown.
The strong-armed passer also completed 18 of his 29 throws for 208 yards and a touchdown.
His play the next two games will define his position in LSU history.
Despite all the distractions of what happened in the summer and inconsistent play as an underclassman this is Jefferson’s time at LSU.
He has showed most that he has that steel rod of titanium in his back to overcome adversity and still produce out on the field.
It is redemption time for Jordan Jefferson and a team that has been through a tremendous amount of turbulent times to get right to college football’s summit.
How proud every one of us should be to see all these young men from north Louisiana, central Louisiana, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Acadiana and the Bayou and River Parish regions playing on college football’s biggest stage.
How ‘bout them Tigers.