LSU football defeats Arkansas thanks to play of freshman sensation Harold Perkins

Koki Riley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Let Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 be known as the Harold Perkins game.

No. 7 LSU football didn't make it easy for themselves, that's for sure. But Perkins, the freshman phenom, made sure the Tigers escaped Arkansas with a win, 13-10.

LSU (8-2, 6-1 SEC) had the ball with four minutes left and a 13-10 lead but could only muster a single first down. Despite the lackluster drive, the Tigers still pinned Arkansas inside its own 25-yard line with under two minutes left.

Then on first-and-10 at the Arkansas 38, Perkins forced his second fumble of the game. The fumble and LSU recovery clinched the win for LSU, as Arkansas did not have any timeouts left.

Perkins also forced a fumble at the Tigers' 40 that was later overturned as an incomplete pass. Regardless, the play still gave LSU the ball back with four minutes left to play.

The Razorbacks had just made a massive stop on 4th and inches prior to the near fumble. Inside their own 45-yard line, Arkansas forced a turnover on downs after LSU's offense had driven 40 yards downfield mostly through the ground. But

LSU (No. 8 AFCA Coaches/No. 7 AP) didn't score its first touchdown until the 5:25 mark of the third quarter, when Jayden Daniels found Kayshon Boutte for 26 yards to set up a one-yard touchdown run from Josh Williams. The score gave LSU the 13-3 advantage.

Without starting quarterback KJ Jefferson, Arkansas' passing game was even worse through three quarters, as starter Malik Hornsby was benched in the third quarter. His replacement, USF transfer Cade Fortin, struggled on his first drive but led the Razorbacks (5-5, 2-4) on their first touchdown drive to start the fourth quarter.

Fortin had nearly three times as many passing yards on the drive (69) than Hornsby (24) had all day. The score cut the LSU lead to three, 13-10.

Here are three takeaways from the game.

LSU's defense bails out early turnovers from the offense

LSU's offense was a mess to start. The Tigers turned over the ball twice, including once inside its own 10, in the first quarter.

The first bad error came on an interception thrown by Daniels at midfield on the opening drive of the game. The second mistake was a fumbled handoff at the LSU 10 following a three-and-out the drive prior.

LSU's mistakes, however, were covered up by the defense. The Tigers' defense forced a three-and-out after the opening turnover and a turnover on downs following the Daniels fumble.

It was another example of LSU's defense answering the bell, particularly in the red zone, where the Tigers have had one of the best units in the nation. In last week's win against Alabama, LSU didn't surrender a touchdown on the Crimson Tide's first three red zone drives.

LSU had a terrible time handling Arkansas' pressure

Whether it was Daniels or LSU's offensive line, LSU's offense couldn't seem to avoid Arkansas' pressure.

Daniels was sacked five times in the first half and had Arkansas pass rushers constantly swirling him in the pocket. The offensive line did not do him any favors but Daniels held onto the ball for too long, even against the Razorbacks' blitz.

Daniels only had 38 passing yards on seven attempts in the first half. Although he wasn't quite as unproductive as Hornsby, who finished the first half with 15 passing yards.

For as inept as LSU was through the air, the Tigers' run game was very good. LSU had 150 rushing yards through three quarters.

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Harold Perkins. What else is there to say?

Perkins was all over the field again. He had three sacks, six total tackles and a forced fumble through three quarters, as he was typically deployed as a spy on Hornsby.

The former five-star recruit further proved why he is LSU's best athlete and defense while building upon his star-making performance against Alabama when he had seven pressures and a sack.

Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser and the USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email him at and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.