LSU TIGERS (9-2)
at ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (4-7)
Kickoff: Friday, 2:30 p.m. EDT
Line: LSU -11.5, Total: 51
Arkansas tries to salvage a miserable season when it closes out its 2012 campaign by hosting No. 7 LSU on Friday afternoon.
The home team has won the past four meetings in this SEC West rivalry. Last year, LSU outrushed Arkansas 286 to 47 in a 41-17 blowout in Baton Rouge. But this season, the Tigers have scored a mere 14.0 PPG on 289 total YPG in their three road games. However, the Razorbacks are a paltry 1-6 ATS at home and are currently in the midst of a three-game conference losing streak (SU and ATS). Although Arkansas has the SECís top passer in Tyler Wilson (303 passing YPG, 20 TD), LSU sacked him a career-high five times last year.
Can Arkansas keep this game close with LSU on Friday? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every key college football game throughout the 2012 season.
LSU QB Zach Mettenberger hadn't reached 250 passing yards in any of his first eight games (177 pass YPG), but has three straight 270-yard efforts, throwing for an average of 284 YPG, but with just 3 TD and 2 INT. But make no mistake, this is still a run-first offense, averaging 45 carries and 176 rushing yards over the past five games. Jeremy Hill and Spencer Ware rushed for a combined 132 yards and 4 TD in last week's 41-35 win over Ole Miss. In the past five games, the freshman Hill has gained 483 yards on the ground with seven touchdowns. This included last week's game-winner with just 15 seconds remaining. LSU's defense remains one of the best in the nation, ranking fifth among FBS teams in total yardage (281 YPG) and eighth in points (17.3 PPG). The Tigers have allowed just 277 YPG and 14.3 PPG in their three road games this season, but those numbers jumped to 382 YPG and 24.3 PPG on their just-completed three-game homestand.
Wilson continues to carry this offense, which ranks a respectable 25th in the nation with 296 passing YPG. However, he has thrown more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (6) over the four-game ATS losing skid, while taking 10 sacks. But the ground game continues to disappoint, churning up only 120 YPG (last in SEC). Leading rusher Dennis Johnson has averaged a respectable 5.6 YPC with eight touchdowns, but has averaged less than 12 carries per game this year. This offense is tied for the fifth-most turnovers in the nation (29) including eight miscues in the past two games alone. Defensively, the Razorbacks are allowing 31.4 PPG and 419 total YPG, figures that both rank 13th in the 14-team SEC. They have generated 2.6 sacks per game though, and could put pressure on Mettenberger, whose offensive line is allowing 2.1 sacks per game this season.