The Boot is coming back home to Baton Rouge.
The LSU football team roared on Saturday night against Arkansas, dominating both offensively and defensively to secure a decisive 38-10 win.
The victory snaps a three-game winning streak for Arkansas in the annual rivalry game, which awards “The Boot” trophy to the winning team.
But this one wasn’t close. The Tigers outgained the Hogs 547-291 and showed that unlike in previous seasons, they don’t intent to tank the remainder of the season after losing to Alabama.
“It was a great game by our players and our coaching staff,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said after the win. “It really started Monday. We knew the task at hand. … We had more energy all night. Our guys want to finish hard.”
LSU put the wood on Arkansas – early and often throughout Saturday night’s game.
It started in the opening minutes.
The Tigers won the coin toss and deferred, then held the Razorbacks to a three-and-out offensive drive and a punt.
With their first possession, LSU shined, making plays in both the winning game and passing game to go on top – a 75-yard drive capped by a five-yard run by halfback Leonard Fournette to put LSU out front 7-0.
That lead ballooned to 21-0 early in the second quarter after LSU scored two more times – once on another Fournette score and the other on an 80-yard drive capped by halfback Derrius Guice.
The LSU one-two punch was as dominant as ever on Saturday, bouncing back from a bad showing against Alabama to generate 350 of the Tigers 390 rushing yards in the game.
The duo also had five combined touchdowns – three by Fournette. For the game, Guice was monstrous, carrying 21 times for 252 yards.
He said the team was hungry to show it was going to battle back after a late-season loss.
“We wanted to be physical,” Guice said. “We wanted to block them and we made a lot of big plays. Our offensive line did an excellent job. We wanted to be more physical, and I think we were. I know we were.”
Arkansas’s lone success came at the end of the first half and the start of the third quarter. The Razorbacks got a first-half touchdown on a bomb from quarterback Austen Allen to Dominique Reed, which cut the lead to 21-7 – a score that held until halftime.
Out of the lockers, they forced an LSU turnover, then got closer on a 24-yard field goal from kicker Adam McFain, which made the game 21-10.
But the rest of the game was all LSU.
The Tigers answered the turnover and field goal with style – a 7-play, 81-yard drive capped by Fournette, which put LSU up 28-10 with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Quarterback Danny Etling also made key throws in the drive to see it to completion. He was 10-of-16 for 157 yards in the win.
LSU put the game on ice midway in the fourth quarter on a short field goal from kicker Colby Delahoussaye and then the dagger – a 95-yard touchdown run from Guice, which gave the Tigers a 38-10 advantage – a lead, which held until the final whistle.
Guice said the final run was probably one of the best of his career.
“I was tired,” he said with a laugh.
Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema said the run was a sign of his team losing all of the phases of the game.
“Give credit to LSU,” Bielema said. “They obviously came in with a gameplan and executed it very, very well for four quarters. We knew this game would be about who played clean and who executed their plan and who played with a certain level of physicality that this game has always been about. … And we just didn’t bring it.”
After the clock hit zero, the LSU sideline sprinted to the end zone to get its prize – a 200-pound, gold-plated boot, which symbolizes the long-standing rivalry between the schools.
For a lot of LSU’s players, it’s the first time possessing the trophy.
Orgeron said he’s proud to see it come home.
“We wanted to get that Boot,” Orgeron said. “We wanted to bring it back to Louisiana.”