By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
STOCK UP: Fournette in Fayetteville
In his only previous trip to Northwest Arkansas, Leonard Fournette, it’s safe to say, didn’t enjoy himself. Against Arkansas as a freshman, Fournette managed just nine yards on five carries. Saturday night’s visit was a bit sweeter. LSU’s junior tailback tallied 98 yards and three scores in his first career win over the Razorbacks. This, despite sitting out a series after re-aggravating the ankle injury that has slowed him all season. Fournette also had 44 yards receiving, setting up his first score by taking a Danny Etling swing pass 38 yards around the edge. Fournette had to leave midway through the third quarter when he tweaked that ankle. But by then, the damage was done.
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STOCK UP: Sugar Bowl Odds
LSU’s win, coupled with Auburn’s 13-7 loss to Georgia, means the Tigers are still in the hunt for a berth in the Sugar Bowl, a game LSU has not played in since 2007. LSU may even be a slight favorite to get there, if it can win in College Station on Thanksgiving. That, and an Auburn loss in the Iron Bowl plus an LSU win over Florida next week, would give the Tigers plenty of momentum for a trip to New Orleans. With the Coach O factor in play and the fact that LSU hasn’t played there in nearly a decade, it could be a potentially big ratings grab for the SEC, too. I wouldn’t put any money on in yet, but LSU could have a sweet ending to a tough season in its future, come New Year’s Day, if things go right.
STOCK DOWN: Tre’ White’s Night
It had to end eventually. When Dominique Reed snuck past White for a 44-yard touchdown in the first half, it broke White’s season-long shutout on passes thrown 10 yards or more in his direction. According to Pro Football Focus College, White had yet to even surrender a completion on such a play all season. Reed’s score came when White slowed while turning to find the ball, allowing the Razorback wide out to catch and proceeded into the endzone unimpeded for Arkansas first score of the night. Austin Allen’s throw was on the money, and Reed did well to come down with it, but White will know he let one slip away with a small technical mistake. White also muffed a punt, continuing his recent poor run of form as LSU’s return man, and earned a pass interference call in the end zone.
STOCK DOWN: Fournette’s Health
Fournette left the field on several occasions with a noticeable limp, including after his final carry of the game, when he barely made it to the sideline. Some will argue he shouldn’t have gone back in after the first re-aggravation, but the trainers cleared Fournette to return, and you’d be hard pressed, were you Ed Orgeron, to tell the junior in his final season as a Tiger that he couldn’t go back into a game he was cleared to play in. Fournette’s health will be of the utmost importance for LSU the rest of November, as the Tigers will need him at full strength against a loaded Florida defense next week and a talented A&M unit the week after.