Quarterback Herb Tyler was so efficient on third and long for Louisiana State against Arkansas on Friday that third and 16 and third and 10 seemed more like third and inches.
He converted four consecutive long-yardage situations with his passes, and the defense gave up only three first downs in the first half as the 19th-ranked Tigers beat the Razorbacks, 17-7, in a Southeastern Conference game.
Tyler turned third and 16, third and seven, third and 10 into first downs and threw a 35-yard touchdown pass on second and 12 as the Tigers, 9-2 overall and 6-2 in the SEC, scored touchdowns on their first two possessions. Tyler completed five of six for 112 yards during the two drives despite a steady rain.
Arkansas Coach Danny Ford said LSU’s third-down success was devastating. “Our defense has to learn to get off the field on third down,” he said.
Tyler completed 11 of 19 passes for 191 yards, but was nine for 13 for 164 yards in the first half.
Arkansas (4-7, 2-6) had 81 yards in the first half, and crossed midfield only once in the first 44 minutes.
Ford said the Razorbacks were very nonchalant in the first half. “We took their licks and just stood around,” he said. “It looked like a junior high team against a high school team.”
The Tigers, 16-6-1 in two years under Gerry DiNardo, gained a share of the SEC Western Division title with Alabama and will play in their second consecutive bowl game next month. The Tigers won a total of 16 games in the four years before DiNardo’s arrival.
“I thought that in the nine games we won this year, we were fairly evenly matched with each team,” DiNardo said.