BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Jayden Daniels passed for 320 yards and four touchdowns, and Damian Ramos kicked a 20-yard field goal with 5 seconds left to lift No. 12 LSU to a 34-31 victory over Arkansas on Saturday night.
Daniels hit Brian Thomas twice for 49-yard touchdowns and found Malik Nabers for 8- and 20-yard scores.
Daniels commenced the decisive drive with a 36-yard pass to Nabers. Running back Logan Diggs followed with a 21-yard run up the middle to help set up a kick that lifted LSU (3-1, 2-0 SEC) to its third straight victory since losing to No. 4 Florida State.
Thomas finished with 133 yards receiving on five catches. Nabers had eight receptions for 130 yards and Diggs, a former Notre Dame player under Kelly who transferred this year, rushed for 97 yards on 14 carries.
KJ Jefferson passed for 289 yards and three touchdowns for Arkansas (2-2, 0-1), routinely frustrating pass rushers with his ability to escape the pocket on a pair of tying touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.
Jefferson escaped two near sacks before rolling right and finding Luke Hasz uncovered for a 59-yard scoring play. Jefferson followed that up by finding Hasz again for 2-point conversion after a false start had pushed Arkansas back to the 8-yard line, tying the game at 24.
With 5:06 left, Jefferson’s short touch pass in the face of two onrushing defenders hit Hasz for an 11-yard scored to tie it at 31.
Hasz finished with six catches for 116 yards. With top Arkansas running back Raheim Sanders missing his third straight game with a knee injury, Rashod Dubinion rushed for 78 yards on 15 carries.
Jefferson finished with 48 yards rushing. He was intercepted twice, but the second came on a desperate pass deep downfield as time expired. That sealed a second straight setback for Arkansas, which fell to BYU a week earlier.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks dominated time of possession in the first half, spending nearly 19 minutes with the ball. But two Razorbacks drives inside the LSU 10 ended with field goals. Arkansas held the Tigers without a point until Ramos’ field goal with 4:02 left in the second quarter and took a 13-3 lead on Jefferson’s 19-yard pass to Tyrone Broden with 48 seconds left in the half. But the Razorbacks gave that score back just 18 seconds later by letting Thomas get behind them for his first long touchdown.
LSU: The Tigers’ red-zone defense made the difference. Safety Major Burns saved a TD with his tackle of Luke Hasz on the 1 to aid the Tigers’ first of three red-zone stops. Whit Weeks’ QB hurry helped stall Arkansas at the LSU 5 in the second quarter. Back-to-back sacks — the first shared by Mekhi Wingo and Weeks, and the second made by Da’Shawn Womack — pushed Arkansas back from the 9 and forced the Razorbacks to settle for a third field goal by Cam Little.
Arkansas hosts Texas A&M on Sept. 30.
LSU visits Ole Miss on Sept. 30.
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