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LSU Tigers running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (22) gets extra yards after the catch against Arkansas Razorbacks during the Southeastern Conference matchup at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, November 23, 2019. (Dennis Babineaux/Special to the American Press)

BATON ROUGE — So now it gets serious.

No more lollygagging around for LSU and its unbeaten record and No. 1 ranking across the board.

The last tune-up was sloppy at times, sometimes puzzling, too easy at others, and downright comical when, right on cue, the Tigers had to take one last stab at fielding an onside kick that, for all I know, may still be bouncing in and out of their hands while bad-hopping toward the wrong goal line and wrong helmets.

And …

And, frankly, I don't know what to make of it all. I think the score was LSU 56, Arkansas 20, something like that, although it appeared the Razorbacks scored a whole bunch of curious points in the final minute or so.

But that part is over now. Every game from here on out is right up there close to being do or die and they all will be possible to lose.

It gets serious starting with Texas A&M this week and, don't forget, LSU did clinch its spot in the SEC championship game against Georgia in two weeks.

Where do the Tigers stand?

We could talk about another 612 yards of offense and more touchdowns runs by Clyde Edwards-Helaire than I can count, although apparently it came to three, which was half of his six carries.

Joe Burrow's Heisman runaway is still on track. He did his thing with another 327 yards passing, even got to take the night off early as planned against a hapless opponent that has lost 18 consecutive SEC games.

I'm still waiting on Arkansas to tackle Edwards-Helaire, although to be fair the Razorbacks only had a handful of tries to tackle him while he was averaging 33 yards per carry on this six carries.

But that's old hat. That's offense. That's LSU this year. Tiger Stadium's pregame entrance fireworks almost seem redundant. It's become almost boring watching the Tigers streaking up and down the field.

You already knew that LSU would probably top a half-a-hundred points with the usual 612 yards.

It was a little sluggish early, which was kind of to be expected. Once Burrow and Edwards-Helaire got in rhythm it looked as if the Tigers could have named any old score they wanted.

But that wasn't really what anybody came to see on a crisp Saturday night.

"We were supposed to win that football game," LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said. "We don't feel like we've accomplished anything."

Exactly.

Offense may sell tickets, even at LSU, but if the tailgate scene was any indication, most of 101,173 who showed up Saturday willing to shiver in the chill, came to see if the Tigers planned to play any defense this season.

It was supposed to be better by now.

"I thought our defense played a lot better," Orgeron said.

OK. Maybe, I guess.

It sure didn't seem like Arkansas scored 20 points, which the Razorbacks had no business doing. Not sure where they all came from, although it's going to be hard to un-see that onside kick squirting in and out of flailing Tigers' hands all the way down to the 11-yard line.

Besides, what could LSU's defense really prove against a Razorbacks team that was starting its fourth different quarterback this season?

K.J. Jefferson got the nod because that's what you do against LSU right now, find a mobile quarterback to get in space, throwing optional.

You figure it would be a fair evaluation, given that LSU was missing several ailing defenders but Arkansas is down amongst your SEC statistical bottom-feeders.

You almost have to grade on a reverse curve. Maybe if the Razorbacks' 14-point fourth-quarter (somewhat questionable flag-aided) doesn't happen, you'd feel better about it.

But it surely wasn't as dominating as the hopeful fans can hoping to see.

This team might end up having to play Ohio State or Clemson.

Even against Arkansas, the Tigers still get Lost in Space and fall for far too many run-of-the-mill fakes and misdirections.

As a result, the LSU defense had long stretches of dominance against Arkansas, but is still way too prone to giving up big plays that suddenly flip the field.

A 38-yard pass here, a 29-yard catch here, even a 30-yard run.

They were just a nuisance against the Hogs, but the key to beating this defense seems to be getting them out in space.

Last week Orgeron seemed to be coddling his defense after it gave up 614 yards to Ole Miss.

His good cop/bad cop act was trying to lift their confidence, encourage them.

Saturday?

"There wasn't going to be a celebration for beating Arkansas," he said. "They haven't beaten anyone in a long time."


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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