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story.lead_photo.caption LSU safety John Battle (26), with assistance from cornerback Greedy Williams (29), intercepts a pass from Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm intended for wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman, rear, during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Baton Rouge, La. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal Constitution via AP)

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas has faced the defenses ranked Nos. 11 (Alabama), 21 (Texas A&M), 30 (North Texas) and 37 (Auburn) in its unbroken nine-game run to start the season.

Coach Chad Morris thinks the defensive unit the Razorbacks face on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. might be better than all of them.

No. 7 LSU will take the No. 40 defense into Reynolds Razorback Stadium in the annual Battle for the Boot.

The Tigers rank No. 11 in scoring defense, allowing 16.7 points per game, and they are tied for second nationally with 15 interceptions.

"When you look at their back end, their secondary is as good as it gets," Morris said. "These are all NFL guys that are going to play at a very high level on Sundays. They lead the league in turnovers and interceptions.

"And when you watch them on film, you can see. They've got the size, they've got the speed, they break on the ball, they're experienced and very physical."

LSU safety Grant Delpit leads the SEC and is tied for second nationally with five interceptions, and the 6-3 sophomore is tied for the team lead with four sacks.

"They're a good team, specifically on defense," Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey said. "They have a lot of great athletes like always. They have some great playmakers and they don't mess up a lot.

"They know what they're doing. Smart players, so it's going to be a challenge for us, but I think we're ready to go."

Arkansas offensive coordinator Joe Craddock spoke about the LSU defense much like he did Alabama's five weeks ago.

"They're a really good defense, probably the best we've faced to this point," Craddock said. "You try to find a weak line and there's really not one.

"They're good up front, they're really good at linebacker and they're really good in the secondary, so it's a big challenge for us. But we've had a week off to kind of get some guys that have been hurt and banged .. feeling a little bit better, and I expect us to show out on Saturday night."

Cold call

The forecast for Saturday is calling for a game-day high of 45 degrees after dipping to 19 degrees during the overnight hours, and a temperature of less than 40 degrees at kickoff.

Coach Chad Morris said the conditions would not hamper the Razorbacks.

"We practice out in it," he said Wednesday. "This is who we are and what we do. That's a mindset. Right now we've got a mindset that needs to be focusing on the Arkansas Razorbacks. Whether it's 35 degrees, 3 degrees or minus-3 degrees it really has no bearing on the way we play."

Screen gems

Vanderbilt converted a handful of long down-and-distance plays with screen passes against Arkansas two weeks ago. The big-yardage plays to running back Khari Blasingame and tight end Jared Pinkney came mostly late in the game.

Pinkney took a screen pass over the left side for 39 yards on the last play of the third quarter. Four snaps later, Blasingame caught a 23-yard screen to convert second and 19 on a series that extended the Commodores' 24-17 lead to 31-17.

With Vanderbilt leading 31-24, Blasingame grabbed a 19-yard screen pass from the Vanderbilt 40 as the Commodores drove for another touchdown.

"You have to be sound and not get outflanked, outleveraged, no motions and you've got to retrace," Arkansas Coach Chad Morris said of the screen plays. "That's something we didn't do a very good job of and we've got to make sure of that this week.

"I'm sure they've seen the film. They understand what a big deficiency it was for us a week ago, so we anticipate them throwing a lot of screen passes on us. I would."

Haka dancer

LSU defensive end Breiden Fehoko is proud to accentuate his Hawaiian heritage. There are multiple examples of Fehoko's father Vili and other male relatives performing the traditional Haka dance during Tiger Walks, with fans all around enjoying the spirited dance, which ends with a tongue extension.

Fehoko, a 291-pound junior transfer from Texas Tech and a former five-star recruit, is questionable against Arkansas with an arm injury.

LSU Coach Ed Orgeron said he felt better about Fehoko being able to play than he did about safety John Battle, who suffered an ankle injury on the first play of last week's 29-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama.

Lone picks

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has thrown one interception and it occurred last week when LSU reserve safety Todd Harris Jr. made a diving catch against him deep in Tiger territory. The field position wound up resulting in an Alabama touchdown on the next series.

The Crimson Tide are in position to have its starting quarterback throw one interception during the regular season for the second year in a row. Last year, Jalen Hurts was only picked off once -- a diving grab by Arkansas nickel back Kevin Richardson -- during the first 12 games.

SEC Nation

The UA will host SEC Nation for the only time this season on Saturday. The show will broadcast live from 9-11 a.m. from Lot 60 at Bud Walton Arena, at the corner of Razorback Road and Leroy Pond Road.

The Razorback Marching Band, spirit squads and mascot Big Red will be among those in attendance with the SEC Nation crew of Laura Rutledge, Marcus Spears, Tim Tebow, Paul Finebaum and Lauren Sisler, and fans are encouraged to participate.

The SEC Nation set will make its fourth appearance in Fayetteville in the last five years to preview the Razorbacks' 6:30 p.m. home game against LSU and the rest of the SEC games that day.

Which LB?

LSU's four-linebacker set for coordinator Dave Aranda comes with interesting names, with only middle linebacker Jacob Phillips in a traditional designation.

Leading tackle Devin White plays what the Tigers call "rover," while outside linebackers Michael Divinity and Andre Anthony play what they call "field" and "bench" linebacker.

The series

LSU leads the all-time series 39-22-2, including two in a row and five in the last seven.

The series is tied 2-2 in games played in Fayetteville, which started with a 30-6 Arkansas victory on Nov. 27, 1992.

Punt prowess

Arkansas will have faced four of the nation's top five punters after Saturday's game. LSU sophomore Zach Von Rosenberg ranks fifth in the country with an average of 46.3 yards per punt. Earlier in the year, the Razorbacks faced Texas A&M and the nation's No. 1 punter Braden Mann (51.3), as well as No. 2 Ryan Stonehouse of Colorado State (49.5) and No. 4 Thomas Bennett of Tulsa (47.3).

Auburn's Arryn Siposs is No. 10 (45.7), while Missouri's Corey Fatony is No. 13 (44.7) and Vanderbilt's Parker Thome is No. 14 (44.6), meaning Arkansas will have faced half of the nation's top 14 punters by season's end.

Sports on 11/09/2018

Print Headline: Hogs get another strong 'D'

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