LITTLE ROCK, Ark. —Ryan Mallett threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns as No. 12 Arkansas made its case for the school's first BCS bowl game with a 31-23 win over No. 6 LSU on Saturday.
Mallett finished 13 of 23 passing and had touchdown passes of 85, 80 and 39 yards for the Razorbacks (10-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference), who won their sixth straight game and finished second in the SEC West.
The junior quarterback broke the school record for touchdown passes in the game, passing Clint Stoerner's 57. Mallett now has 60 touchdown passes in two seasons at Arkansas, and his 39-yarder to Joe Adams on fourth-and-3 in the fourth quarter put the Razorbacks up 28-20.
LSU (10-2, 6-2), which was outgained 464-294 by Arkansas, never led. Jordan Jefferson passed for 184 yards and ran for 34 for the Tigers.
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Arkansas kept its hopes alive for a possible BCS bid. The Razorbacks likely still need Auburn to win the SEC championship next week against South Carolina, but losses by Alabama and Boise State on Friday helped its case. LSU's BCS hopes seem less than slim.
Both of Mallett's first-half touchdowns went to Cobi Hamilton. The 80-yarder was on the final play of the half, and it came one play after the Razorbacks started the drive with 6 seconds remaining before halftime. It gave Arkansas a 21-14 lead, one it never gave up.
LSU opened the second half with a pair of field goals from Josh Jasper to cut the lead to 21-20, but the Tigers struggled to contain Mallett and Arkansas running back Knile Davis, who had 153 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Ahead 21- 20 early in the fourth quarter, Arkansas faced a fourth-and-3 at the LSU 39. Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino decided to go for the first down, and Adams used a stop-and-go move to get behind LSU's Tyrann Mathieu. Mallett lofted the pass to Adams, who caught it and gave Arkansas a 28-20 lead. The Razorbacks added to that lead on their next possession when Zach Hocker hit a 19-yard field to go ahead 31-20.
The Tigers pulled within 31-23 on Jasper's 36-yard field goal with 1 minute, 58 seconds remaining, and they got the ball back with less than a minute remaining. However, Arkansas' Andru Steward sacked Jefferson on second down at the LSU 1 and forced a fumble, which Jerry Franklin recovered for the Razorbacks to secure the victory.