LSU vs. Arkansas 2012 final score: Golden Boot to Baton Rouge, John L. Smith to sunset

Wesley Hitt

Hey, look: LSU won a game against an overmatched opponent by a score (20-13) that was much closer than it should've been. That never happens!

The LSU Tigers have finished their regular season with two losses, and the John L. Smith era at Arkansas has concluded. These two teams were expected to finish just behind Alabama in the SEC West -- while the Tigers did their part, an offseason of drama made the Hogs one of the biggest disappointments in college football history. Jon Gruden watch continues.

The Hogs made a game of it (Tyler Wilson will have no need to accuse anyone of giving less than a 60-minute effort), forcing LSU to continue picking up first downs with under two minutes to go and getting a chance to tie as the clock died. LSU was outgained by 156 yards, but two takeaways by the Tigers defense, some very conservative late fourth-down calls and two missed field goals (plus some fine punting by Brad Wing, including a 69-yarder) mooted all that production.

Rankings ramifications: The Tigers came in ranked No. 7. A loss would've dropped them into the low teens at best, but that didn't happen. They could move up if, say, No. 5 Oregon loses. Then again, they could be passed by No. 8 Stanford or No. 10 Florida State.

Box score hero: Arkansas quarterback Wilson put up 397 total yards, but on the offensive side we'll go with LSU's Jarvis Landry, who did this on his way to 75 yards, and Odell Beckham, who was good for 114 and made the snaking, tackle-breaking 47-yard catch-and-run that all but put this one away. Hey, he had the play of the game last week too.

But did they cover? LSU was favored by 13.5.

Next week: LSU waits to see whether it can sneak into a BCS at-large bid, and Arkansas does not hire Jon Gruden.

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