LSU defense prepares to try to stop Feleipe Franks

LSU defense prepares to try to stop Feleipe Franks
Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) prepares to throw a pass during the Gators' game against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. / UAA Communications photo by Courtney Culbreath (Source: Courtney Culbreath)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - While LSU will head to Arkansas with two true freshmen quarterbacks, the Hogs have a seasoned veteran the Tigers have a long history with.

Feleipe Franks committed to then LSU head coach Les Miles and his offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, way back in June 2014. Franks eventually flipped his commitment to the Florida Gators.

LSU D gets ready for Feleipe Franks

He started two games for Florida against LSU. Both of those were in “The Swamp.” In 2017, he lost by one point to the Tigers, 17-16, before topping Joe Burrow and company, 27-18, the following season. Franks missed most of the 2019 season with an injury and then joined the Arkansas Razorbacks as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-6, 228-pound Franks is 138-of-202 (68 percent) for 1,678 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has thrown only three interceptions.

“Feleipe, he’s a great athlete; he’s one of those guys who’s not scared to pull it down and run,” said linebacker Jabril Cox. “He’s got a great arm. And going back to Florida, you can see what he did at Florida. He’s brought his Florida game to Arkansas. He’s got great athletes around him, pretty good running backs and receiving corps. Just trying to stop and contain him and what he wants to do, that’ll be something we focus on this week.”


Cox has 31 tackles (21 solo), one sack, one fumble recovery, and a pick-six this season. Safety JaCoby Stevens (36) and linebacker Damone Clark (34) lead the Tigers in tackles. Defensive end Ali Gaye leads the team in tackles for loss (6.5). Defensive end BJ Ojulari ranks No. 3 in the SEC in sacks with 4.0.

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And what a difference a year makes. Last season, LSU was a 42-point favorite over Arkansas in Baton Rouge. The Tigers led 56-6 early in the fourth quarter before coasting to the 56-20 win. This year, Arkansas is a slight 1.5 to 2-point favorite in Fayetteville.

Franks was 15-of-19 for 250 yards and two touchdowns against the Gators in his return to “The Swamp” but the game ended in a 63-35 blowout. However, Franks set a career-high quarterback rating (224.2). He has thrown for at least 200 yards in all seven games this season and his 16 touchdown passes are the most by a Razorback quarterback since Austin Allen had 25 in 2016. He’s also on pace to set the school record for completion percentage in a single season.

Sophomore wide receiver Treylon Burks is 17 yards away from reaching 1,000 career receiving yards. If he reaches the mark against LSU in his 18th career game, he would tie Boo Williams (1999-00) as the fastest Hog receiver to 1,000 yards since 1997. Junior wide receiver Mike Woods was explosive against the Gators, making two catches - both for touchdowns - for a career-best 129 yards. In his first career multi-TD game, he made scoring grabs of 47 and 82 yards and also went over 1,000 yards for his career.

Arkansas hasn’t missed a game all season, even though its head coach missed the loss at Florida. Sam Pittman is scheduled to return to work Wednesday after his quarantine due to COVID.

“I feel really good and I’ll be back in the office on Wednesday and I sure appreciate everybody," said Pittman. "Daddy told me a long time ago, the world doesn’t rotate around my butt, but it sure felt like it with all the well-wishes.”

As a reminder, kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. and the game is set to air on the SEC Network.

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