FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ defense turned in its best performance of the season on Saturday in a 13-10 loss to No. 7 LSU.

The Hogs held Jayden Daniels and LSU’s explosive offense to 284 yards of total offense. Daniels was just 8 of 15 passing for 86 yards with one interception while sacked seven times. Daniels entered the game as LSU’s leading rusher, but had 10 yards on 19 carries. Sam Pittman was asked if it was frustrating to play so well on defense and not get a victory?

“Well I think we had a really good game plan, No. 1,” Pittman said. “And the kids played extremely hard and tackled really well. All week our whole thing was ‘We’re blitzing to get him on the ground.’ It wasn’t ‘Let’s get to this gap, this gap. Let’s be gap sound. Let make sure he doesn’t run.’ All that kind of stuff. It was just let’s get him on the ground. Let’s go get him. And we had really some nice designed blitzes and played extremely hard.

“And obviously, I told our kids I thought it was the best our defense played all year and not really even close. I didn’t elaborate on the frustration of not winning because they played well. We’ve played really well on offense since I’ve been here and not won too, so … But yeah, it’s frustrating not to win regardless of who plays well and who doesn’t.”

Arkansas playing without quarterback KJ Jefferson only managed 249 yards of total offense using Malik Hornsby and Cade Fortin to replace the redshirt junior. Despite the struggles of the offense the Hogs were in the game until the end because of the defense. How important was that?

“Very,” Pittman said. “They kept us in it. I think we were down 10 and then… I thought when (Matt) Landers caught the long one, I thought we were going to rally around that and it just seemed like it was the same story. We’d make a first down and then lose yardage on the next first down of that series. Just didn’t seem to find a way to be consistent.”

The Hogs were coming off a disappointing loss to Liberty and playing without Jefferson and right tackle Dalton Wagner on offense. Pittman talked about how he got the team to rally back and play the No. 7 team in the nation until the end.

“Because we talked about… the weather,” Pittman said. “We talked about a lot of things. It came down to pride, and it came down to passion for the game. I think you saw a passionate football team today. We lost. I think we saw a non-passionate football team last week, and we had to get back to playing physical, hard, all these type things. To be honest with you, we changed up practice. We changed up Friday. My team meeting was different. It started with a highlight film of us. We just tried to do a better job of motivating and a little bit better job of coaching and game planning. And I think we did; we just couldn’t score another touchdown to win the thing.”

The SEC’s leading rusher Rocket Sanders couldn’t get going against LSU. He finished with 12 carries for 46 yards. He also caught a couple of passes for nine yards. But Sanders was very complimentary of the defensive effort from his team.

“I feel like they brought a lot of energy,” Sanders said. “Before the game they had a lot of energy. I felt they were going to attack, and that’s what they did.”

Linebacker Drew Sanders had 12 tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss. He talked about how the Hogs sacked Daniels seven times including two by linebacker Pooh Paul.

“Yeah, I mean, today, I think just overall in the locker room we had a lot more energy, and we came out and we came out firing,” Sanders said. “As you see, we got after the quarterback. That was our game plan, and we executed.”

Safety Hudson Clark added nine tackles and two pass breakups in the game. He was asked if it was frustrating not to win with the defense playing so well against a great offense?

“Yeah, it’s frustrating, but at the same time it’s a team game,” Clark said. “There are three aspects of the ball — offense, defense, special teams. I feel like the key for what we did was preparation. We came out this morning, we took advantage of the cold weather. We said we wish it were colder. I think that was the right attitude coming into this game.”

Drew Sanders also talked about playing that well and not getting the win.

“That’s football,” Sanders said. “We played great defense, but they played great defense, too. It came down to the wire. We gave our team a chance to win. They just got the edge on us.”

Arkansas’ defense now has just allowed 13 points in the past six quarters.

“I think we’ve been getting better progressively throughout the year,” Sanders said. “I mean, we’ve had some hiccups in some games, but I think defensively we’re coming together as a unit. These past two games I think we’ve played some good ball, but we’ve still got some things to clean up.”

Arkansas now has games against Ole Miss at home and on the road against Missouri left. Clark talked about the attitude of the team heading into that pair of contests. Both Ole Miss and Missouri lost on Saturday as well. Tennessee beat Missouri 66-22 while Alabama downed Ole Miss 30-24. Clark talked about how the Hogs will prepare for those two games.

“I think we’re going to take this game, get recovery tomorrow, get our corrections in and just focus one week at a time and focus on our next opponent, Ole Miss,” Clark said.

Two young defenders were outstanding. In addition to the two sacks for Paul, he had four tackles with two for loss.

“Yeah, I mean, Chris has always, you know, when he steps in, he makes it- He’s a presence on the field, and he’s always done a great job,” Sanders said. “As you’ve seen today, I mean, he’s a great player, and he just continues to get better and better.”

In the secondary, Quincey McAdoo played his second game at cornerback. He finished with four tackles and had two pass breakups.

“I think he’s just taken advantage of the role he’s been into,” Clark said. “He’s prepared just like any of us have, and he’s really stepping up in that role.”

Pittman also talked about his freshman cornerback’s play.

“I think he’s a really good player,” Pittman said. “I notice they didn’t really catch too many balls over there on him. I’d have to watch the tape to be honest with you but I did see him make several physical tackles.”

Arkansas will now host Ole Miss at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night on the SEC Network. Arkansas (5-5, 2-4) needs to win another game to be bowl eligible. Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2) sits in third place in the SEC West with losses to LSU and Alabama.