FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman knows his Hogs will have a big task on Saturday trying to defeat No. 7 LSU in Razorback Stadium.

LSU is fresh off a 32-31 overtime decision over Alabama Saturday night in Baton Rouge. LSU coach Brian Kelly opted to go for two instead of kicking the PAT and playing another overtime period. Pittman, who made a similar choice at the end of the Ole Miss game last season, praised Kelly for his decision to go for the win at that time.

“It worked for him,” Pittman said. “It didn’t for me. I can explain that. You know, guys, I think a lot of guys would do different stuff if they didn’t worry about coming in here after it didn’t work. You know what I mean? Whenever he called it, I was like, ‘That’s the thing to do. Get the game over with.’

“If you’re saying we can beat Alabama from the 3-yard line, we can beat them, and they can’t do anything about it, that’s what he did. It worked. But it takes guts to do that now. It does. I did that against Ole Miss last year. We didn’t make it. I know, you can say it was on the road versus at home, I get all of that. That takes guts. He did it and it worked. More power to him.”

LSU is the highest-ranked two-loss team in the nation. LSU (7-2, 5-1) controls its own destiny now in the SEC West. They own wins over Ole Miss and Alabama. The lone SEC loss was to Tennessee. Pittman is impressed with the Tigers.

“They’re really good,” Pittman said. “Their quarterback (Jayden) Daniels makes them go. They’ve got a big, physical offensive line. Coach (Brad) Davis is doing a really good job up there. They’re playing some young kids. They’ve got a couple freshmen at tackles that are good players. (Kayshawn) Boutte and that group of wideouts is really good. They’ve got a young freshmen tight end that’s really good. Three backs that play a lot and are all good players. They’re a physical, downhill, running offense that if they want to get the ball outside, Daniels is going to get it outside and he’s hard to bring down. He can throw it too. I think they ran the ball 20 times on Alabama and the rest of them were all passes.

“Defensively, very, very good on the interior. Very good. (Mekhi) Wingo and (Jaquelin) Roy are really good down there, and if you get in the pass game, 18 and 11 are both long. They’ve got speed. Of course, they’ve got Joe (Foucha) back there playing. Joe and (Greg) Brooks playing safety for them. They’ve been playing really well. They’ve got a young freshman, (Harold) Perkins, that plays out in a SAM, nickel type situation. He’s really a talented young guy too. They have a lot of speed. They’re LSU, they’ve got a lot of talent. And they’re big. They’re playing really well right now.”

After beating Ole Miss and then Alabama in its last two games is there any chance of a let down by LSU?

“Well I would say, you know obviously we lost so certainly we better have a chip on our shoulder because of that,” Pittman said. “So you have to look at yourself first. And then, you know, that was a big-time guy. Some people claim  you can’t get up twice in a row. LSU’s actually had some back-to-back, good opponents that they’ve had success with. I don’t know how much truth there is to that or not.

“I’ve about come to the fact that if you’re team’s not ready they’re going to get beat and if they are you’ve got a really good chance to win. It’s about your prep and a lot about emotion and things of that nature, and it’s a lot easier to get up when you’re at home in that type of game against Alabama than on the road. Hopefully you play better because of it. But I think the physicality of Alabama certainly is a point to consider when you’re playing a team after they play Alabama.”

Daniels came to LSU from Arizona State. He leads the team in rushing with 131 carries for 619 yards and 10 touchdowns. Daniels has completed 187 of 268 passes for 1,994 yards, 14 touchdowns and one interception.

“Wow, well, I think he understands the offense,” Pittman said. “The thing about it is they’ve played good teams, good coordinators and they’ve schemed up some nice plays and they have him dead to rights and don’t touch him, and he goes for a long run or a touchdown or what have you. I think he’s always been a really outstanding runner, but I think it’s his throw game. And his receivers, one-on-one, they’ll catch the ball now. Coach (Cortez) Hankton over there does a great job coaching the wideouts. They’ll go up and catch a contested (ball). They’re big and they’ll go up and catch a contested ball. But I think probably overall, I think his knowledge of the offense seems… He seems to be playing more confidently and his passing has really been on point.”

Two other players Pittman praised are former Razorbacks Foucha and Brooks. They left the Hogs following the Outback Bowl to transfer to LSU. Both are from Louisiana.

“Well, they did everything they possibly could for Arkansas,” Pittman said. “I’m glad they’re both playing and having success at LSU. It will be, obviously, different because the last time I saw them on the field was for us versus Penn State. Obviously it will be different. They’re doing well, playing well, and it seems to have worked out for them.”

Kelly left Notre Dame for LSU following last season in a move that surprised many. Kelly has turned around LSU’s fortunes much quicker than most realized or expected he would.

“I think he’s done an outstanding job,” Pittman said. “You know, they lost to Florida State and everybody was talking about how horrible he is. Obviously he’s not. He’s had a lot of success in his career, everywhere he’s been. I’ve gotten to know him a little bit in our head coaches meetings. And of course hired or he kept Brad Davis over there that he knew I had years with Brad. So we visited about that a little bit. But he’s a really good coach, good man. I’m obviously happy for him how he’s gone to LSU and got them to this point, because I like him. Obviously they’re the top right now in the SEC West and we have an opportunity to knock them out of there and that’s our goal.”

When Pittman was hired at Arkansas the first assistant he brought on board was Davis. The offensive line coach opted to leave for LSU prior to the 2021 season.

“I think (Brad Davis) is doing an outstanding job,” Pittman said. “You know, they had (Anthony) Bradford playing at left tackle for a while and they’ve brought him back in to guard. Emory Jones has been playing tackle, but Will Campbell has really, to me, helped them because he’s done a really good job at left tackle for them and allowed them to move Bradford, the big kid, back inside at guard.

“They’re big and physical and well coached, and if you look at them technique-wise, they’re what an offensive line is supposed to look like off the snap of the ball, whether run or pass. He’s done a really good job, in my opinion, with the front and he’s had to play multiple looks as far as where his guys are playing. That’s also the sign of a good coach that you can still have success but may not have the same guys at the same position every week.”

Arkansas and LSU will kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday and televised on ESPN.