LSU-Arkansas Preview

BY foxsports • November 11, 2014

(AP) - For the rest of the season, LSU wouldn't mind seeing history repeat itself.

Unhappy as the 20th-ranked Tigers are about losing each of their last three regular-season meetings with Alabama, they've managed to respond well to the previous two defeats.

LSU strung together three-game winning streaks after the 2012 and 2013 setbacks, and now aims to do the same to secure a fifth straight double-digit victory total.

''We need an immediate bounce back,'' senior center Elliott Porter said Monday. ''We have our 48-hour rule. We have to get over it. It is my job as a senior to make sure the young guys get over things and get ready for the next one. It is a tough pill to swallow, but you have to swallow it.''

The Tigers (7-3, 3-3 SEC) have little time to get over the heartbreaking defeat against Alabama. LSU will travel to play Saturday night against Arkansas (4-5, 0-5), which is seeking to end a 17-game SEC losing streak.

A 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on guard Vadal Alexander last Saturday night led LSU to settle for a go-ahead field goal with 50 seconds left, which was enough time for Alabama to tie the game in the final seconds before pulling out a 20-13 victory in overtime.

Coach Les Miles said Monday he has no concern about his players' mindset.

''There's a deep breath in every one of us,'' Miles said. ''It's that anxiety and that ugly feeling you get in your stomach when things don't go exactly right. That's the emotion you'll find in our players. ... We're going to ache. We recognize, `coulda, woulda, shoulda.' We recognize where we are.

''That's going to be difficult to handle. But, they will go to the field and practice. They will get a little bit of sweat going. They will do the things they're supposed to do. At the back end of practice, they will feel a little bit better.''

Now, LSU must turn its attention to Arkansas. The Tigers have won four of the last five in the series but three of the victories came by a margin of seven points or less.

''This football team is made up of quality people and guys with character,'' Miles said. ''They will be fighters. We will try to improve as a team like always. We want to play ourselves into a (bowl) game of significance. That very next game of significance will be Arkansas in its stadium.''

The Razorbacks may be on a long conference skid, but coach Bret Bielema is impressed his players haven't given up on the season despite a series of emotionally trying losses.

Now he'd like to finally turn that frustration into his first SEC win.

Arkansas lost 17-10 at No. 1 Mississippi State in its last game Nov. 1. It was the fourth time the Razorbacks have either led or been tied in the second half of an eventual defeat this season, and it sent Bielema to 0-13 in the SEC since joining the program.

"I'm amazed that they're playing as hard as they have with as much socks in the stomach as they've gotten, so I've actually been pretty pleased," Bielema said.

What's made this season even more exasperating than last year's winless SEC debut for Bielema has been the repeated gut-wrenching nature of the losses.

Arkansas lost its final nine games last season, with the last eight coming in SEC play - by an average margin of 21 points.

This season, the Razorbacks' largest margin of defeat is a season-opening 45-21 loss to then-No. 6 Auburn - a game that was tied 21-all at halftime.

Since then, Arkansas has let a 14-point fourth-quarter lead turn into a 35-28 overtime loss to Texas A&M. In its next game, Arkansas outgained the Crimson Tide 335-227 and led 13-7 in the fourth quarter, but a failed extra-point attempt came back to haunt the Razorbacks in the eventual 14-13 loss.

Arkansas is within three games of its worst conference losing streak, a 20-game stretch from 1940-43 when it was in the Southwest Conference.

Arkansas must win two of its final three if it wants to earn its first bowl berth since 2011, a difficult prospect with this week's matchup and a visit from No. 10 Mississippi before a season-ending game at Missouri.

"I think if your team wasn't being managed very, very well you would not see the results that you're seeing," Bielema said. "You would see teams that just get handed one-sided losses very, very routinely. These guys never quit. I think they have shown that all year long; it's not an option in our program."

LSU will be without running back Kenny Hilliard for the rest of the regular season due to a shoulder injury. Hilliard is second on the team with six rushing touchdowns and third with 431 yards.


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