- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Golden Boot will be on the line this weekend when Arkansas visits LSU in an SEC West clash. The Tigers are coming off an impressive win over Texas A&M, but Friday’s game is more about the senior class who will be playing their final game in Death Valley.
Head coach Les Miles expects his seniors to be ready for Senior Day, but it’s his job to prepare the rest of the team.
“I’ve never come to this game where the seniors didn’t play best, that they recognized that this is their last time,” Miles said. “I have always really challenged the underclassmen to play to that level, to play alongside the seniors -- the ones that will lead you. You play like they play.”
It’s a group of seniors who know how to win. To put it in perspective, the LSU senior class has been a part of 42 wins, an SEC championship, a 13-0 regular season and played in the BCS title game. The fifth-year seniors have been a part of 51 wins during their tenure.
What LSU needs to do to win: Seven of the last eight games in this rivalry have been decided by eight points or less, so it’s important for LSU not to overlook Arkansas even if the Razorbacks are still in search of their first SEC win. The Tigers need to bring the same type of energy they showed against Texas A&M, and it starts up front. Running backs Terrence Magee and Jeremy Hill combined for 225 yards last week, and the duo should find similar success against an Arkansas defense that’s ranked in the bottom half of the league against the run. LSU’s defense will face a more physical style of play, but the Hogs don’t have a Johnny Manziel.
Players to watch
QB Zach Mettenberger: All eyes were on Manziel last weekend, but the reigning Heisman winner was outplayed by Mettenberger, a talented NFL prospect in his own right. The LSU signal caller has seen his share of ups and downs in his career, but he has a chance to finish on a high note beginning with Friday’s game, his last in Tiger Stadium.
LB Lamin Barrow: The LSU defense is relatively young with the exception of Barrow and safety Craig Loston. Both will be playing their final home against Arkansas, and both will be sorely missed. Barrow currently leads the team with 80 tackles, and that number could rise significantly against a run-heavy Razorbacks squad.
“I have to be honest -- I think it’s definitely the turkey with a warm gravy. Maybe it’s the last spoon or fork of food on the plate, you know, that has a little bit of salt and pepper and maybe a little bit of the turkey and gravy and some of the stuffing that would be there and maybe just a smidgen of that cranberry stuff.” -- Miles on his favorite Thanksgiving dish
6dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough