Arkansas hopes to stay alive with another LSU upset in Little Rock

Thursday, November 25th 2004, 4:24 pm

By: News On 6

LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ The last time No. 14 LSU played Arkansas in Little Rock, both teams were a little bit stunned by the outcome.

Playing in the same venue on Friday, the Razorbacks would love to pull off another upset over the Tigers (8-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference), even if it's not as dramatic. Arkansas (5-5, 3-4 SEC) must win to qualify for post-season play.

And there's no place they'd rather play in that situation than War Memorial Stadium.

``I don't feel like there's a better place to play in America than in Little Rock,'' said senior defensive end Jeb Huckeba. ``That place fills up and it is so loud, those people in Little Rock are so excited. I feel like there's extra energy when we play there.''

Under coach Houston Nutt, Arkansas is 17-0 in Little Rock. The Razorbacks also have gone to six consecutive bowl games; a seventh would be a school record.

The most memorable of Arkansas' Little Rock wins under Nutt was the ``Miracle on Markham `` two years ago, when an 18th-ranked LSU team was in town.

With 34 seconds left in the game and Arkansas trailing 20-14, the Tigers began celebrating a Southeastern Conference West Division title.

The Razorbacks were backed up to their own 19 when quarterback Matt Jones added another chapter to the legend he's built at Arkansas. After playing 59 minutes of the worst football of his career, he engineered a drive that consisted of three passes, the last a 31-yard touchdown strike to DeCori Birmingham with 9 seconds left.

The extra point gave Arkansas a one-point win and the trip to the SEC Championship game.

Not as much is at stake this time around, since No. 3 Auburn has already locked up the division title. But to the LSU Tigers, it must be like returning to the scene of a crime.

``We've not succeeded there, and that's certainly something we'd like to change,'' said coach Nick Saban. ``I do think they (Arkansas) have played top-10 caliber football at home, and at Little Rock especially, and I think our players understand we will have to play our best ball to be successful.''

Jones said that, with the chance to play one more game as a Razorback on the line, he's glad to be playing at War Memorial Stadium.

``We know we have to beat LSU to keep our hopes alive,'' he said. ``We haven't lost a game down there and we don't want it to be the first one.''

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