OUCH! That hurts ...
The Tiger sting is still being felt
The New Orleans Saints got back on stride this past weekend beating the Carolina Panthers in a convincing manner of 31-6, but it could not take away the sting of the triple overtime loss by the LSU Tigers to the Arkansas Razorbacks 50-48.
The loss robbed the Tigers of any chance to get to the national championship game and to be honest it still hurts days after the fact.
The Tigers still have a chance to be the outright Southeast Conference champs with a win this coming Saturday against the Tennessee Volunteers in the SEC Championship game, and that would be an accomplishment this group of talented seniors hadnít felt during their stay in Baton Rouge, but the loss to the Razorbacks took away their chance for big-game hunting, in effect the BCS national championship.
This is to take nothing away from the Razorbacks because the scoreboard never lies, but this group looked as though they had a bit of destiny on their side so many times in 2007 in route to a national championship outing.
I am as big a fan of Razorback halfback Darren McFadden as anyone, but I sure hope he never graces the field at Tiger Stadium again.
McFadden, who is in a tight race for the Heisman trophy award with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, has accounted for 596 yards of total offense as a runner, receiver and return man in three outings against the Tigers.
Thatís enough young man, take off to the NFL.
In my 23 years covering college and pro football I have never seen as talented a senior class at LSU as the one I covered this season.
Look at the accomplishments of defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, running back Jacob Hester, wide receiver Early Doucet, defensive end Kirston Pittman, linebackers Ali Highsmith and Luke Sanders, cornerbacks Chevis Jackson and Jonathan Zenon, safety Craig Steltz, and quarterback Matt Flynn out on the field, along with the contributions of the other 12 seniors on the squad.
Every one of the above mentioned seniors will get a chance to play at the next level and they have accomplished quite a bit, but they havenít gone to the BCS Championship game or have they played on a winning SEC Championship club.
With the BCS championship game out of the equation, the Tigers and head coach Les Miles must completely focus their efforts on the Volunteers and achieving a goal that they have not met yet and that is winning the conference title.
Over the last four seasons this group of talented seniors have won 41 games, lost just 9 games, have recorded three straight seasons of double-digit wins (something no LSU senior class can say), won two out of the three bowl games they have been involved with and kept the LSU Tigers on the highest rung of the college football ladder after the Tigers won the BCS national championship game over Oklahoma back in January of 2004.
And they have also had to watch the coach who recruited them, Nick Saban, depart to the NFL for the mega-dollars and endure two major hurricanes that hit our area, Katrina and Rita, but still the focus on the game and continue to win.
With the winds of Les Miles departure to Michigan still howling in the backdrop, the Tigers have one more big game to play in 2007. The Tigers need to shrug off the lingering aftereffects of the crushing day-after Thanksgiving game to Arkansas and totally focus on defeating a surging Tennessee Volunteer team.
For all of their accomplishments the seniors have registered this upcoming game means the most, if they can pull off the victory. In any conference you play in you want to win the conference title and that would mean an awful lot to a team that came oh so close to playing for something much bigger.
As for the Saints, they seemed to sleepwalk through the first 30 minutes of play against the Carolina Panthers, but the alarm clock rang in the lockerrroom and the Saints went on a 21 point third quarter blitz to bury the Panthers 31-6.
The Saints defense held the Panthers to just 43 yards rushing and Panther quarterback tandem of David Carr and Matt Moore completed just 50 percent of their throws, but the real story was again the stellar play of quarterback Drew Brees, who completed 24 of his 36 passes for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns and a resurgent running attack.
Brees even ran for one score himself. But it was the compliment talents of Aaron Stecker, Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush, who gave this team some balance on the offensive side of the ball and they combined rushing for 113 yards on 39 carries.
The Saints threw the ball 36 times and ran the ball 39 times, and that is what I call balance on offense.
The stage is set for a huge game this coming Sunday when the Saints face off against the NFC South Division leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A win this weekend could really make this quite an interesting race down the stretch.
Maybe a win by LSU over Tennessee and a victory by the Saints over the Buccaneers can ease the sting of the Razorback win this past Friday.
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