What About ‘Basketball Jones?'

LITTLE ROCK – Now that football is out of the way following Arkansas' 43-14 loss against No. 14 LSU here on Friday in War Memorial Stadium, will senior Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones rebound to basketball?



His father, Steve, has said he won't.

But after Friday's game, Jones, who has been hampered by hamstring problems the past month or so, did not sound so sure when asked his plans.

"Just chilling for a couple weeks," said Jones, a forward who averaged 5.0 points and 4.5 rebounds as a junior and 4.2 points and 2.3 rebounds as a freshman before focusing solely on football during his sophomore year. "Take finals and hang out for a little while.

"I don't know (about basketball). I'm going to talk to my parents and see what the best deal is for me.

"So who knows?"

Arkansas freshman Marcus Monk, who averaged 20.8 points and 16.4 rebounds as a senior for Poinsette County High, does.

"I talked to (Arkansas basketball) coach (Stan) Heath last week, and he told me to take my time, ‘Don't rush anything.'"

Still, Monk, the MVP of the Class AAA Tournament, sounded in a hurry. He went home Friday night and plans to join the team on Monday or Tuesday.



Declaration Of Independence

Had Arkansas won on Friday, the next move for the Hogs, in all likelihood, would've been to the Independence Bowl, played on Dec. 28 in Shreveport's Independence Stadium.

The Hogs are an Independence Bowl favorite because of the proximity and Arkansas beat Missouri, 27-14, there last season.

Former Arkansas tight end Bobby Nichols (1969-71) was the bowl's representative on Friday and he reiterated that the Hogs' loss has left Shreveport in a bit of a pickle.

This is the eighth year the Independence Bowl has been tied into a Southeastern Conference vs. Big 12 matchup.

But with South Carolina pulling out of bowl consideration after the brawl against Clemson, and with Friday's loss dropping the Hogs to 5-6 and out of bowl eligibility, the Independence Bowl likely will have to look beyond the SEC for a team to play a Big 12 program like Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Iowa State or Colorado.

"We thought we were going to get South Carolina," Nichols said. "Alabama is bowl eligible. They make their choice."

The thought is the Tide will rise from the reach of the Independence Bowl, leaving the Shreveport folks to scamper for a program like Memphis, Southern Miss, Pitt or perhaps a Western Athletic Conference team.

Official bowl announcements are not made until Dec. 5, the day after most conference championship games are played.



Centurions

Heading into Friday's game and spurred by De'Arrius Howard's 125 yards at Mississippi State last week, the Hogs had sported a 100-yard rusher for three consecutive games.

No one got close on Friday when freshman Peyton Hillis led the Hogs with 66 yards on five carries.



Almost Caught Up

Monk needed eight receptions to move into the top-10 for SEC all-time receptions for SEC freshmen.

But he fell short, coming up with three for 57 yards, leaving him with 37, six behind Jermale Kelley, who had 43 for South Carolina in 1993.



Das Boot

Friday was the ninth time the Hogs and Tigers played for "The Golden Boot," a monstrosity shaped like Arkansas and Louisiana that is believed to be the heaviest college football trophy (175 pounds). The 24-karat gold trophy also is the most expensive.

It had changed hands after each of the last six meetings, but LSU, which had the trophy on its sideline Friday, toted it back to Baton Rouge.

EA Sports' NCAA Football game has featured the Arkansas-LSU matchup for three years. The victor earns a digital version of "The Golden Boot."



On Second Thought

One of the more boneheaded deals on Friday took place with LSU leading 17-14 and facing a fourth-and-20 from the Arkansas 36 with about eight minutes left in the first half.

The Tigers lined up to punt, but Arkansas, which did not have a return man in place, called timeout.

During the break, LSU coach Nick Saban and company decided to try a field goal with the wind at their backs.

Sophomore Chris Jackson then booted a 53-yarder, the longest field goal of his career and the third-longest in LSU history.



No Show

Arkansas freshman cornerback Matterral Richardson, who had seen playing time on special teams and as a backup this season, left the team Tuesday for "personal reasons."

He was not dressed out Friday and his future status is unknown.



Hog Ties

Three Louisiana natives – junior starting cornerback Darius Vinnett of St. Rose, starting sophomore left guard Stephen Parker of Mandeville and sophomore reserve noseguard Lucas Jackson of West Monroe – played for Arkansas this season.

Two freshman Arkies – left guard Brett Helms of Stuttgart and linebacker Matt Stoltz of Little Rock – sport Tigers jerseys.



The Series

This series began with a 15-0 Tigers win in Baton Rouge on Dec. 5, 1901.

LSU holds a 31-17-2 lead.


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