Arkansas may have had a horrific season, but LSU head coach Les Miles is not of the mind that his team is going to be able to walk out of Fayetteville with an easy win.
Miles said as much at his Monday press conference as the No. 8 Tigers (9-2, 5-2) and Razorbacks (4-7, 2-5) prepare for Friday's 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
"The only thing I can tell you is that they seem to play better, they seem to play with enthusiasm and emotion (at home)," Miles said. "I see talent there when I watch the film. We are going to have to play well and understand that we will be challenged."
It will be the first time that the game will be held in Fayetteville since 1992 after previously being contested in Little Rock when it was an Arkansas home game.
"I'm looking forward to getting to Fayetteville," Miles said. "It will be the first time that I have been there and the first time that an LSU team has been there since 1992. We recognize the traditions there and the venue."
LSU routed Arkansas 41-17 last season in Baton Rouge in former head coach Bobby Petrino's last league game, but before that the last six games had been split between the teams with each game decided by eight points or less.
The Tigers have lost in their last two trips to Arkansas, both on the Thanksgiving weekend.
"I think our schedule is pretty good for the holidays," Miles said. "It doesn't get them home for Thanksgiving much, but I think the opportunity to play Friday in the afternoon and playing at an opponent's stadium are certainly some things that our team can enjoy."
This LSU squad has lost six starters along the way this season with Tyrann Mathieu, Tahj Jones, Alfred Blue, Chris Faulk, Alex Hurst and Josh Williford all either missing the season or the last few games.
"This team has been fighting all year," Miles said. "They are trying to be as competitive as it can be. We are in position to win 10 (games). I wish it would be 12. Sometimes, 10 is just what it should be. I am proud of how this team is playing."
Miles knows that Arkansas' offense is capable of having a big day with senior quarterback Tyler Wilson at the helm.
"Tyler Wilson is a great quarterback," Miles said. "It will be a challenge for us. The only way to take a guy like that is with coverage and, on certain down and distances, come after him. It's an evolving strategy throughout the game."
LSU rallied for a 41-34 win over Ole Miss last weekend in Baton Rouge.
"Ole Miss gave us their best shot," Miles said. "It was certainly a tremendous game, and I enjoyed the fact that we finished the home season correctly, and we sent our seniors off with a victory. It's one we enjoy having with the Magnolia Trophy, so our football team saw a very quality Ole Miss team, and it's getting better."
The Tigers won despite having three turnovers and six penalties for 56 yards.
"We can't turn the ball over like we did in that game," Miles said. "We're still not perfect [with penalties]. We have things to correct. The good news is that we have time to do that."
While LSU is on the outside looking in right now for a share of the SEC Western Division crown, a couple of upsets and a win on Friday would do it for the Tigers.
"We still have a chance, an outside chance, of being the representative of the Western Division in the SEC title game," Miles said. "We'll play to that. So, there is a strong need for us to finish strong."
Miles Expects Challenge
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