Swan song for Claiborne, Randle?

Have Rueben Randle and Morris Claiborne played their final games in Tiger Stadium?

If Friday's romp over Arkansas was the swan song for LSU juniors Morris Claiborne and Rueben Randle, then the 41-17 victory sent one or both Tiger juniors off to the NFL in style.

First and foremost, the Tigers earned a spot in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta and remain on track for the BCS Championship Game in New Orleans.

But from an individual perspective, Claiborne and Randle turned in games to remember – which arguably rank among the best in their three years in Baton Rouge.

"Both those guys were playing at a high level, and that's what we expect from them," senior safety Brandon Taylor said. "They both helped us take over."

Statistically speaking, Randle had his best game in an LSU uniform. He set career-highs with nine catches and 134 receiving yards. It was the fifth 100-yard game of his career, and his fourth this season.

"It was a big game, and I wanted to make big plays," Randle said. "I did it for my team (Friday). Whatever they needed me to do, I wanted to do it. Whether it was catching or blocking, I wanted to go out and execute."

For Claiborne, there was an interception in the fourth quarter that helped put a final nail in the Razorbacks' coffin. There was also his shift to nickel back for the first time in his career, a result of an injury to sophomore safety Eric Reid that shuffled the secondary around throughout the game.

At the end of an afternoon of top-notch stuff from Randle and Claiborne, LSU senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson had passed for more yards than Arkansas junior quarterback Tyler Wilson – a tell-tale sign that the pair had done what was needed.

So, was it the last dance in Tiger Stadium for Claiborne and Randle?

For now, not surprisingly, the pair will remain mum.

"I'm not looking towards the NFL just yet," Claiborne said. "We have things to do here. I'm trying to win a championship."

Added Randle: "I am waiting for the time to come where I sit down with my family and talk about everything. I am not really focused on it. People have been asking me about it. I'm just focused on this season. I am just trying to end the season right."

Randle's impact was obvious early and often, keeping the Razorbacks honest when defending the pass, which in turn helped the LSU ground game reel off 286 yards. Randle caught a pass in every quarter, the biggest stretch coming when he grabbed five passes for 63 yards in the second quarter.

"He loves getting the ball, and any time he gets it he makes a play," senior offensive guard Will Blackwell said.

Claiborne, who finished with three tackles, and the defensive backs were consistent in coverage all day, and the Razorbacks didn't test the Tigers with a vertical passing game because of it.

When Arkansas fell behind by two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter, Bobby Petrino dialed up a deep shot – and Claiborne dropped into zone coverage and grabbed the interception.

"They are trying to get back in the game, and they threw it over on Mo's side of the field, and Mo makes a play that reminds me of a play he's made countless times," Tigers coach Les Miles said.

Two plays later, Jefferson took a read option 48 yards for a touchdown.

Down at one point 14-0 in the second quarter, the Tigers had flipped the scoreboard to read 38-17 with 10:09 left in the game.

In a game LSU had to win to stay in the mix for the crystal ball, the two junior prospects looking to make big statements did just that.

The only question that remains: Will there be an encore?

Much like with Patrick Peterson and Stevan Ridley last season, there seems to be a given and a question mark.

"I don't know yet," Randle said. "I think (Claiborne's decision) is more clear than mine. He's a top-10 pick. I think he's determined what he wants to do already."


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