Russell ready for showdown in The Rock

Friday's nationally televised audience will see No. 8 LSU face off against college footballs biggest surprise this season, No. 5 Arkansas.

Little Rock will no doubt be ready for their biggest game since LSU last came to town in 2002 when the Southeastern Conference Western Division title was on the line. The Razorbacks won the game on a last second touchdown with nine seconds remaining and advanced to the conference championship.


One person watching that contest at home was LSU starting quarterback JaMarcus Russell. The junior slinger was heavy recruited by every collegiate football team across the nation, and today he stands as one of LSU's finest quarterbacks ever.


Russell currently ranks second in school history in touchdowns with 48 and he's third in school history in total offense with 6,146 yards. For his career, Russell has guided the Tigers to a 23-4 overall mark as a starter and he's led LSU to seven fourth quarter comeback wins, including two this year.


On Friday, Russell and the Tigers will try to punch their ticket into a BCS bowl game with a win at Arkansas.


"It's a big game for us," Russell said. "We want to go in and get us in a big BCS game. We just need to focus on the game. We need to win the game this week in practice."


On Wednesday, Russell was named one of 11 finalists for the Manning Award. The Manning Award is presented to the nation's best college quarterback by the Sugar Bowl. The Manning Award was created in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning and will be presented to the recipient following the holiday bowl season. It is the only quarterback award which takes into consideration the candidates bowl performances.


Russell said however he doesn't worry awards accolades, he just wants to win the next game.


"Both teams have good offenses," Russell said. "I think its going to be a dog fight. It's going to be a dog fight until the end. We are just going to have to be prepared that if bad things happen, no matter what you don't give up."


This year, Russell has guided the Tigers to a 9-2 overall mark and a No. 8 national ranking. Russell has completed 197 of 286 passes for 2,587 yards and 24 touchdowns. He has twice led the Tigers to touchdowns with less than 15 seconds left to win games, including last week against Ole Miss when LSU scored with 14 seconds remaining to force overtime.

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