LSU Seniors Still Have A Chance To Be Champs

It was supposed to be a day they would never forget.

After their name was called they would go to midfield and see their parents or loved ones, hear the applause and cheers from the crowd, and then head back into the locker room to run out onto the field one last time. Three and a half to four hours later, the celebration would continue as thoughts turned to Atlanta and the Georgia Dome; the final hurdle before playing in New Orleans for the national championship.

Somewhere along the way, however, the script was rewritten, and LSU's 25 seniors will now remember Senior Day 2007 for all the wrong reasons.

As Arkansas celebrated their eighth win of the season and reclaimed "The Boot" after regulation and three overtimes, Matt Flynn sat on the field, elbows on his knees, hands clasped, helmet on, and head down. In many respects, the image is reminiscent of the photograph of Y.A. Tittle after he was sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end John Baker. Flynn didn't give up two points on the play prior to his picture being taken.

Instead, he missed out on two points that would have tied the game when his pass intended for Demetrius Byrd in the end zone was intercepted by Matterral Richardson.

Glenn Dorsey, who will no doubt walk away from his collegiate career with a multitude of awards, passed on the NFL last year to come back and win a championship. But that championship was the one that involved hoisting the crystal ball at the end of the season, not the one that LSU is hoping to win Saturday.

"I'm still happy to be a Tiger," Dorsey said. "That's life. I'd be crazy if I just fold the tent right now, you know what I mean? It's a tough loss, but we've still got two more games. We're still in it together, and that's the mindset of the team. Of course it's tough when you lose, so we're just going to move on and just worry about next week."

Dorsey is considered the leader of a group touted as LSU's winningest senior class: most wins by a class in school history (54); most SEC wins (32); most seasons with at least 10 wins (4); most weeks spent as a ranked team (80); most wins over Top 25 teams (19); most wins over Top 10 teams (9). Two glaring absences from those ranks though are SEC Championships and national championships.

For the seniors, a national championship is no longer attainable, and they know it.

"It's devastating for us a whole, as a team, the seniors, the coaches, LSU as an organization, everyone that's involved with LSU," LSU senior defensive end Kirston Pittman said. "We set the goals early on in the year, and it was something we were really looking forward to because we knew it was something we could accomplish as a team if everyone went out and competed as a team. But that's something that maybe is not in reach anymore; maybe it is. But we have the SEC Championship to look forward to and bowl season following that. So, we still have some things to look forward to as a team, and I know everyone's going to be excited when the chance comes."

"The position we were in, it hurts a lot," LSU senior running back Jacob Hester said. "You know, we've still got a lot to play for this season, but, you know, our main goal's pretty much gone.

"We still have a lot to play for. We've got to play for the SEC Championship. That's a big game. You don't want to go out there and get embarrassed and just give up on the season. We've still got two games guaranteed left, so we've got to forget this pretty quick. "

In trying to describe the mood in the locker room afterwards, Dorsey used the words "silence" and "numb."

"It was a tough loss," Dorsey said. "We didn't get it done. We're going to turn our focus to next week and just try to move on. "

In order to do so, according to Dorsey, LSU needs to have a short-term memory. Winning an SEC Championship before they leave matters to the seniors.

"Real important," Dorsey said of getting a victory in Atlanta. "Like I said, we still have goals in front of us. We're still playing for a lot, and it's going to be real important for us to forget this game and come out and try to practice hard this week and prepare for next week."

Tiger fans will remember these seniors for being the leaders of a very good run. They will remember them as some of the leaders who helped Louisiana through one of its darkest hours in history in 2005. They will remember those who waited for their turn to play without complaining, the ones who battled back from injuries to provide a lift, and the one who returned when leaving would have meant a ridiculously large paycheck.

The fans will remember them as champions in that manner. Hopefully they will remember them as SEC Champions as well. The seniors have been to Atlanta for this game and lost before. Leaving the Georgia Dome this weekend with a loss will be a different feeling than losing to the Bulldogs in 2005 though. Unlike then, the seniors don't have the chance for a do-over.

"I'm gonna tell you about this team," LSU coach Les Miles said. "There's too many quality men on this team not to fully understand and look forward to playing eventually…Not today, but eventually…this coming Saturday."

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