But what the Hogs did manage to do, in very unlikely circumstances, was complete two closing minute passes to lifted them to an improbable 21-20 victory."> But what the Hogs did manage to do, in very unlikely circumstances, was complete two closing minute passes to lifted them to an improbable 21-20 victory.">

Tigers' luck runs out in Little Rock

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A longtime pressbox scribe in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium joked there was no reason to worry about Arkansas making a long hail Mary pass, similar to the one that saved LSU against Kentucky, in the closing seconds of Friday's game in Little Rock.<br>"The Hogs don't have anyone to throw it that far," he said.<br>But what the Hogs did manage to do, in very unlikely circumstances, was complete two closing minute passes to lifted them to an improbable 21-20 victory.

The victory gave Arkansas (9-3, 5-3) their 14th straight victory in Little Rock under coach Houston Nutt. LSU finishes the regular season 8-4, also 5-3 in the Southeastern Conference Western Division.

The final pass, a 31-yarder from Matt Jones to DeCorey Birmingham in the deep corner of the end zone with nine seconds left, sent the Razorbacks faithfuls, many of whom had given up, into pandaemonium.

Still, they needed David Carlton's 35-yard extra point, 15 yards after the Hogs received a celebration penalty after the touchdown. But the kicker who took over those earlier this month, drilled it.

"I feel horrible for our team,'' said Tiger coach Nick Saban. "I told them I wished there was something I could do. It is a horrible feeling. I feel sick for them.

"But I am very proud of them and I told them that.''

So what does it mean now with Arkansas winning its final three games and earning a share of the Southeastern Conference Western Division title along with the Tigers and Auburn? While there was officially a three-way tie for the title, it came down to the winner of Friday's game for the berth in next weekend's SEC title game with the Eastern Division champion Georgia Bulldogs. That now goes to Arkansas and LSU must await for the bowl picture to clear for its next assignment.

In all, the' victory seemed unlikley. The Razorbacks, who seemed to do little on a consistent basis, suddenly made it a game when Fred Talley, who finished with 118 yards and became the first Razorback 1,000-yard rusher in five seasons, broke a sprint draw for 56 yards with 6:33 left to bring the home team to within 17-14.

"They really only made two plays all day,'' said Saban. "They got half of their yards on those two plays.''

But it seemed every time the Hogs tried to get back into the game, the Tigers had an answer. And they did this time as well.

Under the direction or sophomore quarterback Marcus Randall, the Tigers 53 yards in 13 plays and used up almost six minutes to build their lead to 20-14. All of the yards came on the ground in the drive and forced Arkansas to use to use all its timeouts.

After Corbello's 29-yard field goal with 40 seconds left, the Tigers have a lot in their favor.

By the time the Hogs got the back back, they had 81 yards to go and only 31 seconds. Jones hit Richard Smith for 50 yards down the right sideline with the Tigers rushing four, and getting no where near the lanky sophomore quarterback, behind the prevent defense.

At the Tiger 31, Jones fired incomplete and out of the end zone on first down before finding Birmingham in the back right corner of the end zone for the heartbreaker.

It was the biggest game in Little Rock since the Razorbacks hosted the Andre Ware-led Houston Cougars in the mid-1980s. That night a festive Razorback following watch Arkansas' flexbone offense outgun the the Coogs' run-and-shoot 45-39.

However, this time it was no offensive shootout, atleast not until the closing minutes.

The Tigers' defense, thanks to Corey Webster's interception of a back-pedaling Matt Jones on third-and-goal from the 9 with 8:10 left in the half, pitched a shutout in the first quarter.

That interception, which stopped a 17-play, 66-yard drive that began in with 10 free yards on a halo infraction call, seemed the bring the Tigers, who had grown sluggish in the second quarter, revived life.

After three plays and out, the Porkers regained possession on the Tiger 47, but an incomplete pass, and a short run, then Jack Hunt's 2-yard loss to Matt Jones on third-and-8 killed the drive.

The Tigers, pinned on their 9 with 3:18 left and Arkansas armed with three time outs, needed at least one first down to end the half with their touchdown lead. Fourteen plays later, the Tigers ended the first half with a surprise 48-yard field goal into a strong southerly wind from John Corbello. That made it 10-0 Tigers at the halftime.

The Tigers had taken a lead when Randall hit Skyler Green on a middle screen and broke it 67 yard down the middle of the Razorback defense with 6:44 left in the first quarter. That early strike too some of the fire out of the festive crowd and when Crobello's extra point sailed through it was 7-0.

"I never thought the crowd was a factor, until the very end,'' said Saban.

The Tigers finished the first half with 166 yards and Arkansas had 122, just 11 of that passing. Randall, passed 10 of 15 for 150 yards in the half, with most of that yard coming on the long scoring pass to Green. For the game, Randall was 14 of 25 for 203 yards and no interceptions. He also rushed for 26 yards and scored the second touchdown on a 5-yard run with 5:34 left in the third quarter.

That score, was once again, a possession where the Tigers answered the Razorbacks when they tried to get back in the game.

The Hogs took their first possession of the second half and drove 61 yards in eight plays. Mark Pierce scored from the 1 on fourth-down, a play where several Tiger linemen jumped up celebrating a stop, but the officials disagreed. With 8:37 left it was Tigers 10, Arkansas 7.

But the Tigers came back 61 yards in eight plays to go up 17-7. Randall, who had a big 48-yard completion to Michael Clayton, scored on a keeper from the 5 with3:03 left. Corbello kicked it 17-7.

Arkansas' best field position of the opening quarter was erased by an offsides penalty against the Hogs on a punt. The penalty gave LSU a first down at its 41, but it also erased a 20-yard punt return that would have given the Hogs possession at their 48.

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