LSU will face a similar situation to last season when it hosts Arkansas in the annual Battle for the Golden Boot.
Last year, LSU lost a gut-wrenching game to Alabama 20-13 in overtime and followed it up by getting shut out 17-0 against Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. The Tigers lost to Alabama 30-16 this year and approach another possibility of a letdown game against the Razorbacks.
LSU coach Les Miles expressed the importance of winning this game and taking back the Boot.
“Well certainly it’s a very important piece,” Miles said about the trophy. “We recognize we don’t have it. We recognize that we’re playing for it.”
Miles said he could not identify the reasons LSU played sluggishly against Arkansas coming off the loss to Alabama last year. He said his team still has plenty of aspirations to achieve and will not take Arkansas lightly.
“It’s pretty difficult for me to figure all those things, all those pieces,” Miles said of last year’s loss to Alabama. “I can only tell you that we’re a team with a lot to play for, a team that understands that this is a quality opponent that’s coming in here. We have goals and aspirations of our own, and I think you’ll see a team play to that.”
One player who will need to bounce back from a terrible game is tailback Leonard Fournette. The sophomore ran for 31 yards on 19 carries in a game that revoked his status as the favorite in the Heisman Trophy race. Miles said Fournette will not let last week’s dreadful performance haunt him against the Razorbacks.
“I think Leonard Fournette is a guy that understands football first and foremost,” Miles said. “I think he recognizes there’s another Saturday and there’s another Saturday and the opportunity to show your body of work is something that is on display routinely through these falls. I don’t think he’s put much into the last game.”
As for a letdown, Miles said there will be nothing to worry about. The Tigers still have plenty to play for this season, and one loss won’t ruin that.
“I think our team is there,” Miles said. “I think we recognize that we’ve put ourselves in a really good position. All we have to do is hold point and do the things we can do and control our destiny as best we can … And our guys understand that. They redirect very quickly.”