Hogs stay hopeful bowl within reach

By: Bob Holt
Published: Monday, November 13, 2017
Jeremy Patton, Arkansas tight end, walks to the locker room after Arkansas fell to LSU Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
Photo by Ben Goff
Jeremy Patton, Arkansas tight end, walks to the locker room after Arkansas fell to LSU Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

BATON ROUGE -- The math is simple if the Arkansas Razorbacks want to qualify for a bowl game for the fourth consecutive year.

Go 2-0.

The Razorbacks (4-6, 1-5 SEC) need to win their final two games against Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3) and Missouri (5-5, 2-4) to get to six victories necessary for bowl eligibility.

"We've got good kids," Razorbacks Coach Bret Bielema said after his team lost at No. 24 LSU 33-10 on Saturday. "They fight. They're going to continue to battle for one another."

Tight end Jeremy Patton said the Razorbacks are still confident they can get to a bowl game.

"I know we can," Patton said. "We've shown it the last two weeks how we're a resilient team and we can come back.

"We just need to bring it all together for a four-quarter game and we'll be just fine."

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville rallied from down 24 points to win 38-37 at Ole Miss and from down 13 points to beat Coastal Carolina 39-38, but there was no coming back against LSU after the Tigers scored a touchdown on their first possession of the third quarter to take a 13-7 lead.

"The only thing that we can do at this point -- and it's really the same thing in our program after a win or loss -- is focus on the week ahead," said Bielema, whose team had several players sustain injuries. "We're going to have to have a lot of guys step up.

"Some of these guys, I don't know if they'll be able to play this coming week, so new guys step into those roles and take advantage of the opportunity that they have."

A plus for the Razorbacks is that their final two regular-season games are at home. They play No. 16 Mississippi State at 11 a.m. Saturday and Missouri at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 24, the Friday after Thanksgiving. Both games will be televised on CBS.

"Hopefully we can give the fans something to cheer about the next two weeks and end this thing on a high note," Arkansas senior quarterback Austin Allen said. "Our mindset is to get a win next week."

Sophomore linebacker De'Jon Harris, who led Arkansas with 12 tackles, said the Razorbacks are staying together as a team.

"We're tight," Harris said. "We still believe in Coach B. We never give up on our coach.

"We're still a family. We've got to stick together and move on."

Patton said the Razorbacks haven't lost faith in themselves or the coaching staff and have the desire to make it to a bowl game.

"We've got to really pull it together for these last two games," Patton said. "We owe it to our seniors on this team who have put in the work for four and five years."

Bielema was asked about not losing the team despite the Razorbacks' record.

"I know this: I care a lot for our players. I know they care a lot about each other," Bielema said. "When things don't go well, the worst thing you can do is leave these experiences behind you and don't learn from it.

"I know there is tremendous heartache and pain and it's not good for everybody involved. But there's some things that you're going to learn along the way and at some point there's going to be a positive to it.

"Whether it's next week or next month, whatever it is, they've got to take these hard things to swallow and hopefully come out with a better day in the end at some point down the road."

Sports on 11/13/2017

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