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Arkansas eyes role of spoiler against No. 8 LSU

Associated Press Modified: November 22, 2012 at 10:18 pm •  Published: November 22, 2012

The Tigers hope the rebirth of their once-anemic passing game continues on Friday against the Razorbacks, who are 115th in the country in allowing 292.1 yards passing per game. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger struggled in the starting role earlier this season, but he's averaged 284.3 yards passing over his last three games.

A win would also give the Tigers double-digit wins for the sixth time in eight years under coach Les Miles, who is well aware of the difficulty of playing against Wilson and Arkansas — which has won three of its last five games against LSU.

"When you watch their film, you can see why they were ranked in the top 10 to start the season, and they're still there," Miles said. "The quality players have played hard. John L. Smith (is) in a tough position in this last game, but I'm sure that he'll be ready, and I'm sure that this Arkansas team will play inspired."

Injuries and fallout from the transition from Petrino — who was fired for hiring his mistress to a position in the athletic department and initially lying about her presence during an April 1 motorcycle accident — were too much for Arkansas to overcome this season.

Still, Smith pleaded for fans to support the Razorbacks this week when they host LSU in Fayetteville for the first time since 1992, the school's first season in the SEC. Arkansas' home game with the Tigers has been played in its home away from home in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium since, and it's been the sight of several memorable last-second finishes between the rivals.

One of those dramatic games was a 31-30 Arkansas win in 2008, a game that gave the Razorbacks a 5-7 record in their first season under Petrino. The game was a springboard to future success for Arkansas, which was 21-5 the last two seasons and won the Cotton Bowl over Kansas State last season.

Wilson's senior class was a part of much of the success. And given the circumstances of the season, he couldn't think of a better way to close out his career.

"Little Rock's great, and it's been tradition to be there, for sure," Wilson said. "But, not being able to go to a bowl game at this point, to wrap up my career here in Fayetteville is the perfect ending."