Arkansas has final chance to end streak at LSU

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 27, 2013 at 2:31 am •  Published: November 27, 2013
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Bret Bielema has done his best to stay positive throughout a difficult first season at Arkansas.

The Razorbacks' coach continued that approach after a school-record eighth-straight loss.

Standing in front of a team burdened by two seasons of ill fortune since the firing of the scandal-ridden Bobby Petrino, Bielema's message was a simple.

"We got six days together," Bielema told the Razorbacks on Sunday night. "We got six days that this room is going to be the exact same that it is right now. ... So let's embrace these six days, have fun with it, try to make the most of a very difficult situation and be something that you can remember for a lifetime."

Arkansas (3-8, 0-7 Southeastern Conference) will have a final chance at a conference win when it travels to No. 15 LSU on Friday.

The game will bring an end to Bielema's first season. A loss to the Tigers (8-3, 4-3) would give Arkansas nine losses in a season for the first time in school history. Combined with last season's 4-8 record, the Razorbacks are 7-16 since Petrino's firing in the spring of 2012.

The losing has been difficult to accept for a fan base that had grown used to success, such as when Arkansas was a combined 21-5 during the 2010-11 seasons. Only 45,198 attended last weekend's overtime loss to Mississippi State in Little Rock — the third-lowest crowd for an SEC game in War Memorial Stadium.

Bielema has struggled as well in the first year of his six-year, $3.2-million annual contract after leaving Wisconsin last December.

The former Badgers coach had never lost more than four games in a row in his seven years as a head coach before this season and had he ever missed out on a bowl game.

Bielema bristled in the spring when approached by Arkansas fans who offered their sympathy for what he had gotten himself into at the school, which was picked to finish last in the SEC West in the preseason.

Now, he's just hopeful to end the season on a high note in Baton Rouge.

"If we spend one more day being negative or thinking about what's been happening in the past, we're not going to capitalize on this opportunity," Bielema said. "With a shortened week, it allowed us to maybe kind of turn the page a little bit quicker."



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