FAYETTEVILLE--The Razorbacks' second half collapse last week against Mississippi State is seen by many Hog football fans as proof that the players have finally given up on what has been a miserable season. The team's 2012 seniors disagree.
Some of them were still in high school when Bobby Petrino's first Arkansas team limped into Little Rock to face LSU in the 2008 season finale. Those players carried the same 4-7 record into the game as the current Razorbacks will have when they take the field on Friday afternoon in front of a national TV audience.
"I brought that up to the offense on Sunday," offensive coordinator Paul Petrino revealed.
"It was a similiar situation," senior safety Ross Rasner echoed. "I don't think they (the '08 Razorbacks) were bowl eligible and they ended up knocking them off so it's football. Anything can happen."
"I believe we were down 14 or 17," Petrino recalled. "London (Crawford) caught that fade at the end of the game so it was a great way for Casey Dick to end his career. Threw a touchdown. It would be a real nice way to have these guys to end their careers."
Following a 31-30 win over the Tigers Petrino's Razorbacks proceeded to win 29 games over the next three seasons. Senior receiver Cobi Hamilton believes a victory on Friday over 7th ranked LSU might provide a similiar boost to future Razorback teams.
"This is our last game together here," Hamilton stressed. "We want to take that and pull out a win together and try to make it a big deal around here."
Hamilton's eyes began to tear up as reporters asked him to recall the 2010 Arkansas-LSU game. A pair of touchdown bombs from quarterback Ryan Mallett to Hamilton propelled the Razorbacks past the Tigers and into Arkansas' first ever BCS bowl game.
It's hard to reflect on it," he said emotionally. "We came out to win. That's a game we needed to win and this is a game where we're trying to make the same point. It would mean so much. It would leave everybody with smiling faces."
"The last thing you remember is the last thing that happens," Hamilton continued. "You want to remember a win on the hill. We just have to go make things happen."
The longstanding Little Rock setting as Arkansas' home game in this series switches to Fayetteville this season offering this team the opportunity to inaugurate a new tradition.
"Playing in front of our Fayetteville crowd is going to really be big time on Thanksgiving," Rasner predicted. "I don't think we've ever done that so it's going to be something special for these guys."
For senior defensive tackle Alfred Davis returning "The "Boot" trophy to Fayetteville is motivation enough as he closes out his Razorback career.
"We want to go out and win the football game," Davis said forcefully. "That's our mindset. Win the Boot. Bring it back here."
Ignoring predictions of empty seats with tickets reportedly selling online for less than half price, Davis gushed, "It's going to be a crazy atmosphere. The fans are going to be crazy. It's going to be a great situation for us."