Arkansas softens blow of no bowl by rallying to stun LSU

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- On fourth down with the clock ticking, Casey Dick had one more chance to end his Arkansas career the right way.

He took the snap, threw toward the end zone -- and gave the Razorbacks a victory to remember.

Dick's 24-yard touchdown pass to London Crawford with 22 seconds remaining gave Arkansas a 31-30 win over LSU. Benched the previous weekend for his younger brother, Dick returned in the second half Friday night to lead the Razorbacks back from a 16-point deficit in his final college game.

On fourth-and-1 from the LSU 24, the Razorbacks hastily lined up to run a play. Dick found Crawford single covered in the end zone, and the junior held on for a touchdown.

"My whole career has been a great experience with plenty of highs and plenty of lows," Dick said. "But it's something I can look back on and be proud of."

Crawford's catch was in the same part of the end zone where DeCori Birmingham came down with the ball in 2002 to give Arkansas a one-point win over LSU. That "Miracle on Markham" gave the Razorbacks a chance to play for the Southeastern Conference title. They won't go to a bowl this season, but the months ahead should be a lot more upbeat after this win.

The Tigers (7-5, 3-5) are all but assured of a trip to a minor bowl, not what the defending national champions had in mind when they started the season ranked in the top 10. LSU, beaten by Mississippi last week, lost back-to-back games for the first time since the 2002 season and has dropped three of four.

After Alex Tejada's extra point put Arkansas ahead by one, LSU had one more chance, but Colt David was short on a 63-yard field goal attempt.

"I have seen him kick a 65-yard field goal," Tigers coach Les Miles said. "A play would have had to have been underneath and effective enough to score."

When it was over, the Razorbacks spilled onto the field and raced over to lift the Golden Boot, which Arkansas took home last year with a 50-48, triple-overtime win at LSU.

"I can't tell you how proud I am of this team," said coach Bobby Petrino, who took over the Razorbacks less than 12 months ago. "First and foremost, I have to give it to the seniors. They didn't go out like we thought, but they kept fighting and working hard."

With redshirt freshman Nathan Dick starting at quarterback, Arkansas led 14-3 after the first quarter before being outscored 20-0 in the second. The turning point in the game might have come with Arkansas down 30-21 in the third quarter. LSU's Tremaine Johnson was called for unnecessary roughness with Arkansas about to face fourth down and about 30 from deep in its own territory. Instead the Razorbacks drove for a field goal.

Arkansas (5-7, 2-6) and LSU met as unranked teams for the first time since 1994, and the Razorbacks appeared more energized early. Dennis Johnson ran for nearly 100 yards in the first quarter alone and finished with 127.

LSU managed only a field goal in that opening period. The Tigers had a touchdown called back after a review showed freshman quarterback Jordan Jefferson's knee was on the ground before he pitched the ball to a teammate on an option. LSU had been all set to kick the extra point when Petrino came racing out on the field to catch an official's attention.

The Tigers held the Razorbacks to 3 yards of offense in the second quarter. LSU's Charles Scott scored on a 5-yard run, and Jefferson put the Tigers ahead with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Richard Dickson.

Nathan Dick threw an interception near the end of the half, allowing David to kick his third field goal of the game for a 23-14 lead.

Jefferson went 9-of-21 for 143 yards. He also led the team with 50 yards rushing.

Jefferson threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell early in the third quarter to make it 30-14, but Casey Dick answered with a 46-yard scoring pass to Jarius Wright to start the Arkansas comeback.

Johnson's penalty came during a 17-play, 90-yard drive by Arkansas that took 8:33 on the game clock and a lot longer than that in real time. LSU's Rahim Alem received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on that same drive for kicking the ball after an incomplete pass.

"Our players don't understand how much that hurts our team," Miles said. "You can't make penalties like that and expect to win."

Down 30-24, Arkansas took over at its own 31 with 2:14 remaining. The first big hurdle was a fourth-and-6, which Casey Dick converted with a 21-yard pass to Carlton Salters to the LSU 33.

After Arkansas went ahead, Chad Jones returned a squib kick to the Arkansas 46. Jefferson threw toward Terrance Toliver, who came across the middle right to where one of the officials was. The ball fell incomplete, and Dick's touchdown pass to Crawford held up.

"I remember the Miracle on Markham in 2002," Arkansas center Jonathan Luigs said. "I think I was a junior or senior in high school and I was at that game. This game was very similar to that one. It was two players making a play in the corner of the end zone, and it was just an amazing finish."