Blackwell carries vendetta for Arkansas

Will Blackwell has seen some good times in his LSU career.

The senior offensive guard was a redshirting freshman as LSU won a national championship in 2007. He has enjoyed numerous wins not only in Tiger Stadium, but places like Neyland Stadium, Bryant-Denny Stadium and Between the Hedges at Georgia.

But one thing sticks in his craw about his career as he heads for his final home game.

“We have a personal vendetta against Arkansas,” Blackwell said matter-of-factly, speaking for LSU’s senior class. “It’s the only team that we’ve played consistently against in a series that we won’t have a chance to have a winning record against in a career.”

Blackwell and LSU’s other seniors will have a chance to get the last word in when No. 3 Arkansas visits No. 1 LSU Friday.

The Razorbacks have indeed been a team that has constantly been a thorn in LSU’s side. Arkansas has won three of the last four in the series, including a 31-23 win last year in Little Rock that likely cost LSU a spot in the Sugar Bowl. In 2007, Arkansas very nearly derailed LSU’s national title hopes with a triple-overtime upset in Baton Rouge.

“That stings a little bit,” said Blackwell of LSU being 1-3 against Arkansas in his years at LSU, including the year he redshirted. “Especially against a team you play every year and are going to fight for a division title.”

In last year’s loss in Little Rock, Blackwell said LSU made numerous mistakes that allowed the Ryan Mallet/Niles Davis-led Razorbacks to pull out the win.

“We didn’t play our best game on the road, the day after Thanksgiving,” Blackwell recalled. “It was a little tough for us. We had some miscues.”

Blackwell, a starting guard for the Tigers who is the reigning SEC offensive lineman of the week for his efforts in spearheading a 353-yard LSU rushing attack in a 52-3 win over Ole Miss, will likely again be asked to help LSU establish a physical running game against Arkansas.

In past games this season against high-powered passing offenses like West Virginia and Oregon, LSU has chosen to try to control the clock with the running game to keep the offense off the field. It would make sense for the Tigers, who are second in the SEC in both rushing yards (209.5 per game) and yards per carry (4.8 a game) to try the same approach today against Arkansas’ SEC-best pass attack.

Arkansas, meanwhile, has been vulnerable against the run, giving up 164.2 yards a game and 4.3 yards a carry. Both stats are eighth in the 12-team SEC.

“We’ll see what we can do,” Blackwell said.

What he doesn’t want to happen is to see Arkansas spoil things one more time, not on his senior day.

“It’s the last game in Tiger Stadium,” he said. “There’s something about playing in that place that makes it special.

“It’s kind of bittersweet, but hopefully we can end on the right note.”