BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU let its second chance slip away.
Twice the Tigers were No. 1 and in control of their national championship hopes.
Twice the team with a flair for the dramatic couldn`t pull out a triple-overtime victory against a Heisman Trophy contender.
Darren McFadden rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns, and even threw for another score to lift Arkansas to a 50-48 victory Friday, likely eliminating another team from the national title chase.
"Certainly, he had a Heisman performance today," LSU coach Les Miles lamented. "Right now, there`s a goal of our football team taken off the board and it`s sad. ... Tonight, we`ll be sick."
LSU may very well play a bowl game in New Orleans, but the one they were hoping to play - the BCS championship game on Jan. 7 - now looks out of reach.
That had to devastate most of the 92,606 fans who filled Tiger Stadium with earsplitting roars throughout this classic, then quietly filed out while the Razorbacks stormed the field in triumph after snapping the nation`s longest home-winning streak at 19 games.
The Tigers (10-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) had already clinched the SEC West Division and will move on to the conference title game in Atlanta on Dec. 1, but will do so feeling a little hollow.
Winning the SEC title will put LSU in the Sugar Bowl. No team with two losses has ever played in the national title game. A few more upsets could put LSU back in the debate, but it could`ve been so easy for the Tigers. All they had to do was win two.
McFadden, last year`s Heisman Trophy runner-up, has 1,725 yards rushing this season, breaking the school`s single-season record he set last year.
No doubt there are West Virginia and Ohio State fans who`d vote McFadden for Heisman if they could.
By knocking off LSU, which was in first place in the BCS standings, Arkansas boosted the national championship hopes of the Mountaineers and Buckeyes.
Maybe McFadden was running a little angrier than usual after hearing Miles purposely mispronounce Arkansas as ar-KANSAS this week.
"They weren`t saying it right so we wanted to let them know how to say it," McFadden said.
Now that the Tigers have fallen as No. 1 a second time, the winner of Saturday night`s game between No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 Missouri will likely take over the top spot in the rankings and the BCS standings. No. 4 West Virginia, which was third in the BCS standings, has a chance to sneak up to at least No. 2 in each with a win over Connecticut.
As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes are done and waiting it out. They were fifth in the last BCS standings.
Miles, an Elyria High grad who played at Michigan and was an assistant coach there, is widely considered a top candidate to replace Lloyd Carr as the Wolverines` head man.