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DJ Chark, LSU continue to overcome early setbacks in 33-10 defeat of Arkansas

A muffed punt in the opening minutes provided a moment of concern that Saturday’s rare 11 a.m. kickoff might provide some difficulties for D.J. Chark and 16-point favorite LSU (7-3).

But the senior wide receiver bounced back from the early miscue, just as he had during the team’s most recent home game, and played a leading role in the Tigers’ eventual 33-10 dismissal of Arkansas.

“You’re gonna make mistakes,” he said. “But I’m blessed to be able to get another opportunity after I might mess up. No one wants to mess up. But if you do, you have to shake it off and worry about it after the game … I just came in after the mistake early on and was able to talk to the special teams guys and just find ways to not let that happen again, try not to force things and take what they gave us. And I’m just happy to just go back out on offense and contribute.”

By the end of the first quarter, Chark had hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass from Danny Etling for the morning’s first score.

The duo added a beautiful 68-yard connection — one of their best of the season and a highlight of a 26-point second half — on the first play of the fourth quarter to essentially, finally put the Razorbacks away.

“I’m just blessed to be put in those opportunities,” Chark said. “We never really think about the statistics. We just play to each other’s strengths. And I feel like the coaches see (the long ball) as one of my strengths, and we were able to execute it.”

And Chark’s 130 yards on four receptions led Etling’s six different receivers and accounted for 59.9 percent of the quarterback’s passing yardage for the day.

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LSU’s blueprint to upsetting Alabama | Tiger Pride Podcast

No. 19 LSU visits No. 1 Alabama this weekend as the biggest underdog the Tigers have been in more than two decades.

And coach Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide squad is favored for plenty of reason.

But Jerit Roser and Mark Clements found some potential sources of optimism for LSU fans as they continued to dissect the matchup and break down all of those dynamics in the podcast below.

Listen to this week’s Tiger Pride Podcast to dive into the challenge that awaits the Tigers, as well as a blueprint to upending Alabama.

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Ranking the top five LSU vs. Alabama matchups of ‘Saban era’ | Tiger Pride Podcast

LSU enters its annually anticipated matchup against Alabama fresh off arguably its best game of the season thus far in a 40-24 victory at Ole Miss.

The Tigers’ three straight SEC wins have provided some renewed optimism — even as notable underdogs in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

And Jerit Roser and Mark Clements took the bye-week opportunity to rank the top five matchups between the rivals since former LSU coach Nick Saban took over the Crimson Tide in 2007.

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LSU’s Arkansas trip could prove more telling than Alabama game | Podcast

Hundreds of thousands of eyes in Baton Rouge alone fixated on Tiger Stadium this past weekend as LSU hosted Alabama.

Ed Orgeron postgame

LSU and interim coach Ed Orgeron head to Arkansas this weekend. (Jerit Roser)

Reports that interim coach Ed Orgeron could earn a more-permanent opportunity added to the more typical storylines of the always highly anticipated annual slug fest.

And despite a masterful defensive performance, the No. 13 Tigers (5-3) fell to the No. 1 Crimson Tide (9-0) for the sixth straight time behind a stagant offensive evening more reminiscent of the criticisms of now-former coach Les Miles than of Orgeron’s first three games at the helm.

“Eaux” and co.’s ability to break a different trend this week in Arkansas could ultimately prove more telling to the big picture of LSU’s 2016 season — and their current leader’s prospects for maintaining his position — than the 10-0 loss (they hope is) already in their rearview mirror.

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LSU vs. Alabama: How optimistic can Tigers fans be vs. the No. 1 Tide? | Podcast

A month and a few days ago, LSU looked destined for a sixth straight loss to rival Alabama.

Tre'Davious White Jamal Adams

Defensive backs Tre’Davious White and Jamal Adams hold up four fingers on each hand to signify the fourth quarter against Southern Miss. (Jerit Roser)

The Tigers had just fired longtime coach Les Miles on the heels of a wild, heartbreaking loss at a seemingly mediocre Auburn to fall to 2-2 on the year, and the Crimson Tide were No. 1 in the nation and rolling.

But interim coach Ed Orgeron and company have outscored their three opponents since then by a combined 125-38 margin, including a 38-21 defeat two weeks ago of a once highly regarded Ole Miss squad.

In the process, LSU (5-2) has not only re-entered the national polls, but climbed all the way to No. 13 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Alabama (8-0) still tops every list.

But Tigers fans have a world more reason to be optimistic about their team can potentially finally end its recent drought in the rivalry.

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