FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks senior linebacker Dwayne Eugene isn't a team captain, but he sounded like one late Saturday night after Auburn beat his team 52-20.
"Dwayne gave us a great talk," said defensive back Kevin Richardson, who is a senior captain. "Tried to push guys and motivate guys to do something extra."
The Razorbacks (2-5, 0-4 SEC) have lost their past three conference games against South Carolina, Alabama and Auburn by a combined 141-51.
"I pretty much just told them that we have to take things personal, especially this game," Eugene said when asked about the message to his teammates. "I told the guys they tested our manhood and we didn't respond.
"I said as a man you've got to do more. It's insane to do the same thing and expect different results. I challenged the guys individually to be the best that you can be each and every day."
Eugene was far from finished.
"I told them that no matter how hard or tough things get, it's life," he said. "But you can't quit. You can't not respond. You have to champion adversity and be the best that you can be.
"We have to find a way to finish, man. We have to finish and we've got to have heart and passion.
"Out there it's dead. It's no passion and no fun. There's just a lot of long faces, and I told them something has to change.
"I told the guys to do more. Watch more film, do some extra work. Be the best you can be to put your team in the best position for success as possible."
That wasn't all.
"I told them that we have to go into the game knowing that we're the best team on that field," Eugene said. "You have to know going into the game I'm going to beat the man in front of me. I'm going to refuse to lose.
"Doing that, great things come. But it all starts with belief. When things get tough, that's part of football. You've got to respond to it."
Eugene said the Razorbacks can't lay down and let opponents run over them.
"We can fight back," he said. "And I believe that our team's going to fight back."
The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville will try to end a seven-game losing streak against teams from Power 5 conferences --that started at Missouri last season -- when it plays at Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3) at 11 a.m. Saturday.
"It's tough to lose one game," Richardson said when asked the impact of so many losses. "We don't pay attention to what happened last week.
"We focus on not letting one team beat us twice. We have to move forward regardless of what happens."
The Razorbacks are aware of fan unrest and questions about Coach Bret Bielema's job security in his fifth season since coming to Arkansas from Wisconsin.
"I know there's speculation on the outside," Richardson said. "Regardless of what guys on the outside are saying, we know what's going on inside our room and we're behind him 100 percent."
Arkansas has to finish 4-1 in its final five regular-season games to get six victories required for bowl eligibility.
The Razorbacks have one nationally-ranked team left on their schedule at No. 23 LSU Nov. 11, but also have to play a̶t̶ ̶S̶t̶a̶r̶k̶v̶i̶l̶l̶e̶,̶ ̶M̶i̶s̶s̶.̶,̶ the following week against Mississippi State, which is 5-2 and among others receiving votes in the AP poll released Sunday.
"I can't speak for everyone, but what I think our whole team's goal is to just win the next game," freshman quarterback Cole Kelley said. "Now we have to beat Ole Miss."
The Rebels (3-4, 1-3) will be without quarterback Shea Patterson, the SEC's leader in passing yards, who will miss the rest of the season after an MRI Sunday revealed a torn posterior ligament in his right knee.
The injury knocked Patterson out on the final drive of the first half of Saturday's 40-24 loss at LSU, but he played in the second half with a brace on his right knee.
Patterson leads the SEC with 2,259 passing yards. Junior Jordan Ta'amu was his replacement on Saturday.
In Fayetteville, there was an announced crowd of 71,961 for the Arkansas-Auburn, but fans began leaving in large numbers in the third quarter after the Tigers pushed their lead to 38-6.
"I know there's a lot of unhappy fans, but we can't get too into that type of thing," Eugene said. "We just keep everything in-house, keep playing for one another and our coaches, and play for our loyal fans, as well.
"We can't worry about the outside noise. It's about us and it's all internal."
Sports on 10/23/2017
*CORRECTION: The Arkansas Razorbacks are scheduled to play Mississippi State on Nov. 18 in Fayetteville. The site of the game was incorrectly identified in a previous version of this story.
Print Headline: Eugene tells team it needs to man up