LITTLE ROCK (AP) -- After Darren McFadden fumbled on his first
carry, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt went right back to him.
"He's so tough," Nutt said. "He doesn't fumble very much --
that was surprising."
McFadden justified his coach's confidence, rushing for 125
yards, and fellow freshman Felix Jones added 102 to help Arkansas
snap a three-game losing streak with a 44-15 win over
Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night.
McFadden and Jones each scored twice while becoming the first
Arkansas freshmen to run for 100 yards in the same game. The
Razorbacks, who entered ranked No. 4 in the nation at 277.8 yards
rushing per game, had 321 against Louisiana-Monroe.
"They are something," Nutt said of his freshman backs. "They
are very special. They hit the hole with such quickness."
Arkansas (2-3) earned its first win of the season against a
Division I-A team -- its season-opening victory was against I-AA
Missouri State. The Razorbacks, who play most of their home games
in Fayetteville, improved to 18-1 at Little Rock's War Memorial
Stadium since Nutt took over before the 1998 season. The only
defeat was a season-ending loss to LSU last year, but the crowd
helped the Razorbacks put that loss behind them.
"They really were our 12th man out there tonight," Nutt said
of the 54,209 fans who showed up. "The fans caused lots of
problems with the noise level."
McFadden's 26-yard run on Arkansas' first offensive play ended
with a fumble that Louisiana-Monroe's Marbrae Wilson recovered. But
McFadden bounced back to rush for over 100 yards for the first time
-- in his return to the area where he grew up and played at Pulaski
Oak Grove High School.
"I'm from Little Rock," McFadden said. "It just feels great
to come home and play."
McFadden also had a 64-yard return on the second half's opening
kickoff to help set up Jones' first touchdown, a 4-yard rush that
made it 30-8. Jones added a 3-yard scoring run later in the third
Jones had his second 100-yard game. He ran for 137 against
"When you can move it on the ground, you can do anything," he
Louisiana-Monroe's Steven Jyles went 11-for-25 for only 97
yards, although he became the Indians' career leader with 7,832
yards passing. John Holman threw for 7,827 between 1979-82.
"Arkansas has a lot of speed on both ends of the lines and they
exposed that tonight," Jyles said.
Louisiana-Monroe (2-4) trailed only 3-2 in the first quarter
after Arkansas quarterback Robert Johnson was sacked for a safety
by Brandon Guillory, but the Indians' momentum was short-lived.
Mason Denham fumbled the ensuing free kick, and John Johnson
recovered for the Razorbacks at the Louisiana-Monroe 39-yard line.
"That was just huge," Nutt said. "I think that probably swung
the game a lot quicker."
McFadden raced through the line on the next play, then cut
toward the left sideline and scored to give Arkansas a 10-2 lead.
De'Arrius Howard's 4-yard run made it 16-2 in the second quarter
-- the extra point was blocked. Louisiana-Monroe answered on a fake
field goal. Holder Jesse Blair, normally a tight end, threw a
23-yard scoring pass to Joey Trappey. The Indians also failed to
convert their extra point.
McFadden's 15-yard run with 2:15 remaining in the quarter capped
a six-play, 80-yard drive and gave Arkansas a 23-8 halftime lead.
"When they did the fake -- took the air out of us," Nutt said.
"To come back on top of that and execute a long drive and put it
in the end zone -- you answered them."
Robert Johnson went 12-of-17 for 119 yards for the Razorbacks.
His 5-yard scoring pass to Cedric Logan made it 37-8 in the third.
Louisiana-Monroe's Kinsmon Lancaster had a 4-yard touchdown run
with 32 seconds to play in the fourth.
Arkansas has won all six meetings with Louisiana-Monroe. The
Razorbacks have never started 1-4 under Nutt.