FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- One week removed from an ugly loss to
Southern California, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt was happy to have
any kind of win.
"Wins are precious, even if they are ugly," Nutt said after
the Razorbacks' 20-0 victory Saturday over Utah State.
Arkansas (1-1) had 184 yards from Darren McFadden and an
efficient, conservative effort from freshman quarterback Mitch
Mustain, while rebounding from a 50-14 loss to the No. 3 Trojans.
"Man, it was good to have the old Darren back," said Nutt,
whose star running back broke a toe in a summer fight outside a
nightclub. "He wanted to be out there the whole time."
McFadden, last year's Southeastern Conference freshman of the
year, carried 20 times, but the slower Aggies (0-2) made it hard to
tell whether he is fully recovered.
A larger-than-expected crowd turned out to see Mustain, named
the nation's top prep player by Parade magazine and USA Today,
after throwing for 3,817 yards and 47 touchdowns last year.
McFadden carried on seven of the Razorbacks' first nine plays as
Arkansas (1-1) sought to dominate on the ground and take pressure
off Mustain. He got the job after directing a five-play, 80-yard
drive against USC reserves in the opener.
"It's always nice to be able to give the ball to such good
backs like Darren, Felix (Jones) and Peyton (Hillis)," Mustain
said. "They make things a lot easier as a quarterback."
Nutt said Mustain "made good decisions for the most part."
McFadden scored on a 9-yard run in the second quarter after
guard Jeremy Harrell took out the left side of the Utah State
defense line near the Aggie goal line. In the third quarter, he had
a 72-yard scoring run after skipping out of safety Terrance
Washington's hands at the Arkansas 40.
"I saw the hole before I even crossed the line of scrimmage,"
McFadden said. "I almost lost my feet, but I regained my balance
and took it to the house."
Mustain, 9-of-17 passing for 119 yards and no interceptions, hit
Marcus Monk with a 13-yard scoring pass just before halftime. Monk
jumped near the side of the end zone, flicked his hands up quickly
and got a foot inbounds before rolling out. Replays rejected a Utah
"Mitch threw it to a spot where only I could catch it and I
went up and made the grab," Monk said.
Mustain opted for many short routes, working the ball to the
sidelines to let Arkansas' faster receivers work against Utah
State's outside men.
The Aggies managed several big plays after having only one play
longer than 9 yards in a loss at Wyoming. An early drive fizzled
once Utah State reached the Arkansas 28, after a delay-of-game
penalty on fourth-and-two.
"We've got to score touchdowns to win games," coach Brent Guy
Two pass interference penalties helped Utah State move the ball
to the Arkansas 7 in the final two minutes, but Leon Jackson
misfired on his last four passes. He finished 11-of-28 for 114
"I'm not into moral victories, and I wasn't going to kick a
field goal just to avoid being shut out," Guy said.
Marcus Cross had 29 carries for 103 yards, the first Aggie to
break 100 yards since the 2004 season.