NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A gust of wind at the wrong time for
Vanderbilt helped Houston Nutt celebrate his 100th game at Arkansas
in winning style.
Freshman Mitch Mustain threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns,
leading Arkansas past Vanderbilt 21-19 Saturday in the Razorbacks'
first road game this season.
Vanderbilt (0-3, 0-2 SEC) had a chance to upset the Razorbacks
for a second straight year by scoring during the final minute. But
Bryant Hahnfeldt's 48-yard field-goal attempt with 55 seconds left
fell a couple yards short on fourth-and-2.
"Believe it or not, actually, the wind picked up just a little
bit right before he kicked it," Vandy coach Bobby Johnson said.
"I swear, it picked up. You can't plan on that. You can't control
that. I wish I could. I'd be undefeated."
Nutt thought the kick was good as he watched it fly through the
air. Instead, his Razorbacks got to head home with a victory.
"If he would have hit it, it would have been like last year and
the defense would have lost it again," Arkansas defensive tackle
Keith Jackson said of a 28-24 loss to Vanderbilt last year in
Fayetteville. "But I'm just happy it came up short, and we came
out with the victory."
Hahnfeldt said he guesses the wind came up a bit after Arkansas
called a timeout.
"There was no doubt in my mind (it was good)," he said. "It
was one of the better kicks I had all day. I got up, and even
started celebrating, me and Mackenzi (Adams), the holder, and all
of a sudden, the wind just killed it."
That allowed the Razorbacks (2-1, 1-0) to help Nutt improve to
95-63 overall, 59-41 since taking over in 1998, and win Arkansas'
first trip to Nashville since 1995.
"We are fortunate to win, but we are very, very happy," Nutt
The Commodores did their best to slow the league's best rushing
team. They held the ball for more than 32 minutes and limited the
Razorbacks to 170 yards rushing on 39 attempts. Darren McFadden ran
19 times for 71 yards -- a yard shorter than his best run last week
against Utah State -- and he was stopped on fourth-and-1 for no gain
in the third.
But Mustain, who became the Razorbacks' first freshman
quarterback to win his first start last week, responded easily for
Mustain was 13-of-20 and drove the Razorbacks to a touchdown on
their opening drive, hitting Marcus Monk on a 56-yarder, the
longest of his career, tying it 7-7. He also connected with Felix
Jones on a 21-yarder and a 15-yarder to Ben Cleveland capped a
93-yard drive that left Arkansas up 21-13 at the end of the third
His three TDs already tie Mustain for the sixth-best single-game
performance in school history.
"Mitch had an excellent ball game, and he is only going to get
better," Nutt said. "He threw the ball really well today, and he
was able to make all of the reads and was able to make some good
adjustments as well."
The Razorbacks could have made it less interesting if they could
have moved the ball better in the fourth quarter. Arkansas had two
drives taking up 5:30 before killing out the final 55 seconds.
The Commodores had hoped returning home after playing Michigan
and Alabama on the road would provide the edge they needed. They
wouldn't have needed the field goal if not for trouble on extra
They botched a kick attempt after pulling within 14-13 when the
kicker tried to hand the ball to an Arkansas defender.
"It was a hard ball for our holder to handle," Hahnfeldt said
of the snap. "I ended up with the ball and was crushed."
Then Chris Nickson's pass failed on a 2-point conversion that
could have tied it at 21 early in the fourth after the quarterback
ran 15 yards for his third TD of the day. That ruined a day in
which Nickson threw for 124 yards and ran for 74. He ran for one
other touchdown and threw for another.
Vanderbilt opened on the ground and matched its longest drive
this season by going 87 yards. Nickson scored on a 7-yard run that
was the first of his career for a 7-0 lead.
Arkansas came out throwing, and Mustain didn't disappoint. He
completed his first three passes, finding Monk on the third for a
"I had to come out and find where I needed to be, and I think I
did that for the most part," Mustain said.
But the Razorbacks had their problems. They went for it on
fourth-and-18 at the Vanderbilt 32 early in the second quarter
after an illegal procedure call erased a 44-yard field goal by
Stephen Arnold. Safety Darlron Spead intercepted on the play.
Arkansas led 14-13 after two periods thanks to Mustain going
8-of-12 for 103 yards and two touchdowns, his last just before