FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- No. 15 Arkansas can scratch one goal
off its list. After missing the postseason the last two years, the
Razorbacks are bowl eligible again.
They're also the only team with a perfect SEC record, so they
hope this is just the beginning.
"Nothing like being bowl eligible, but we've got more things to
accomplish," coach Houston Nutt said. "We're in the driver's seat
in the SEC. We're the only team undefeated, so let's try to win the
Felix Jones returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a
touchdown, and Arkansas defeated Mississippi 38-3 Saturday. The
Razorbacks led 14-0 after the first 5:17 and were never seriously
Arkansas (6-1, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) lost its opener this
year 50-14 to Southern California, but has bounced back well.
Jones was second in the nation with a 31.9-yard average on
kickoff returns last year, but hadn't shown the same explosiveness
on special teams this season.
"We've been saying for the last three weeks we were a block
away," Nutt said.
Jones caught the opening kickoff against Mississippi (2-6, 1-4)
and started upfield patiently, waiting for an opening. He then
broke up the middle and untouched down the left side.
"I've got to let them set up and let them get into their blocks
before I even can think about doing anything," Jones said.
"Otherwise, I'm going to be by myself, and that's what I didn't
want. I have to be patient and wait for the hole."
It was the second straight week Arkansas had started the game
with a quick touchdown. Darren McFadden scored on a long run on the
Razorbacks' first offensive play in a 63-7 win over Southeast
Arkansas also scored on its first offensive possession against
Mississippi to lead 14-0. With the ball at the Rebel 4, McFadden
lined up in a shotgun position while quarterback Mitch Mustain was
out at wide receiver. McFadden took the snap and ran up the middle
for a touchdown.
The Razorbacks ran a variation of that play several times --
including earlier that drive when McFadden took the snap and handed
off to Jones.
"This was a little wrinkle that we put in," Nutt said. "Just
kind of kept them off balance. I thought we made a couple good
first downs and a touchdown with it."
Peyton Hillis scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter, and
Arkansas led 21-3 at halftime.
McFadden, who entered as the SEC's leading rusher, was held to
65 yards rushing. He did score on a 70-yard reception late in the
third quarter when he took a screen pass and raced past a few
defenders down the left sideline.
That play was reviewed and upheld by the officials, then a
scoreboard replay appeared to show McFadden's foot stepping on the
sideline. Even though the play already had been upheld, the
Arkansas fans let out a startled "Ohhhhh" when the play was
shown. It was unclear whether the officials had access to that
specific replay when they were reviewing the play.
Arkansas hasn't allowed 20 points in regulation since the loss
BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 79 yards and Brent Schaeffer was
11-of-30 for 118 yards for Ole Miss. The Rebels lost at Alabama
26-23 in overtime last weekend, but coach Ed Orgeron said they
weren't as ready to play against Arkansas.
"There is no way we had the same mental attitude we had against
Alabama," he said. "This is the SEC and you have to be mentally
prepared for every team."
Mustain, now 6-0 as a starter for Arkansas, had an efficient
game throwing mostly short passes. The freshman went 12-of-15 for
"We did a good job executing," Mustain said. "I think that's
what it came down to. Execution by everybody -- really made me look
good out there."