7:00 PM ET, October 28, 2006
War Memorial Stadium, LITTLE ROCK, AR
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- For the first time in over a month, Arkansas was losing. The Razorbacks had allowed an early touchdown, and they looked sluggish against Louisiana-Monroe.
Then a few big plays on special teams helped Arkansas get started -- and the rout was on.
Darren McFadden accounted for two touchdowns and No. 13 Arkansas capitalized on a pair of botched punt snaps, then pinned Louisiana-Monroe deep in its own territory with two punts of its own in a 44-10 victory Saturday night.
The win was Houston Nutt's 100th coaching victory.
"I think they won the game," Nutt said of the special teams. "If you look at their mistakes and look how we downed the ball inside their 1-yard line."
McFadden ran for 129 yards and a touchdown -- and also threw for a score. Felix Jones rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown for the Razorbacks (7-1), who had two 100-yard rushers for the third time in four games.
Louisiana-Monroe (1-7) led 7-0 early after Kinsmon Lancaster found LaGregory Sapp for a 17-yard touchdown. It was the first time Arkansas had trailed since a Sept. 23 win over Alabama, but the deficit was short lived.
The Warhawks' Cody Bauman snapped the ball over his punter's head twice. The first bad snap went for a 50-yard loss and gave Arkansas the ball at the 10, leading to Jones' 7-yard touchdown run. The second resulted in a 35-yard loss and gave the Razorbacks possession at the 14, and Mitch Mustain's 12-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Monk made it 14-7.
Later in the first half, Arkansas downed two of Jacob Skinner's punts inside the 3. After the second, the Razorbacks went ahead 16-7 when Matt Hewitt tackled Calvin Dawson for a safety.
McFadden then lobbed a 9-yard scoring pass to Wes Murphy, and the Razorbacks weren't threatened again.
"It was fun to throw a touchdown," said McFadden, a star running back at Arkansas but an occasional quarterback in high school. "It brought back a lot of memories."
McFadden entered as the Southeastern Conference's leading rusher, but the Razorbacks have used him at quarterback every now and then as a recent wrinkle on offense. He usually hands off or keeps the ball himself from that formation -- he handed to Jones on his touchdown.
But in the second quarter, McFadden rolled out to his left and apparently checked off to a secondary option.
"I was supposed to throw the ball to Peyton [Hillis], but he was covered up," McFadden said. "I was going to just keep it and run it, then I looked across the back of the end zone. I see Wes Murphy run across the back of the end zone wide open."
McFadden added an 18-yard scoring run in the third quarter, and Mustain made it 37-7 with another 12-yard scoring pass to Monk. Michael Smith added a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth.
The Razorbacks haven't lost since falling 50-14 to Southern California in their season opener. Arkansas' seven-game winning streak is its longest since starting 8-0 in 1998, Nutt's first season at the helm.
Nutt is 100-63 in 13½ seasons with Murray State, Boise State and the Razorbacks.
Mustain went 7-of-18 for 71 yards with two early interceptions, but the freshman improved to 7-0 as a starter. Casey Dick entered in the second quarter and split time with Mustain at quarterback.
"I think sometimes when a quarterback makes a couple mistakes, it's good to just kind of sit on the sideline and watch and kind of get a feel for things -- but we're going to need both of them," Nutt said.
The Warhawks lost their seventh straight and were held without a rushing touchdown for the first time in 17 games, although Dawson ran for a career-high 128 yards. Lancaster went 14-of-25 for 147 yards with five interceptions -- three by the Razorbacks' Michael Grant.
The teams combined for nine turnovers -- six by the Warhawks.
"When you give them that many gifts you're going to get your tail kicked," Louisiana-Monroe coach Charlie Weatherbie said. "I'd love to play them again without turning it over."
Louisiana-Monroe was considered the home team and counted the attendance of 55,420 toward its average, but the crowd was predominantly pro-Arkansas. The Razorbacks are 20-1 at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium under Nutt.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Mitch Mustain found Marcus Monk on a 12-yard touchdown pass to put the Razorbacks up for good.
Gameball goes to... Darren McFadden. The Arkansas running back ran for 129 yards and a score on 18 carries. McFadden also tossed a touchdown pass.
Stat of the game... 100. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt recorded his 100th coaching win. The Razorbacks also had two 100-yard rushers for the third time in four games.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-10||2-10|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-2|
|TD||11:42||Ul Monroe pass complete for a touchdown. Cole Wilson extra point GOOD.|
Drive info: 5 plays, 80 yds in 3:18
|TD||7:41||Arkansas rush for a touchdown.|
Drive info: 2 plays, 10 yds in 0:43
|TD||13:12||Arkansas pass complete for a touchdown. Jeremy Davis extra point GOOD.|
Drive info: 3 plays, 14 yds in 1:05
|S||4:14||Ul Monroe rush for a safety.||16||7|
|TD||2:24||Arkansas pass complete for a touchdown. Jeremy Davis extra point GOOD.|
Drive info: 5 plays, 57 yds in 1:38
|TD||10:29||Arkansas rush for a touchdown.|
Drive info: 9 plays, 65 yds in 4:24
|TD||7:20||Arkansas pass complete for a touchdown. Jeremy Davis extra point GOOD.|
Drive info: 2 plays, 70 yds in 0:43
|TD||8:08||Arkansas rush for a touchdown. Jeremy Davis extra point GOOD.|
Drive info: 4 plays, 30 yds in 1:41
|FG||2:27||Ul Monroe 30 yard field goal GOOD.|
Drive info: 11 plays, 68 yds in 5:36