FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Arkansas had just wrapped up a
surprisingly easy win over Tennessee, and the Razorbacks' fans
"BCS! BCS! BCS!"
With only one loss, the Hogs of Arkansas find themselves right in the thick of the BCS title race. Fans in Fayetteville -- you might wanna start that thank-you note to Darren McFadden and the Razorback running game. Over the last 6 contests -- all Arkansas wins -- the Hogs have outgained their opponents on the ground by mind-bending margins. Check it out, the numbers don't lie:
Rush Yds Margin
SE Mo. St.
The Razorbacks are making it hard to argue with them.
On a day several other top teams struggled, No. 11 Arkansas had
no trouble with No. 13 Tennessee. Darren McFadden ran for 181 yards
and two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass in a convincing 31-14
victory Saturday night.
"It's in the back of our minds," offensive lineman Zac Tubbs
said of the Razorbacks' place in the Bowl Championship Series
picture. "But one thing this year -- everybody's had such great
focus just taking it week by week, game by game. If it works out
that way, that's going to be great -- it looks like that right now.
We just need to keep playing and beat Mississippi State next
The Razorbacks (9-1, 6-0) can clinch a spot in the Southeastern
Conference title game by beating the Bulldogs. Arkansas has won
nine straight since a season-opening loss to Southern California --
its longest streak since 1988.
Suddenly, a spot in the national championship game for Arkansas
doesn't sound far fetched. This week was a major chance for the
Razorbacks to prove themselves against a ranked opponent, and the
game drew a stadium-record 76,728.
"When they talk about the one-loss teams, we don't get
mentioned too much," McFadden said. "I just feel like we proved
McFadden, the dynamic sophomore, is being touted by Razorbacks
fans as a Heisman Trophy candidate. He played tailback, quarterback
and even a little wide receiver against Tennessee, and the
Volunteers (7-3, 3-3) were never able to stop him.
Arkansas took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Casey Dick
lofted a pass to the corner of the end zone and Marcus Monk ran
under it for a 10-yard touchdown.
McFadden took over from there. The Razorbacks have used their
star at quarterback lately -- out of the shotgun, he either hands
off, keeps the ball himself or even passes. He ran for a 17-yard
touchdown out of that formation early in the second quarter, then
threw to Monk for a 12-yard score to make it 21-7.
It was the second touchdown pass of the season for McFadden in
two attempts. He played some quarterback in high school.
"He's such a threat, and he's so quick," coach Houston Nutt
Nutt also credited the Razorbacks' offensive line. Arkansas
dominated the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense.
McFadden added a 5-yard scoring run late in the second quarter --
again after taking the snap himself -- and the Razorbacks led 28-7
"It's hard to simulate the speed of Number Five," Tennessee
coach Phillip Fulmer said, referring to McFadden's jersey number.
"He is the best back we have seen this year."
Redshirt freshman Jonathan Crompton started at quarterback for
Tennessee instead of Erik Ainge, who has had ankle problems.
Arkansas pressured Crompton throughout, and he finished 16-of-34
for 174 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception.
Dick went 10-of-15 for 154 yards for Arkansas. He replaced
freshman Mitch Mustain after one series last week at South Carolina
and played well enough to win the starting quarterback job.
Monk had eight catches for 137 yards, and Jamaal Anderson had
three sacks for the Razorbacks.
McFadden set a school record by surpassing 180 yards rushing for
fifth time in his career. His only big mistake was a fumble around
the Tennessee goal line in the third quarter.
Tennessee was knocked out of the SEC title picture last weekend.
Hours after losing to LSU, three Tennessee players were arrested
after police were called to break up a disturbance at a club. Two
of them -- fullback David Holbert and safety Antonio Wardlow -- were
suspended for this week's game. The other -- tailback Arian Foster --
was suspended for the first half.
Foster had one carry against the Razorbacks.
Arkansas' most recent eight-game winning streak had been an 8-0
start in 1998. That one was snapped when the Razorbacks wasted an
18-point lead in a loss at Tennessee. The Vols won the national
championship that season.
Arkansas had no trouble holding on this time, and the Razorbacks
figure to move up at least some in the rankings after Auburn,
California, Louisville and Texas lost this week.
"It's amazing how things work out sometimes," Nutt said. "The
only thing we can control right now is the next game -- Mississippi
State. We're going to enjoy this one tonight at least until
midnight and then get on to the next week.
"But you're right, a lot of things are happening."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Arkansas running back Darren McFadden threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Monk, putting the Razorbacks up 21-7.
Gameball goes to... McFadden. In addition to his TD pass, McFadden ran for 181 yards and two scores on 31 carries.
Stat of the game... 5. McFadden set a school record by surpassing 180 yards rushing for fifth time in his career.