McFadden honored that defenses focusing on him

Plans to stop run don't seem to slow Arkansas

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In your typical SEC football week, Saturday's game is wrapped up by Sunday afternoon. But there was nothing typical about Arkansas' performance Saturday night.

And it was still making news Monday.

Arkansas running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones were credited with an NCAA record for the most single-game rushing yardage by two teammates in the 48-36 victory over South Carolina.

They combined for 487 yards rushing, including an SEC-record-tying 321 yards by McFadden. Jones had 166 yards on only 13 carries.

McFadden, who was the Heisman Trophy runner-up last season, knows the record-setting performance will just make him a bigger target for Tennessee's defense Saturday afternoon at Neyland Stadium. But he's accustomed to being a target.

"I take a lot of pride in that," McFadden said during Arkansas' Monday teleconference. "The defense puts eight or nine in the box. They know what's coming and we still try to run it right at them."

McFadden and Jones gained much of their yardage from the "wild hog" formation, which puts McFadden at quarterback in the shotgun formation.

"It's pretty hard to stop the wild hog," Jones said. "Defenses try to make different adjustments. But we were ready to play from the get-go (against South Carolina).

"That game was the most fun I've had. It was like everything was clicking."

The Razorbacks have been clicking most of the season offensively. They rank second nationally in rushing with a 315.9-yard per game average and lead the SEC in total offense.

Auburn is the only team to stifle their offense. The Tigers held Arkansas to 67 yards rushing in a 9-7 victory last month.

"They had more people in the box than we could count," Jones said. "That's pretty much what it was. They had more people on the line."

It was as much about quality as quantity. Auburn's defensive front is probably second only to LSU's in the SEC.

Also, Arkansas' offense wasn't exactly in tiptop shape for that game. Star wide receiver Marcus Monk was out with a knee injury, and McFadden was playing with injured ribs.

The 6-foot-6 Monk still isn't at full speed but he has had two catches and a touchdown in each of the last two games. He missed most of the season with a knee injury, then had to come out of the South Carolina game with a strained calf muscle.

"We look for him to be pretty much close to full speed (for UT)," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "He's been so much of an asset."

The Razorbacks have other offensive assets as well.

Senior guard Mitch Petrus, a former walk-on, was named SEC offensive lineman of the week for his performance against South Carolina. He had 10 knockdown blocks.

Another Arkansas blocker provided a highlight against the Gamecocks. Fullback Peyton Hillis wiped out South Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn on Jones' 72-yard run in the first quarter.

"I saw his (Munnerlyn's) arms fly out," Jones said. "His eyes got back deep.

"Peyton has had some big blocks that sprang me and Darren. We want to thank him for everything he's done."

Hillis, a 6-2, 240-pound senior, does more than block. He leads Arkansas in receiving with 34 catches for 387 yards and has averaged 5.1 yards rushing on 34 carries.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knews.com

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Comments » 1

Orange4life writes:

I think we got something for him, just keep him in check and make Dick beat us. This team hasn't lost at home and I look to the fans to carry them on to another victory! I love a little roast pig!

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