Out-coached, out-executed and outplayed.
Arkansas coaches and players made no attempt to hide the reasons they fell to Tennessee by a 34-13 count before 104,459 fans at Neyland-Stadium Saturday.
“A big part of our offense last year when we played them was the Wild Hog, and they were prepared for it,’’ said tailback Darren McFadden, referring to an Arkansas offensive formation where he plays quarterback.
McFadden, one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy and the No. 4 rusher on the SEC’s all-time rushing list, lined up in the Wild Hog on 11 occasions.
McFadden carried the ball out of the formation five times, gaining 4, 3, 20, 2 and 0 yards.
“They did a great job of tackling,’’ said McFadden, who had 117 yards on 22 carries. “I don’t think there were too many times I was missed.’’
Nor were there many times where the UT defense was caught out of position or fooled in the first half, according to Arkansas offensive coordinator David Lee, who came to the Razorbacks after four years on the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff.
“We make one first down the first half; we couldn’t move the football,’’ Lee said. “They had all our Wildcat, the RoJoes, the XMs and the locomotions (misdirection and motion plays) snuffed out. That’s why we got back I the base personnel in the second half.’’
Lee said it was clear the UT coaches had focused on the Wild Hog package in their preparations.
“They made it an emphasis that this was the base they had to stop this week,’’ Lee said. “That’s what I was thinking when I was up there (in the coaches box); I’m saying, `they are on to a lot of stuff we’re doing.’
“I was so hyped and geeked from the week before from using all the motions, I wanted to see if they (Tennessee) could stop it, and they did a good job.’’
Arkansas cranked out 650 yards on 69 plays in a 48-36 win over South Carolina last week compared to 289 yards on 65 plays against UT.
Lee credited the Vols for their emotional intensity and pride.
“There’s a reason they are undefeated here at home,’’ Lee said. “I played at Vanderbilt, so I’ve been here a lot of times, and they have a lot of pride and tradition in that stadium and they play well.
“I just don’t think we got ourselves deep down berserked up like they did.’’
Tennessee’s emotional onslaught threw the Razorbacks out of rhythm; Arkansas was whistled for 12 penalties for 61 yards.
“They did a good job of keeping us off balance,’’ Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt said. “It was a missed assignment here and a knocked down pass there.’’
Nutt also praised UT quarterback Erik Ainge, who came up with enough big plays despite a 12-of-25 passing effort that went for 128 yards.
“You’ve got to give it to Ainge for mixing up the snap count and throwing to receivers on critical third downs,’’ Nutt said. “(Defensively) they did a good job of turning everything inside. They were bound and determined to keep us off the edge.’’
The Vols’ job got easier when Arkansas’ tailback Felix Jones left the game in the second quarter with a deep thigh bruise and did not return to action. Jones entered the game with 1,029 yards rushing.
“When Felix goes out that hurts us a great deal,’’ Nutt said. “It hurts a couple of formations and takes a toll on a couple of things we do because he’s so valuable.’’
The Razorbacks’ 127 yards rushing Saturday represented their second-lowest total over the past two seasons (24 games). Auburn held Arkansas to 67 yards earlier this season when McFadden was playing with sore ribs.
Riblets: The Razorbacks are 2-12 all-time against UT, 1-6 at Neyland Stadium. … It was McFadden’s 20th career 100-yard rushing game. … Arkansas has scored 383 points this season, which is seventh-best in school history.