McFadden rushes for SEC-record 323 yards as Arkansas rolls
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Welcome back to the Heisman Trophy race, Darren McFadden.
In what might have been his final game in Fayetteville, McFadden ran for an SEC-record 323 yards Saturday night, helping Arkansas to a 48-36 win over No. 23 South Carolina.
"Darren McFadden gave it his all. He is like another Barry Sanders," said Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt, who was on the staff at Oklahoma State when Sanders on the Heisman in 1988. "The bigger the game, the better (McFadden) plays, and that is why he deserves the Heisman."
McFadden ran for a touchdown and also threw for one, and Felix Jones rushed for 163 yards and three TDs for the Razorbacks. Arkansas led 21-3 after the first quarter, and although the Gamecocks rallied in the second half, they never could stop the Hogs' running game. Arkansas rushed for 541 yards on the night.
"Obviously it was a mismatch tonight," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "Looked like a Division III team trying to play an SEC team. Or maybe a Division III team could have slowed them down a little bit better than we could."
McFadden broke the Southeastern Conference record of 321 yards set by Vanderbilt's Frank Mordica in 1978. His previous career high was a 219-yard effort against South Carolina last year. McFadden has rushed for 729 yards in three career games against the Gamecocks.
McFadden was the Heisman runner-up last year, but his stock dropped because of an unspectacular October.
"They took him out of the race. I bet they'll open their eyes now," Arkansas offensive lineman Robert Felton said. "You just don't see things like that."
McFadden, a junior, could decide to go pro after this season. If so, this will end up being his last game in Fayetteville. Arkansas (6-3, 2-3 SEC) has one more home game, but it's in Little Rock.
As Arkansas ran out the clock, McFadden stood in the field waving his arms, urging the home fans to cheer more. They obliged.
"I took this game to heart, and gave it my all," McFadden said. "I felt that by the fourth quarter we were able to get our game together and finish it to the best of our capabilities."
The Gamecocks tried two onside kicks in the third quarter and recovered one, and after a bad snap gave them a safety early in the fourth quarter, they appeared to have some momentum. South Carolina's Cory Boyd ran for a 1-yard touchdown to make it 42-36 with 8:15 to play.
McFadden answered 11 seconds later with an 80-yard touchdown run. He and Jones both surpassed 1,000 yards on the season during the game. McFadden joined Georgia's Herschel Walker as the only SEC players to run for 1,000 as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
"Did anybody else get to run for them?" Spurrier asked while discussing McFadden and Jones. "You guys -- accuse Houston of running up the score on the ground."
Blake Mitchell threw for 364 yards and two touchdowns for South Carolina (6-4, 3-4).
On a night Arkansas named its field after outgoing athletic director Frank Broyles, the Razorbacks earned their most impressive win of the season. Jones was the star early on, rushing for touchdowns of 40 and 72 yards in the first quarter.
Mitchell scored on a 1-yard sneak in the second quarter, but Jones returned the ensuing kickoff to the Arkansas 49. The Razorbacks then scored on a reverse pass. McFadden lined up at quarterback, with quarterback Casey Dick at wide receiver. Jones took a handoff and pitched to Dick, who threw deep to Lucas Miller for a 35-yard touchdown to make it 28-10.
South Carolina opened the second half with a field goal, then caught Arkansas completely off guard with an onside kick that the Gamecocks easily recovered. Mitchell then found Jared Cook for a 21-yard touchdown, but Arkansas answered with another trick play.
With the ball at the South Carolina 23, McFadden dropped a pitchout, then picked up the ball and threw to the end zone for Robert Johnson, who wasn't open. Johnson outjumped defensive back Carlos Thomas and came down with the ball for a touchdown.
Mitchell's 22-yard touchdown pass to Dion Lecorn made it 35-27, and South Carolina followed that with another onside kick attempt, which went out of bounds. Arkansas quickly drove for Jones' third touchdown of the game, a 7-yard run.
"That was the most perfect game we have had this season," Nutt said. "The fans were filled with excitement, and it gave our guys the benefit of giving it all on that field."
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