McFadden, Jones run wild as Arkansas stuns AuburnOct 7, 2006 - 7:35 PM AUBURN, Alabama (Ticker) -- An extra five days' rest was enough to help Darren McFadden and Felix Jones prove Tommy Tuberville's point.
McFadden and Jones each ran for more than 100 yards and a touchdown as Arkansas posted an impressive 27-10 victory over second-ranked Auburn in a Southeastern Conference showdown.
The Razorbacks (4-1, 3-0 SEC West) had not played since September 23, when it edged Alabama in double overtime, 24-23. Arkansas did not need the extra session Saturday thanks to a dominant ground game led by McFadden and Jones.
Auburn coach Tuberville made headlines earlier this week as he once again called for a playoff to determine the national champion in college football. Tuberville cited a playoff as the SEC's only chance to have a national champion due to the depth and strength of the conference.
"We started the week off by making our guys fully understand that this was the most important game that we could probably play all year," Tuberville said. "It was a game against the only other undefeated team (in the SEC West)."
His plea proved prophetic as the Razorbacks came into Jordan-Hare Stadium and controlled things from the outset, taking a 10-0 advantage in the first quarter and leading thereafter.
"These players and the coaching staff, they laid it on the line," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "I thought our offensive and defensive lines were the key, they controlled the line of scrimmage."
McFadden finished with 145 yards on 28 carries. His 63-yard scamper in the second quarter gave Arkansas a 17-7 lead and was the first rushing touchdown allowed by the Tigers this season.
"We knew that in order to win the game we would have to be able to run the ball and score touchdowns off the run," McFadden said. "If we couldn't do that, we wouldn't have been able to win the game."
Jones added 104 yards on 13 carries and a one-yard scoring run in the third quarter for Arkansas, which now is the only team in the SEC West without a conference loss.
"I don't know if we're a good football team, but for two hours and 40 minutes today we were a good football team," Nutt said. "To go on the road and win a game like this against a team the caliber of Auburn, it's huge."
The loss is just the second in 22 SEC contests for Auburn (5-1, 3-1 West), which had won its first three league games for the fourth year in a row.
The Tigers - who had not played since September 28 - were outgained, 366-213, and never could stop the Razorback rushing attack. Arkansas ran 36 plays in the second half, 34 of which were runs.
With McFadden and Jones carrying the load for Arkansas, true freshman quarterback Mitch Mustain was not called on to do much but still made an impact. Mustain completed 7-of-10 passes for 87 yards, including a 50-yard TD pass to Marcus Monk late in the first quarter that gave the Razorbacks a 10-0 lead.
"The faster you start a game the easier it comes," Mustain said. "We did a pretty good job early and it's the first time we have played a complete game."
Auburn closed within 10-7 on a 24-yard TD pass from Brandon Cox to Rodgeriques Smith on the first play of the second quarter. John Vaughn kicked a 36-yard field goal with 1:50 remaining in the first half for the Tigers.
"We couldn't find a rhythm and we couldn't put drives together," Cox said. "We were moving the ball well at times, but after every big play we took a penalty or a sack."
Cox completed 17-of-29 passes for 153 yards but was sacked five times. Kenny Irons rushed for 75 yards on 15 carries but the Tigers ran for only 60 yards as a team.
"They lined up and came off the ball and beat us to the punch on both sides of the line of scrimmage," Tuberville said. "We are disappointed but this is not over. We know we have a lot of football left and this was the first half of the season. We are not that bad of a football team."
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