Hogs Revisit Aftermath Of Nightmare Loss

FAYETTEVILLE --  Misery, the kind only Kathy Bates can deliver, still followed Arkansas coach Houston Nutt when he got back home Sunday.

A 70-17 beating administered by two-time defending national champion and No. 1 Southern California late Saturday night can have that effect.

"We've got to somehow bury that one and you gotta go," Nutt said. "Got a long season ahead and go jump right back into the SEC (Southeastern Conference).

"We've got a tough Alabama (Saturday, 11:30 a.m. in Tuscaloosa, Ala.) that's got a lot of confidence now."

Tired, worn out and with eyes at half-staff -- the team arrived on campus at 7 a.m. Sunday -- Nutt really made no alibis for such a lopsided loss.

"It's probably the toughest (loss) I've had ever since I've been here," Nutt said. "The toughest. They are the best I've seen, best I've ever coached against. On film it's one thing ... but ... uh ... it's another thing to see them in person."

It was the most points Arkansas has surrendered since a 103-0 loss against Oklahoma in 1918.

"It's easy to get negative right now," Nutt said. "It's easy to ... the world says every thing is getting worse, getting bad and ... uh ... I don't believe that. I really don't."

Nutt does believe Southern California is hands-down the best team in America.

"Boy, they're tough," Nutt said. "You can't gang up on one position. You gang up on the running back and they beat you with receptions. You play two deep and cover three ... here comes (USC running back and Heisman candidate) Reggie Bush and boy he doesn't need much of a crease.

"It just got out of hand early."

USC scored on four of its first eight plays to build a 28-7 lead in the first quarter.

In a nutshell, here's how it happened:

• USC went 94 yards in only 3 plays and only 38 seconds for its first score. Bush finished off the drive with a 76-yard touchdown run.

• On its next offensive play, Southern Cal used a 29-yard scoring pass from quarterback Matt Leinart (the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner) and used up only 13 seconds on the clock.

• On their third touchdown, the Trojans went 68 yards in only 2 plays, capped by a 24-yard TD pass from Leinart to Dwayne Jarrett. That short drive took all of 26 seconds.

• On its fourth touchdown of the quarter, Leinart ran it in from 17 yards out to finish off a 70-yard drive in only two plays, in only 15 seconds.

In the first quarter alone, USC had racked up 246 yards of total offense. The Trojans finished with 736 total yards.

Bush finished with 125 yards on an economic 8 carries. Leinhart was 18 of 24 for 381 yards passing and 4 touchdowns.

"(USC) was good team, but we made them look a lot better than they were because we just didn't execute," said linebacker Sam Olajubutu. "They had a lot of weapons, but we just felt like we weren't doing what we were suppose to do. We weren't covering our guy on every play and got beat deep a few times.

"We beat ourselves, really.

"They've got a good offense and they're up there with the best offenses we've played. But I don't think they're any better than any of those teams (like Florida last year or Georgia in the SEC Championship).

"We just didn't execute.

"It doesn't matter who we play, we just can't beat ourselves. If we play like we did tonight, anybody can put up 70 on us."

Nutt defended first-year defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, who came here from North Carolina State which had the top-rated defense in the country last year.

"I knew it was going to be harder," Nutt said. "Some of the depth at different postions. The transformation.

"You've moving people around who've never played that postition. So, it was going to be a much harder task, which I knew."

Offensively, Arkansas played more than respectable but was crippled when starting quarterback Robert Johnson -- he was 8 of 16 for 91 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception -- couldn't return for the second half after suffering a back injury.

Nutt said Johnson should be able to practice this week.

Freshmen tailbacks Darren McFadden and Felix Jones led the Hogs in rushing with 88 and 66 yards, respectively.

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