While the University of Arkansas has not yet proved it is one of the better teams in the SEC this season, there's no doubt it is still the best in Arkansas.
Just ask the University of Louisiana-Monroe, who beat Arkansas State 31-28 last week but came to War Memorial Stadium and got blitzed on Saturday night.
Darren McFadden rushed 11 times for a career-high 125 yards and a pair of touchdown while fellow true freshman tailback Felix Jones added 102 yards and a score of his own as the Razorbacks hammered the Indians 44-15 before a crowd of 54,209 fans.
"Coming into this game, we knew that it was going to be a change of season," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. "It was an important game and I am really proud of our team.I want everybody back for the next game. We need to get healthy. Our team knows what is at stake."
That is a chance to continue turning around the season with a win next Saturday against visiting Auburn, who has lost just one game in the past two seasons.
They hope to have injured starting center Kyle Roper and starting wideout Cedric Washington - neither who played on Saturday - back for Auburn.
"A win over Louisiana-Monroe and makes us happy and more confident,' senior wideout Dedrick Poole said. "But I went over Auburn would be a season-turner. With these two freshman backs playing like they are, I like our chances."
It was the first time in Razorback history that two freshman running backs have gone over 100 in the same game with McFadden getting over that mark before halftime.
"Our freshman backs are something special," Nutt said. "Their quickness is amazing."
Senior tailback De' Arrius Howard scored twice himself and redshirt freshman Cedric Logan caught the first touchdown of his career as Arkansas rolled up over 440 yards total offense - 321 of that via the ground.
"It was great to go out and have a lot of success as an offense and also fun to be a part of it," said Logan, who had two catches for 17 yards. "(UA receivers) Coach (James) Shibest has been on me all week hard and I just took it to heart and wanted to step up tonight."
The win was the first in five weeks for Arkansas (2-3), whose only other win came in its season-opening 49-20 victory of Division I-AA Missouri State.
The Razorbacks led just 16-8 late in the second quarter, a score that prompted former UA and current PGA golfer John Daly - currently leading this week's tour event - to call ARSN radio broadcast spotter Bob Carver wondering what was going on when he saw the score on TV.
But Arkansas then put Daly and the other UA fans minds at ease when McFadden raced 15 yards for a score before halftime and then scored on its first three possessions of the second half to take a 44-8 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
By that time, the Razorbacks knew they were finally going to get to sign the fight song to the crowd after a win for the first time in over a month.
"I probably should have had two or three more 100-yard games," McFadden said. "We practice hard and it's a happy feeling to sing that song after the game."
The last score made it six Arkansas touchdowns in as many possessions.
"When you can move it on the ground, you can do anything (offensively)," Jones said. "Our line really showed their heart. I'm planning on doing more than I did tonight. I want to show I can do it against and SEC team."
It was at that point that UA quarterback Robert Johnson exited after completing 12 of 17 passes for 119 yards, rushing 5 times for 11 yards and even catching a pass that was batted back to him.
Razorback redshirt freshman Alex Mortensen and true freshman Cole Barthel then finished off the night as the signal callers.
Arkansas got on the board first with 6:04 left in the first quarter on Chris Balserio's 42 yard field goal, his longest of the yea, his fifth successful one in six tries and a boot that put his team up 3-0.
Johnson was sacked in the end zone for a safety to cut it to 3-2 with 2:08 left in the game, but Weston Dacus' big hit forced a fumble that teammate John Johnson recovered.
McFadden took care of all that yardage as he hit a hole, made a cut and then outran people to the end zone for a 39-yard score. Balseiro's PAT made it 10-2 with 1:52 left in the opening quarter.
ULM made it 16-8 when Joey Trappey hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from holder Jesse Blair on a fake field goal with 4:05 remaining before halftime.
The Razorbacks then scored on Howard's 4-yard run and McFadden's 15-yard jaunt before the break for a 23-8 lead and then on Jones' 4 yard run, Logan's 5-yard scoring toss from Johnson and then Jones finding the end zone from 4 yards out.
McFadden's 64-yard kickoff return started the second half onslaught while true freshman Reggie Fish not only got in the wideout rotation, but carried once for 7 yards and also returned two punts for 21 yards.
It was the first Fish sighting since the win over Missouri State when he returned a few punts late.
"It was great to get a chance to get out there and play and make something happen," Fish said. "I haven't played that much since the first game and I worked hard in practice to make it happen and get some time."
Arkansas 44, Louisiana-Monroe 15
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