McFadden Fights For 108 Yards

FAYETTEVILLE — Yards didn't come easily for Arkansas freshman Darren McFadden in his third start during Saturday's 34-17 loss against No. 21 Auburn in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

McFadden surpassed the 100-yard mark for the second consecutive game with a 17-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. It was his last rushing attempt as the Hogs went to the passing game in a late rally attempt. He finished with 108 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.

"We had to fight for every yard we got. They didn't give us anything," McFadden said. "I probably needed about 200 yards for us to win this one."

It was only the second time Auburn has allowed an opposing tailback to rush for more than 100 yards since Georgia Tech's PJ Daniels gained 111 yards on 23 carries in the Tigers' season opener. They had allowed just three rushing touchdowns in five games.

"They rank right up there with the best defenses we've faced," McFadden said. "As far as speed, I think they were the fastest defense we've faced and every time we touched the ball, they were really coming after us hard."

When starting, McFadden has gained 318 yards on 33 rushing attempts. However, his 8.3 yards per carry Saturday was the lowest in his three starts.

McFadden was forced to shoulder most of the rushing load since senior tailback De'Arrius Howard did not play and freshman Felix Jones was limited to 20 yards on six carries.

"They were just getting to the outside faster than we were. That was pretty much it," Jones said. "Every time we ran wide, they were just out there before we were and we just couldn't get past them."

Singled Out

Tigers quarterback Brandon Cox apparently liked the matchup of receiver Devin Aromashodu against Hogs cornerback Michael Coe in man coverage.

Aromashodu had three receptions for 40 yards in the first quarter and four catches for 62 yards by halftime. For the game, Aromashodu caught 6 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.

"I didn't feel like they were (picking on me) too much," Coe said. "They pretty much just stuck to their game plan of getting (Aromashodu) the ball. I've just got to hug up to him a little quicker to get that covered better."

Michael Grant was covering Aromashodu on a 17-yard touchdown reception. Grant got beat when the senior ran a double move, a post corner in the back of the end zone.

Comic Relief

Referee Rocky D. Goode drew a laugh from the crowd of 71,673 after his comments at the end of a penalty-plagued Arkansas kickoff return.

Two penalties — a block in the back by Weston Dacus and holding on John Johnson — were called on the return. Auburn accepted the block in the back penalty for a 10-yard loss from the spot of the foul back to the Arkansas 10.

After signaling the initial penalty, Goode made a unique statement from an official when he said: "Obviously, the one that hurt the most was accepted."

Injury Report

After a week filled with several injuries, Arkansas fielded a relatively healthy lineup at the start of the game. Only two injuries were reported afterwards. They were Coe and defensive end Zach Snider, who both suffered sprained shoulders.

Senior center Kyle Roper (knee) started which gave Jonathan Luigs the start at right guard. Tight end Jared Hicks (ankle) came in on the offense's third play. Tight end Wes Murphy (groin) dressed, but did not play.

Brian Vavra (hip) handled the opening kickoff. He appeared to be weary after making a tackle on his second kickoff, but returned after spending time loosening up on a stationery bike.

Cornerback John Johnson (bruised sternum) saw action on special teams and on defense when the Hogs were in its dime package.

Lester Sidelined

Auburn freshman tailback Brad Lester didn't last long in his first start. After being sandwiched between Hogs linebacker Sam Olajubutu and cornerback Matterral Richardson at the end of a 4-yard gain, he was helped off the field by trainers with a strained groin injury.

It didn't slow the Tigers' running game much as junior Kenny Irons, who started three of the first five games, averaged 5.6 yards on 10 carries in the first half. Lester had averaged 4.6 yards on his seven attempts.

Irons finished with 182 yards on 33 carries. It was the most yards given up by the Razorbacks and the third straight game an opponent has gained more than 100 yards.

First Strike

Auburn had not allowed any points in the first quarter since a 23-14 loss against Georgia Tech in its season opener. But Arkansas capitalized on Coe's interception of a screen pass with a Chris Balseiro 19-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 9:26 remaining in the opening quarter.

It was Coe's third interception which leads the Southeastern Conference.

Celebrating Christmas

In response to Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring's comments earlier in the week about Auburn having a "Merry Christmas schedule" thus far, a Tigers' staff member was heard yelling "Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas everybody!" as he exited the field after the game.

Hit Of The Day

Arkansas senior Vickiel Vaughn, making his first start at free safety since last season, laid out Auburn's Ben Obomanu like wholesale carpet after a 13-yard gain on a reverse. All three replays on the Smartvision drew a loud "Oooh!" from the crowd.

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