Flea-Flicker Comes In Perfect Spot

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Gus Malzahn grinned like the cat that ate the canary.

Arkansas' offensive coordinator said the 35-yard flea-flicker play that went for an insurance touchdown in the Hogs' 28-14 win over Mississippi State nearly came out a week earlier against Tennessee.

"I'm glad we waited," Malzahn said. "We've been practicing that for three weeks, and we finally got the perfect place to use it -- 35-yard line, on the hash mark, on second-and-8."

On the play, which Malzahn brought from his high school coaching days, Darren McFadden took a direct snap and handed off to Felix Jones, who pitched to a reversing Casey Dick, who passed 35 yards to Marcus Monk for the touchdown and a 28-14 lead with 2:13 left in the third period.

"They had been rolling their safeties on the speed sweep, and Marcus was slipping out the back door," Malzahn said. "We were in the right spot for the play."

Hogs coach Houston Nutt said, "Gus said, 'Right now?' and I said, 'Call it right now.' I was a little scared of their corners coming off the edge and blowing up the play for a turnover, but Felix pitched the ball like it had Charmin tissue on it, and Casey had 1.9 seconds to get rid of the ball. Monk was covered more than I thought he would be. But it worked out great."

Malzahn called it "a perfect execution."

Dick, who lined up at receiver on the play, said, "They took me out of the (quaterback role on that play) this week, so Felix could stay in and block. He made a great play."

Jones said, "We practiced that play many a time -- about every other day. I was just trying to make the best pitch I could."

McFadden joked, "All I had to do was get the ball to Felix."

Monk said, "I knew their safeties would bite down. Casey threw a perfect ball. All I had to do was run up under it."


Monk's touchdown reception was his 22nd at Arkansas -- one away from the career record by Anthony Lucas. Monk caught four passes for 80 yards, extending to 33 games his streak of having caught at least one pass in every game of his career.


Reggie Fish, again filling in as Arkansas' punt returner in the absence of injured Peyton Hillis, made two returns for 34 yards, including a career-long 26-yarder.

"It was definitely a good day for me," said the 5-foot-7, 156-pound Fish, a sophomore. "I got excellent blocking from my teammates. They believed in me."


Arkansas junior linebacker Matt Hewitt suffered a sprained knee against Mississippi State. UA trainer Dean Weber said more would be known about the injury in a day or two.

Weber also said the Hogs had been hit by a flu bug this week. Offensive tackle Nate Garner did not make the trip because of it, and three players -- Darius Vinnett, Matterral Richardson and Wes Murphy -- had stomach flu during the game. Zac Tubbs was affected earlier in the week, and Shedrick Johnson fell ill Friday night.

Offensive guard Stephen Parker (bruised knee) played two series in the second half, and should be available against LSU. Fullback Farod Jackson (ankle) also played some.

Bulldogs quarterback Michael Henig injured his left shoulder during the second half and did not play again. He got treatment in the locker room and returned to the field wearing a sling, with :41 left.


Arkansas won the coin toss for the 10th time in 11 games. Mississippi State lost the toss for the ninth time in 11 games ...

MSU's 154 yards rushing approached its best total of the year -- 166 against Alabama-Birmingham ...

Arkansas' 10-game winning streak is tied for the fifth-longest in school history ...

McFadden has 1,303 yards rushing this season -- third-highest in school history. Madre Hill's single-season record is 1,387, set in 1995 ...

Arkansas' Wildcat formation netted 77 yards on 10 plays Saturday, lowering the average this season a bit to 8.78 in that formation.

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