Arkansas Report Card From Mississippi State
Dick also threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted, leading to a Mississippi State touchdown. But his 35-yard touchdown strike to Marcus Monk on a trick play toward the end of third quarter practically sealed the win. Running Backs — B- It was difficult for sophomores Darren McFadden and Felix Jones to find any running room because of poor blocking upfront. Still, they combined for only 122 yards on 36 carries, and neither of them scored on a rushing touchdown. McFadden averaged just 3.2 yards per carry, 2.6 yards below his season average. Wide Receivers — B+ A second wide receiver finally emerged for the Razorbacks. Former Springdale High star Damian Williams caught two passes for 37 yards, and his great touchdown catch toward the end of the first half gave Arkansas some much-needed momentum going into halftime. Monk was reliable as usual with four catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. Offensive Line — C The offensive line is usually one of the more reliable areas for the Razorbacks, but not having offensive guard Stephen Parker for most of the game because of a knee injury hurt. Parker tried to play, but he couldn't do enough. The front line didn't give McFadden too many holes to run through, and Dick faced too much pressure. Defensive Line — B- Defensive end Jamaal Anderson pressured Mississippi State quarterback Michael Henig on the first play of the game, but there wasn't enough of that from the defensive line. The Razorbacks didn't record a single sack, and they allowed running back Anthony Dixon to break off a 65-yard touchdown run toward the end of the first quarter. Linebackers — B+ Middle linebacker Weston Dacus and weakside linebacker Sam Olajubutu stepped up after Matt Hewitt went down early with a knee injury. Dacus, in particular, had several big hits. The junior had six tackles, 2.5 for losses. Olajubutu added another eight tackles to help ease the loss of Hewitt. Secondary — B+ If it weren't for several costly penalties by cornerback Matterral Richardson, the secondary would have received an "A." Fellow cornerback Chris Houston had a huge day in spite of the fact that he gave up a 22-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. The junior returned his first career interception for a touchdown, and he had a second pick later in the game. He would have had a third interception, but it was called back because of a Richardson penalty. Special Teams — B+ This was another area that would have gotten a higher grade if it weren't for a few mistakes. McFadden returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown, punter Jacob Skinner pinned the Bulldogs deep in their own territory and punt returner Reggie Fish showed the type of elusiveness that coaches had hoped to see from him. But kicker Jeremy Davis missed one field goal and had another attempt blocked. Brian Vavra also had to make a saving tackle to prevent a kickoff return for a touchdown. Coaching — B Arkansas coach Houston Nutt decided to go for it on fourth-and-two instead of attempting the field goal midway through the first quarter. McFadden was stopped short. But offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn used enough trickery in the second half to help make up for it, and defensive coordinator Reggie Herring had a plan to stop the Bulldogs.
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