New season, same Dynamic Duo.
Darren McFadden and Felix Jones both were well over the 100-yard rushing mark and the University of Arkansas rolled up over 507 yards total offense while whipping Troy 46-26 in its season opener Saturday night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
McFadden (24 carries, 151 yards) and Jones (12 carries, 129 yards) both ran for a touchdown each, Jones took a 90-yard kickoff to the house and McFadden threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to freshman wideout Crosby Tuck.
True freshmen kicker Alex Tejada also shined with a perfect 4-of-4 night on field goal attempts – 35, 28, 23 and 30 – and true on 4-of-5 PATs.
"I thought Alex was outstanding tonight," head coach Houston Nutt said. "He was kicking with ice water in his veins and acted like a senior tonight. I have never had confidence like that in a kicker since I have been here."
Nutt said he liked other aspects, but saw some rusty spots, too.
"Overall, I was proud of the effort and it's good to be 1-0," he said. "I thought the defense made some good overall adjustments at halftime and played better in the second half. The defense consistently was able to give us good field position. We are going to have to work on our punt return and kickoff teams and clean them up."
It was the first time that a UA field goal kicker had made four field goals since the 2003 Independence Bowl win over Missouri.
Arkansas rushed for 350 yards and passed for 157 with Casey Dick going 11-for-20 for 107 yards in the night with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
Tejada got Arkansas on the board early with a 35-yard field goal at the 12:55 mark, a score which came Jones ripped off 40 yards on the game's first play, McFadden went 12, but then the offense stalled.
The young freshmen from Springdale then made it 6-0 on the Razorbacks' next offensive series when he booted a 23-yarder straight through the uprights with 5:44 showing in the first quarter.
Arkansas finally put the ball in the end zone on the first play of the second quarter when McFadden capped a 7-play, 67-yard drive with a 12-yard scoring dash.
Tejada's PAT surged the Razorbacks ahead 13-0 with 14:54 left before halftime.
Troy senior quarterback Omar Haugabook, the Sun Belt Player of the Year last season, revved his team up soon afterward.
Haugabook, who was 15-of-42 passing for 204 yards before leaving with an injury, drove his team 69 yards with tailback Kenny Cattouse scoring from 1-yard out.
Greg Whibbs' PAT cut it to 13-7 with 11:40 remaining in the second quarter, but it took Jones just 15 seconds to change that.
He caught the ensuing kickoff at the 10, got blocks from McFadden and several others and outraced everyone else to the end zone.
Tejada's PAT made it 20-7, but Haugabook would hit Gerald Tate with a 17-yard touchdown pass as Troy climbed back within 20-14 with 8:57 left before intermission.
Each team added a field goal before the half with Tejada good from 28 with 44 seconds left and Whibbs hitting from 42 on the last play of the half to leave Arkansas up 23-17 at the break.
The Razorbacks pushed that lead to 37-17 with a pair of scores on their second and third possessions of the third quarter.
Jones raced in from 47 yards out and then McFadden took the snap in the Wlid Hog – formerly known as the Wild Cat – and hit an open Tuck who then dashed the final 15 or so yards.
It was the longest completion of McFadden's career – he is now 8 of 11 – and the first catch and thus score of Tuck's.
Whibbs' field goal cut it back to 17, but Tejada booted a 30-yarder and then tailback Michael Smith closed out the scoring with a 1-yard run.
Tejada's PAT was no good leaving it 46-20.
Troy scored on the game's final play – one that occurred after time was out but a holding penalty was called in the end zone.
Tanner Jones did the honor with a 3-yard run, but no PAT was attempted because it is not allowed when a team is down more than 10 points.
Arkansas takes next week off before traveling to face Alabama on Sept. 15 in Tuscaloosa.
Nutt said quarterback Casey Dick "did okay tonight. If the screen pass to Darren would have worked out, it would have been six or at least gone for a big play. Casey also had some people drop some balls which did not help him out."
McFadden said, "It felt good to hit Crosby for his first career reception and a touchdown, and I'm glad to be a part of a victory. There are still a lot of things we need to do in order to get better as a team and we definitely have to be ready going into Tuscaloosa.
"The heat got to me tonight. I cramped up on multiple times. But no big deal. I feel great.
"I feel as though I played a good game tonight, but there are better performances to come."
Asked about his numbers and the chase for the Heisman, McFadden said, "I don't think about that stuff. I didn't see any highlights of anyone else. That's not what I'm thinking about. I just want to win games."
Nutt added, "Our kick return game was good. I thought the touchdown by Felix was the biggest play of the game. We got a nice wedge and he took it all the way. With the new kickoff rules, the opposing team is going to have a big choice on where they are going to kick it."
Peyton Hillis churns for yardage against Troy.
Michael Smith raced 48 yards to the Troy 3-yard line.
Antwain Robinson rushes the quarterback.
Crosby Tuck (84) is congratulated by Andrew Davie after scoring a touchdown on his first career reception.
Darren McFadden breaks loose against Troy.
Photos by Marc F. Henning, Hawgs Illustrated
Arkansas 46, Troy 26
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