Takin' Care Of Business

FAYETTEVILLE -- As Arkansas' players lounged around the team hotel on Saturday afternoon, waiting for kickoff, they caught a glimpse of what not to do.

Fullback Peyton Hillis watched with his teammates as No. 5 Michigan suffered the first major upset of the college football season, getting shocked by Division I-AA's Appalachian State.

The No. 21 Razorbacks wanted to avoid falling into that same trap.

The Michigan loss served as another reminder of what can happen when a big-time school takes a lesser-known opponent lightly.

And after letting Troy University hang around for the first half of Saturday night's season opener, Arkansas made sure to take care of business by pulling away for a 46-26 win in front of 73,926 in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"Everybody knows now it's not about talent. It's only about the team that shows up to play," Hillis said. "Today Appalachian State came to show up against Michigan, and we weren't going to let that happen to us tonight."

At one point, it looked like Arkansas (1-0) was going to have trouble with Troy, which has earned a reputation for giving big-time schools problems.

Troy quarterback Omar Haugabook dismantled Arkansas' secondary in the first half, and the Trojans (0-1) went into halftime trailing only 23-17.

But the Razorbacks avoided the same fate as Michigan, using an offensive explosion in the third quarter and an improved effort from the defense to pull away down the stretch.

"Everybody was thinking in our heads, 'Well, we can't have a small school come in our house and give us a game and give us a run for our money,'" Arkansas strong safety Matt Hewitt said.

Before kickoff, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt didn't say anything to his players about how tiny Appalachian State had gone into the Big House and knocked off the Wolverines 34-32.

But Nutt made it a point to bring it up after Arkansas scored 23 second-half points to silence any talk of Troy possibly pulling off the second major upset of the opening weekend.

"It just sent a real signal," Nutt said of the Michigan loss. "It put a lot of emphasis on, 'Hey, let's take care of business. You can't flop around.'"

Arkansas' offense struggled to find a rhythm and move the football in the first half. As a result, the Razorbacks went into halftime leading only 23-17.

But they got into a groove after the coaches gave what several players said was a cool and calm speech at halftime.

Running back Felix Jones broke off a 44-yard touchdown run at 6:48 in the third quarter, and fellow tailback Darren McFadden tossed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Crosby Tuck 1:16 later to extend Arkansas' lead to 37-17.

McFadden kicked off his Heisman Trophy campaign with 151 yards rushing and one touchdown, and Jones added 129 yards and one score.

"We had to shake some of the rust off," said Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick, who completed 11-of-20 passes for 108 yards.

"We came out in the second half, things started clicking for us (and) everybody kind of got into a groove."

Troy couldn't counter Arkansas' attack. The Razorbacks' secondary clamped down on Haugabook, not allowing the versatile quarterback any room to run or throw the football.

"It was a great job for the secondary because a lot of people talk about the secondary how it's a question for us," Hewitt said.

"We proved a lot of people wrong because Troy University is a great program, especially they've got a great run-and-shoot team."

In the days leading up to Saturday, Arkansas' coaches stressed to their players that Troy should not be overlooked. The message came across loud and clear.

Rather than leaving Fayetteville with a upset, the Trojans departed with simply a $425,000 check for giving the Razorbacks an early scare.

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