North Texas proved to be just what the doctor ordered for the reeling University of Arkansas football team.
The Razorbacks scored early and often Saturday night and Jerell Norton's school-record 100-yard interception finished it off as his team routed the not-so-Mean Green 66-7 before 66,343 fans at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
"It was a lot of fun," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. "I was so proud of our guys. We had great preparation this week. It was a very tough week after a very tough loss last week and I thought our guys prepared very well. I was really proud of them tonight."
Darren McFadden had 19 carries for 138 yards and Felix Jones 7 totes for 132 yards as the pair scored four touchdowns while playing just the first half as Arkansas jumped out to a 45-0 lead late in the second quarter.
McFadden grabbed a microphone and voiced his displeasure to the students about some of them wearing black in a campaign designed to show support to fire Nutt.
"Some of y'all have been wearing black," McFadden said. "When you get after the coach, that is like getting after the players and that ain't cool."
Nutt was told about it afterwards.
"They told me about that as I was coming off the field," Nutt said. "All I can say is wow. I appreciate it."
The Razorbacks – who score on their first five possessions and 8 of their first 10 - had 507 yards of total offense in the first half and finished with 713.
"Our defense deserves a lot of credit," Nutt said. "They had a lot of three and outs and gave us great field position. Our offense executed and Felix Jones was hot right off the bat with a great reverse that got us on the board early."
Arkansas junior quarterback Casey Dick had his best game of the season while completing 12 –of-21 passes for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns with no picks.
"It has really helped him a bunch having a night like this," Nutt said. "You can see it in his eyes. He had a good look in his eyes at Alabama, there were some things last week he knows he could have done better, but it was not all him. We have got to all help him every Saturday. I was just really proud of Casey's leadership, his game management and he threw the ball extremely well."
Those touchdown passes included a 61-yard bomb to London Crawford (2 catches, 70 yards) and the first career TD catches of both Robert Johnson (4 catches, 71 yards) and Lucas Miller.
"Peyton Hills, Darren McFadden, Casey Dick was outstanding," Nutt said. "Our receivers got better tonight - Robert Johnson made a big play. I was just proud of everybody."
Sophomore Brandon Barnett rushed 16 times for 105 yards and a score - all in the second half in his first offensive action of the season while Peyton Hillis also rushed 11 times for 66 yards in the win.
Norton intercepted a pass at the goal line with less than a minute left in the game and zig-zagged his way down the field with the help of some blockers to tie the school record with his 100-yard interception return.
"That was a great job of catching the ball and Jerell took that thing 102 yards," Nutt said. "I loved what his teammates did. His teammates did a great job of helping him, blocking legally. You always worry about a clip in that situation, but everybody was playing very smart."
The non-conference win broke a two game losing steak that had seen Arkansas lose back-to-back SEC games at Alabama and at home to Kentucky.
"These helps your family feel a lot better about itself," Nutt said of his team. "Our family was hurting this week."
The Razorbacks jumped out to a 7-0 lead on their first possession, albeit added by penalty for too many men on the field on its punt.
The 6-play, 69-yard drive culminated with Jones taking a reverse and scampering 35 yards to paydirt.
The first of many Alex Tejada PATs put Arkansas ahead 7-0 with less than two minutes gone in the game.
The loudest cheers of the night may have come on the Razorbacks' second possession.
That's when Dick hit London Crawford on a 61-yard bomb that coupled with Tejada's extra point made it 14-0 with 9:51 remaining in the open quarter.
Tejada drilled a 39-yard field goal on Arkansas' third possession and then the Razorbacks became 4-for-4 in the first quarter on McFadden's 2-yard touchdown run.
Tejada's PAT made it 24-0 with 2:30 still left in the first quarter.
Arkansas then scored three more touchdowns in the second quarter.
Those scores came on Dick's 37-yard pass to Robert Johnson (his first career TD catch), Jones' 71-yard dash and McFadden's 2-yard run that came after his 51-yard jaunt to set it up.
North Texas scored on its final possession of the first half with back-up quarterback Giovanni Vizza scoring on a 1-yard run.
Arkansas had a chance to push that lead out even more but Tejada missed a 44-yard field goal against the wind on the last play of the half.
He had been 8-of-8 on field goals until that point.
Michael Grant's interception on the opening possession of the second half set up Dick's 5-yard scoring toss to Miller.
Tejada's PAT had it 52-7 just minutes into the second half.
Arkansas' reserves had a chance to add to the onslaught, but Barnett and back-up quarterback Nathan Emert both fumbled inside the 2-yard-line on second half drives.
Barnett did, however, get his first TD of his Arkansas career with a 5-yard scoring run late in the game.
Arkansas will play one of its two Little Rock games this season next Saturday when it host Chattanooga at 6 p.m. in War Memorial Stadium.
Darren McFadden's stiff-arm takes the helmet off of North Texas cornerback Brian Nelson on Saturday night.
Felix Jones heads to the end zone on his 71-yard touchdown run in the second quarter of Saturday night's win over North Texas.
Peyton Hillis runs over a pair of North Texas defenders.
Darren McFadden gets some of his 138 yards in the first half.
Michael Grant (8) tackles Brandon Jackson on Saturday night during Arkansas' rout of North Texas.
Arkansas 66, North Texas 7
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