Big Win Against North Texas

FAYETTEVILLE — Saturday night went exactly as Arkansas' coaches had hoped. There was no mystery or suspense whatsoever.

Running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones each rushed for more than 100 yards before halftime. Quarterback Casey Dick found holes in North Texas' dismissal secondary. And the score got so lopsided that Arkansas' backups saw just as much playing time as the starters.

The Razorbacks got exactly what they paid $425,000 for: A one-sided win that gave them a confidence boost after back-to-back losses to Alabama and No. 8 Kentucky.

"It was huge," Nutt said Sunday of his team's 66-7 win over North Texas in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. "There was a lot of hurting that was going on the last couple of weeks because we could have easily won those games in our players' minds and coaches' minds.

"That's what hurts the most."

The outcome of Saturday's game, however, was never in doubt.

The Razorbacks (2-2, 0-2 Southeastern Conference) opened by scoring 45 unanswered points, McFadden and Jones were the usual dominant selves and the secondary showed it could contain a passing offense.

Arkansas racked up 713 yards of offense, the second-highest total in school history. But perhaps more importantly, the win marked the end of a rather difficult week for the Razorbacks and their embattled coach.

Nutt was booed relentlessly by his own fans during a 42-29 loss to Kentucky. He also had to answer questions about a two-game losing streak and where his brother, former Arkansas running backs coach Danny Nutt, sat during games.

A win over Division I-AA's Chattanooga (1-3) in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium this Saturday would further help with the healing.

"We don't have time for letdowns right now," Nutt said. "We've got some making up to do, and the only way you do that is you go back to work and have the same focus you had last week."

Nutt said this week's game in Little Rock comes at the right time. After all, a change of scenery could be a good thing.

The Razorbacks have a chance against Chattanooga to get their record back above .500, as well as open the month of October with another convincing win against a heavy underdog.

"We want to get better and that's the main thing," Nutt said. "We want to get better, so when you step back into the SEC, you're a totally different team than you were in September and a better team."

Nutt acknowledged that there were some areas that he wasn't overly pleased with during the 59-point victory over winless North Texas (0-4).

He said his team must get better at returning punts, putting more pressure on the quarterback and continuing to develop its passing game. But he had know complaints with the way the Razorbacks started the game.

Over the past year, Arkansas has had a tendency to get off to slow starts against teams it was heavily favored to beat — Utah State and Troy University, for example.

But the Razorbacks scored on all five of their possessions in the first quarter, never giving North Texas any hope at pulling off the upset.

"I don't know how many times Arkansas has scored 66 points," Nutt said. "But I've also seen times where you flop around and you're not focused, and you end up (winning) 21-10 or 35-21 or whatever the case may be."

That wasn't the case Saturday, though.





Alex Abrams' AP Top 25 Ballot



1. LSU

2. Southern Cal

3. California

4. Ohio State

5. South Florida

6. Kentucky

7. Wisconsin

8. Boston College

9. South Carolina

10. Georgia

11. Cincinnati

12. Florida

13. Missouri

14. West Virginia

15. Oklahoma

16. Hawaii

17. Arizona State

18. Oregon

19. Virginia Tech

20. Rutgers

21. Kansas State

22. Clemson

23. Texas

24. Nebraska

25. Purdue



ALEX ABRAMS IS THE BEAT REPORTER FOR THE ARKANSAS FOOTBALL TEAM AND A VOTING MEMBER OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS COLLEGE FOOTBALL POLL. HIS BALLOT APPEARS EACH MONDAY.

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