McFadden Heads Home To Break Record

FAYETTEVILLE -- Mini Muhammad makes no secret about it: She doesn't know much about football.

But she knows her son.

Arkansas running back Darren McFadden -- who is the 10th of Muhammad's 12 children -- is 154 yards shy of becoming the school's all-time leading rusher.

And considering that the junior enters tonight's game against Tennessee-Chattanooga averaging 164.2 yards rushing per game, the chances are good that he'll break the record in his hometown of Little Rock.

"Getting yards is nothing for him to do," Muhammad said. "Everybody is hoping he breaks that record (today). If not, there is always next Saturday."

Make no mistake about it, though, McFadden wants to break Arkansas' career rushing record in front of a sellout crowd in War Memorial Stadium. The Heisman Trophy favorite has a strong connection to Little Rock.

He grew up in a small house on Schiller Street, a few miles from the stadium. He became a star running back at Pulaski Oak Grove High.

And even nowadays, after scoring a touchdown, McFadden celebrates by flexing his arms to show off the "501 Boy" tattoo on his biceps. The tattoo is a reference to Little Rock's area code.

"It's always great to go home and play," McFadden said. "It would be even better if I could go down there and break the record."

The junior ranks second on Arkansas' career rushing list with 3,417 yards in only two-plus seasons. He enters today 153 yards shy of tying the school record of 3,570 yards set by Ben Cowins (1975-78).

Perhaps the only suspense to tonight's game against Division I-AA's UT-Chattanooga (1-3) is whether McFadden will get enough carries to break the record.

Arkansas is heavily favored to beat the Mocs, who are getting paid $325,000 to travel to Little Rock for what should amount to a tune-up for the Razorbacks (2-2, 0-2 Southeastern Conference).

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt is aware that McFadden is on the verge of breaking the school's career rushing record, but that doesn't mean the tailback will get enough playing time to surpass Cowins tonight.

McFadden could be pulled if the Razorbacks jump out to a big first-half lead.

"If we're at 138 (yards for McFadden) at halftime and if we're up 45-7, he probably won't get (the record) in Little Rock," Nutt said. "There is plenty of ball left.

"I don't think it's necessary that he does exactly (154 yards) in Little Rock. But if it happens, great."

McFadden rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns before taking a seat for the entire second half of last Saturday's 66-7 rout of North Texas.

Whether it's tonight or during next Saturday's highly anticipated game against Auburn in Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the record should be his soon.

"The thing that's so remarkable about (McFadden) breaking the record to me is that he's going to do it in 2 1/2 years," Arkansas running backs coach Tim Horton said. "I guess Ben Cowins is our all-time leading rusher, and he had four really good years.

"Right now, Darren is doing it in 2 1/2 years and he's doing it, in a sense, with another running back that's got a lot of yards, too, in Felix Jones."

McFadden said he hasn't given much thought to breaking the record. But he has received around 20-30 requests from friends and family members who want a ticket for today's game.

"It's very exciting for me going and playing in front of a hometown crowd," McFadden said. "I feel like everybody in Little Rock loves me, and I love Little Rock."

It could be a record-breaking night.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories