LITTLE ROCK – A sell-out crowd of 54,836 showed up at War Memorial Stadium Saturday night expecting to see a blowout and a record-breaking performance –both in the first half.
Turns out the game – which matched a Division I squad and one from the Football Champion Subdivision (formerly 1-AA) - was really still in doubt going into the fourth quarter.
Felix Jones rushed 13 times for 141 yards and Darren McFadden 25 times for 122 as a sluggish University of Arkansas team finally put Chattanooga away 34-15 in its first of two games in Little Rock this season.
Arkansas led just 14-9 at halftime and 24-15 early in the fourth quarter.
"The first half I don't know if we gained anything - it was just so dad-gummed ugly," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said afterwards. "That is not the way we play and boy, I was embarrassed about it. We got to do better than that. But all wins are precious."
Jones scored twice while McFadden, who was 32 yards shy of the 154 yards he needed to become the school's all-time leading rusher, and Peyton Hillis added a touchdown each for Arkansas (3-2, 0-2 in SEC action).
McFadden topped the century mark for a school-record 17th time and he and Jones were both over 100 for the eighth time in the same game.
"We wanted to do everything we could tonight i to get that record right here in Little Rock, but Darren got some bruised ribs (late) and we couldn't take that chance," Nutt said.
Freshman kicker Alex Tejada kept up his fine work with a pair of field goals from 47 and 32.
It was just 24-15 until Jones' second touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
"The defense came out and gave us some stops in the third quarter and we finally got a crease for Felix," Nutt said. "...They (the Arkansas defense) controlled the game and if they don't do that, than we are in for a long, long night."
It was certainly nothing like the 66-7 win over North Texas the previous week when the Razorbacks rolled up 713 yards total offense.
Arkansas had 373 yards on Saturday night while giving up just 172 - just 11 of which came via the air.
"I believe we held our ground for awhile," Chattanooga head coach Rodney Allison said. "Our guys went out there with a positive approach and I believe our guys did their best out there."
It also was not the expected tune-up for next week's game with visiting Auburn.
"There is a lot of parity in football and you better come ready to play or anything can happen," Nutt said.
"We have got to do better than that," Nutt added later. "We have got to do much better blocking, much better throwing and catching and now you get back into hardball. You have got to be ready to go."
Chattanooga (1-4) – who lost to The Citdael 41-16 last week - actually got on the board first when a high center snap sailed off Dick's head and he was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
"At first, it was a big deal to be ahead," Allison said. "Ecen though we lost, we hung in the game for a long time."
It stayed 2-0 for just one series as McFadden carried on five of the next six plays in a 45-yard drive.
He capped that body of work with a 2-yard TD run that coupled with Alex Tejada's PAT put Arkansas up 7-2 with 8:43 left in the opening quarter.
It grew to 14-2 late in the first quarter when Dick hit Hillis on a crossing pattern and he leaped over defenders into the end zone for a 24-yard score at the 1:40 mark.
Chattanooga bowed up and cut it to 14-9 in the second quarter when Brent Hayes hauled in a 4-yard scoring pass from Antonio Miller with 7:28 remaining.
The only other scoring in the first half occurred when Tejada drilled a 47-yard field goal with just 38 seconds left in the half to make it 17-9.
Jones dashed 47 yards for a score that opened up some breathing room midway through the third quarter as Arkansas went up 24-9.
But Chattanooga tailback Bryan Fitzgerald quickly put his team back in it with a 65-yard dash to paydirt that cut it to 24-15.
Jones added his second score on a short run early in the fourth quarter and Tejada then drilled the 32-yarder to cap the scoring.
Darren McFadden scores a touchdown in the opening quarter of his team's 34-15 win over Chattanooga on Saturday night.
The Arkansas defense makes a stop.
Peyton Hillis heads in for a touchdown after making a reception on Saturday night.
Arkansas cornerback Michael Grant celebrates after making a play.
Darren McFadden breaks loose for a gain on Saturday night.
Felix Jones rips off some of his 141 yards against Chattanooga.
Arkansas 34, Chattanooga 15
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