McFadden Says

FAYETTEVILLE — Darren McFadden said Monday that his sore ribs weren't the reason for why he struggled against No. 18 Auburn on Saturday night.

The Arkansas running back and Heisman Trophy candidate gained only 43 yards on 17 carries, and he was held without a touchdown in the 9-7 loss in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Saturday marked the first time this season that McFadden had not rushed for more than 100 yards in a game.

The junior had been nursing bruised ribs in the days leading up to the game, but he dispelled the notion that the injury played a factor in his rough performance against Auburn.

"I'm feeling great right now. The ribs, they felt good Saturday," McFadden said. "The game that I had didn't have anything to do with how I was feeling or anything.

"I just feel like Auburn had a great defensive game plan. They came out there and executed it."

McFadden rushed 10 times for only 23 yards in the first half, and he averaged only 2.5 yards per carry on the night.

Despite his struggles in front of a national TV audience, McFadden managed to surpass Ben Cowins as Arkansas' all-time leading rusher. He broke the record in the third quarter on a 13-yard run.

It was his longest run of the night.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said Sunday that he didn't believe McFadden was hampered by his bruised ribs, which caused the junior to wear extra padding during practice last week.

"It wasn't the ribs; the ribs were fine," Nutt said. "I thought he was running very hard, very hard. He couldn't have made a couple of those runs if there were any rib problems."

Decision Time

Nutt said he briefly spoke with Marcus Monk on Sunday, and the two were expected to sit down either Monday afternoon or this morning to discuss the wide receiver's future.

Monk, who has missed nearly all of the first six games because of a right knee injury, has said that he has no plans to redshirt this season. But a final decision will be made this week.

"I think in his heart he really wants to play. We'd love for him to play," Nutt said. "What you don't want to get into (is), you just don't want one game out of the deal or two games.

"... That's really what's going to play in the decision, is how much playing time do you think we're going to be able to get out of Marcus."

Monk saw his first action of the season Saturday when he came in on Arkansas' second play from scrimmage against Auburn. But he appeared to still be bothered by the second arthroscopic knee surgery he had in late August.

He didn't have a single pass thrown his way.

Monk would be unable to play again this season if he decided to redshirt, which would give him another year of eligibility.

He was Arkansas' leading receiver last season with 50 catches for 962 yards and a school-record 11 touchdowns, but he decided to return for his senior season instead of leaving early for the NFL Draft.

Containing McFadden

McFadden has rushed for at least 100 yards in 17 games during his career, but he has never done it against Ole Miss.

The Rebels have held the tailback to 22 yards and 65 yards, respectively, in his only two games against them.

Ole Miss is one of only three Southeastern Conference teams that McFadden has never recorded a 100-yard rushing game against. He failed to eclipse the century mark in two games against Vanderbilt and one against Florida.

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