An Easy Homecoming

FAYETTEVILLE -- Saturday had everything Arkansas could have wanted in a Homecoming game.

Well, almost everything.

There was a clear sky. An overmatched opponent in Florida International. And a 58-10 win for the announced crowd of 60,750 in Reynolds Razorback Stadium to celebrate.

Running back Darren McFadden, who had not scored a touchdown in Arkansas' previous two games, scored four TDs to keep his slim Heisman Trophy chances alive.

Meanwhile, the Razorbacks (5-3, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) forced seven turnovers, including a season-high five interceptions.

And even Arkansas wide receiver Marcus Monk returned from a nagging right knee injury to get his first start and touchdown catch of the season.

"We did what we needed to do," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "Nothing spectacular, but we did what we needed to do."

Of course, there was one downside for the Razorbacks on Saturday afternoon: Starting quarterback Casey Dick had to be taken to Washington Regional Medical Center after taking a hard hit early in the second quarter.

Dick suffered a slight concussion and sore ribs after taking a shot from FIU safety Ashlyn Parker with Arkansas leading 17-0 with 11 minutes and 25 seconds left in the second quarter.

"My (first) reaction was he got hit really hard," Arkansas backup quarterback Nathan Emert said, recalling the play that forced him into the lineup and Dick to miss the remainder of the game. "Of course, I was hoping he was OK."

Dick was taken to the hospital for a CT scan, but he was back at the stadium in time to celebrate with his teammates following their second consecutive lopsided win.

Nutt said Dick should be fine, and the offense didn't sputter once Emert took over. In fact, the backup quarterback didn't need to do much at all.

"The defense gave us (good) field position, that was it right there. You said it right there, that was the bottom line," Emert said. "We had field position all day."

Emert completed 13-of-25 passes for 154 yards, and his only touchdown pass came when he connected with Monk in the end zone for a 13-yard score to extend Arkansas' lead to 31-7 with 1:42 remaining in the first half.

Meanwhile, McFadden -- admittedly frustrated at being held scoreless over the past two games -- had a career-high four touchdown runs to go along with his 19 carries for 66 yards.

"It feels real good. Two games I was away from (the end zone)," McFadden said, cracking a smile. "So it's just a great feeling to be back in there."

Monk's touchdown was set up by a Michael Grant interception. That's pretty much how the afternoon went for the Razorbacks, who have outscored their past two opponents by a margin of 102-18.

FlU, which received $625,000 for Saturday's game, did everything it could to help out Arkansas. In the process, the Golden Panthers (0-8) extended their nation's longest current losing streak to 20 games.

FIU quarterback Wayne Younger threw five interceptions to four Arkansas defensive backs, including two to backup safety Rashaad Johnson.

To make matters worse, the Golden Panthers fumbled the football four times, losing it twice.

Everything seemed to go in Arkansas' favor on Homecoming. The turnovers. The battle of field position. The acrobatic catches by fullback Peyton Hillis, who was named the Crip Hall Award winner as Arkansas' top senior performer.

Even the final minute turned out better than expected.

As the Razorbacks tried to run out the clock, backup running back Michael Smith took a handoff, broke a few tackles and sprinted 81 yards for the final touchdown with 47 seconds remaining.

It was a fitting conclusion to an afternoon that, aside from one hard hit on Dick, went rather smoothly.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories