But in the minutes after Arkansas' finest performance of the season, its 48-36 win against South Carolina last Saturday, linebacker Weston Dacus said the Hogs huddled for a different reason. They don't want their success to fade.
"We have a ton of confidence right now," Dacus said. "We feel like we're at the point where we were last year when we got on our (10-game) winning streak. We feel like we can win every game from here on out."
Dacus said running back Felix Jones stressed that point to the group during the meeting, which came after the Hogs piled up 650 yards on South Carolina and rolled to its third-straight win. Dacus said Jones also pointed out one more thing: If the Hogs do win out, they can finish with a better record than their 10-4 mark in 2006.
After an opening night loss to Southern California, Arkansas reeled off 10 straight wins last season before dropping its final three to LSU, Florida and Wisconsin last season. The Razorbacks started this season 3-3, but are 6-3 with games against Tennessee, Mississippi State and LSU remaining.
Arkansas' SEC Championship Game hopes remain a mathematical possibility. But it isn't likely. Even so, Jones reminded the Hogs can finish 10-3 with a bowl win.
"I know that our team has the players and the camaraderie that we have to go out and play to the best of our ability and finish this season out strong," Jones said. "I'm very confident. I think we can be the best in this conference and in the nation."
Dacus said coach Houston Nutt might help the cause by scaling down the work in practice this week. Running back Darren McFadden said the Razorbacks plan to do their part by continuing to leave their early-season troubles in the past.
"When we get it rolling and playing like we did, I feel like we can beat anyone in the country," McFadden said. "If you look back at the games that we lost, we had each one of them won. We just stumped our toes in the fourth quarter.
"I feel like we got over that point now."
Arkansas' remarkable offensive effort against South Carolina was recognized by the SEC on Monday.
McFadden, who tied the SEC's single-game record of 321 rushing yards, was named the league's Offensive Player of the Week. It was the second SEC weekly honor of his career.
Left guard Mitch Petrus, who was part of a line that paved the way to 542 rushing yards, was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week. It was the first SEC honor for Petrus, who had a season-high 14 knockdown blocks.
"He has made a great contribution," McFadden said.
Fade to Black
McFadden's incredible night was marred by two things — the snap that went over his head in the second half, which resulted in a safety and a first-quarter fumble.
The fumble, which was eventually recovered by fullback Peyton Hillis, was the result of a big hit by South Carolina safety Emanuel Cook. It was enough to daze McFadden.
"He got a great shot on him," McFadden said. "He hit me and everything just went black. ... When I got on the sidelines, I took a knee, got some water and got myself back together."
No, No, RoJo
Coach Houston Nutt was disappointed with the celebration penalty receiver Robert Johnson received Saturday.
Johnson was on the receiving end of McFadden's touchdown pass out of the WildHog formation. He outjumped a South Carolina defender, pulled down the pass, and was flagged after slamming the ball into the padded barrier lining the end zone.
The penalty pushed the ensuing kickoff back to the 15-yard line and South Carolina returned the ball to Arkansas' 36. The Gamecocks scored three plays later to close the gap to 35-27.
"I didn't like it at all," Nutt said. "It was very uncharacteristic of him. He got the message."
No TV Time
The Arkansas-Mississippi State game in Little Rock on Nov. 17 will not be televised and kickoff has been set for 1 p.m.
Two SEC games will be televised that day: Kentucky-Georgia will be on Lincoln Financial Sports and LSU-Ole Miss will be televised by CBS. ESPN and ESPN2 will not broadcast SEC games on Nov. 17.
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