Jones Pulls Groin On First Play At Auburn

Arkansas never had a chance against No. 4 Auburn.

And it wasn't because the Tigers scored first on a 67-yard reverse flea flicker completion from Jason Campbell to Devin Aromashodu.

No, the Razorbacks' hopes were Tiger meat after their first offensive play when senior quarterback Matt Jones hit Marcus Monk for an 18-yard gain.

The play was a success, but Jones pulled his left groin on the play and wasn't the same player who came into the game needing just 55 yards to break the all-time Southeastern Conference quarterback rushing record held by John Bond (Mississippi State, 1980-83).

"It just happened," Jones said. "(I was) just rolling out and threw the pass to Marcus. It just pulled or popped or whatever. I don't know."

Jones, the SEC's leader in total offense at 280 yards per game, lost half his repertoire and coach Houston Nutt lost a huge chunk of his gameplan in Arkansas' 38-20 loss.

"We wrapped him up and tried to go, but you have to change because he can't move," Nutt said. "You can't run radars, you can't run your options and you turn into a dropback passing team. That's tough."

Jones said the injury affected him on "every single play" and he finished the day 12 of 27 for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns to go with 54 yards rushing, one shy of the record.

Never a traditional drop back passer even though he leads the SEC in passing yards, Jones clearly struggled with his inability to sprint out or make decisive cuts.

"I don't know what I was," he said. "I didn't do very good."

Now Nutt must hope Jones heals quickly before Georgia comes calling for Arkansas' homecoming and start prepping redshirt freshman Robert Johnson for a real possibility of playing major minutes against the Bulldogs next week.

Jones didn't sound real optimistic about being full speed in less than a week, but he said he plans on being ready.

"I'll be all right next week," Jones said. "I hope."

Showing why he is still one of the most dangerous players in the nation even at half speed, Jones broke Bond's record with his 54-yard romp in the second quarter but lost it on the next possession.

Jones reached 63 for the day after his ninth career run of 50 yards or more, but then defensive end Stanley McClover broke free and was in Jones' face mask when he rolled left deep in the Arkansas backfield.

Before Jones could do anything, McClover pounced like a starved animal, yanked the 6-foot-6, 237-pound playmaker off his feet and slammed him to the ground for a nine-yard loss.

"I saw my opportunity to jump on him and ran as hard as I could," McClover said. "His eyes got real big, so I knew he wasn't going to pass the ball."

The sack bumped Jones back into a tie with Bond at 2,280 yards

Jones, who injured his throwing hand Wednesday and wore a light wrap around his wrist and thumb Saturday, passed on several chances with open field in front of him in the first quarter.

But Arkansas' offense was stagnating in much the same way it did in the first quarter at Florida two weeks ago and Nutt had to get his best player to make some plays.

On Arkansas' first play of its first possession of the second quarter, Nutt called an option run for Jones and he executed it brilliantly.

The play looked like a slow motion replay shown live as Jones faked out an Auburn defender with a hip shake and a fake pitch. Jogging down the sideline nowhere near full speed, Jones was bowled out of bounds by cornerback Carlos Rogers but popped up quickly.

Jones went the rest of the game without a carry and was relieved by Johnson late in the game for Arkansas' last touchdown, a four-yard pass to Brandon Kennedy.

For Nutt, Jones and Razorback fans everywhere, breaking Bond's record has now become the least of anyone's concerns.

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