McFadden Takes A Break

FAYETTEVILLE -- Darren McFadden stood on the Arkansas sideline tugging on his baseball cap. His teammates were busy doing their thing out on the field, but McFadden content to play cheerleader.

This time, though, that wasn't a bad thing.

While seeing the Heisman Trophy candidate banished to the sideline has been a concern the past couple of weeks, it was a relief Saturday. McFadden had no concussion, wasn't feeling sick and wasn't slowed by some sore hamstring or knee.

He had simply done enough.

"It's real nice at halftime to be able to get him some rest and get him ready for the next game," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "It's real nice and I'm just really proud of him and Felix (Jones) and their encouraging words. They were just cheerleaders in the second half.

"But that's what you love about these two, because they are so unselfish."

McFadden didn't mind giving up carries and touchdown opportunities to teammates. He even expected it against an overmatched North Texas (0-4) bunch which had little chance in a 66-7 decision Saturday.

McFadden needed to do just a couple of things in this one. Put up enough numbers to make the game Heisman Trophy worthy. And don't get hurt in the process.

Those were the two goals for McFadden and once the mission was met, he was right where he belonged ... on the bench.

"This is what I was hoping to accomplish," McFadden said. "We just wanted to get back out there and accomplish everything as a team and get our confidence back up. And to go out there and do that and score 65 points, that makes a lot of people happy."

What probably made Arkansas coaches and McFadden teammates the happiest, though, was seeing No. 5 healthy, rested and ready to go full throttle again next week.

"It's really important (to get him rest) because he's really a good back and we need him down the road," Arkansas senior offensive guard Robert Felton said. "We don't need to get him beat up or hurt.

"He did his job, he did it exceptionally well. So sit him down. He didn't need to do anymore."

McFadden's night might have been rather quiet, spent primarily on the side as his playing came to an end with 4 minutes, 42 seconds still left in the first half. But it wasn't without the usual highlights.

A powerful stiff-arm ripped off North Texas cornerback Antoine Bush's helmet, for one. And McFadden would also throw in a 138-yard rushing total and two touchdowns on just 19 carries to top things off.

More than enough to keep McFadden in the thick of the Heisman Trophy race.

"Anytime you're standing on the sidelines with a ballcap on laughing and doing things like that, it means the team is doing great," McFadden said. "So it was a great feeling."

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