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October 25, 2005So Arkansas running back Darren McFadden had rushed for 233 yards and a handful of scores in his last two outings against UL-Monroe and Auburn. So what?
Surely the true freshman wouldn't be able to continue running wild against the best the SEC has to offer.
But McFadden did just that and more on Saturday against No. 4 Georgia. The 18-year-old nearly single-handedly handed Georgia its first loss of the season, earning McFadden the Rivals.com Freshman of the Week honors.
McFadden racked up 190 yards on 31 carries against a Georgia defense which was giving up only 91 yards per game on the ground before the Bulldogs met the emerging star. McFadden accounted for both Arkansas' touchdowns and all but 142 yards of the Razorbacks' total offensive output in a 23-20 loss.
"I don't know where he came from, but he's got to be the fastest back I've ever seen," Georgia tackle Darrius Swain told Red&Black, the Georgia student newspaper. "He was tough to bring down, too. I'm not sure if we had Ray Lewis we could have stopped him."
But McFadden was quick to credit the record-breaking performance to a solid team effort.
"We just stuck to our game plan. We tried to line up and run the ball right at them," McFadden told Rivals.com. "Our offensive line did great, and our fullback, Brandon Kennedy, did a great job. Everyone was working together to open up holes in the right places."
McFadden got a sputtering Arkansas offense on the board with an electrifying 70-yard touchdown run with 4:55 remaining in the first half. He also scored from 1 yard out with 4:53 to go in the game to bring the Razorbacks within three points of the Bulldogs.
"Darren had another outstanding game against one of the best teams in the nation," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "He continues to get better and better every week. He hits the line of scrimmage at full speed and uses his blocking well. If he continues in the same direction, he has the potential to have a special career as a Razorback."
McFadden, who was also named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the second consecutive week, etched his name in the Arkansas record books in several places during the game. He broke the freshman single-game rushing record, previously set at 169 yards in 1979 by Darryl Bowles. McFadden was also the first running back in Arkansas history to top 100 rushing yards in three games in a season.
And despite having fewer than 10 carries in three games this season, McFadden has already broken the freshman rushing record (previously 668 yards). McFadden has tallied 682 yards at 7.9 yards per carry.
Even McFadden is a bit surprised at his early success.
"I figured if I came in here and worked hard I could get some carries, but I never dreamed I could be making an impact like this," McFadden said.
Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez knew McFadden was dangerous, but still couldn't design a way to stop him.
"I told you they were No. 1 in the league in rushing - I told you McFadden is a very good back. They're a very good offense," Martinez said. "I'll squash you if you tell me there is a better 2-5 football team out there. They are better than teams that have winning records right now."
McFadden is the first Rivals.com Freshman of the Week to come from a losing team.
For more coverage on Arkansas, check out HawgSports.com.
Other freshmen of note:
• Nebraska receiver Nate Swift recorded nine catches for 135 yards and one score in a 41-24 loss to Missouri.
• Wisconsin redshirt freshman Jack Ikegwuonu intercepted two passes, returning his second 87 yards for a touchdown during a 31-20 win against Purdue.
• Florida State receiver Greg Carr caught six passes for 95 yards and three TDs as the Seminoles routed the Duke Blue Devils, 55-24.
• Tyrell Sutton continued his phenomenal freshman campaign for Northwestern on Saturday, rushing for 109 yards and two TDs in a 49-14 upset of Michigan State. Sutton also caught two passes for 47 yards.
• South Carolina receiver Sidney Rice caught eight passes for 132 yards and three touchdowns during a 35-28 win over Vanderbilt. The only thing Commodores receiver Earl Bennett didn't have over Rice was TDs ... and a team victory. Bennett caught 16 passes for 204 yards and one touchdown.
• Texas A&M running back Jorvorskie Lane tallied 98 rushing yards and two TDs in a 30-28 win against Kansas State. On the other side of the field, Kansas State quarterback Allan Evridge completed 23 of 44 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns.
• Clemson receiver Aaron Kelly caught seven passes for 155 yards and one score in a 37-7 win over Temple.
Previous Freshmen of the Week:
Week 1: James Davis, Clemson
Week 2: Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern
Week 3: Kenny Phillips, Miami
Week 4: DeSean Jackson, California
Week 5: Antoine Caldwell, Alabama
Week 6: Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern
Week 6: Steve Slaton, West Virginia