December 27, 2007

Running Hog Wild

You think Arkansas football, you think one thing. And, no, it's not Bobby Petrino. In preparation for the Razorbacks, one name just keeps coming up.

Darren McFadden has finished second in the Heisman voting two years in a row, the junior has rolled up three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. That number would be a lock to be four if McFadden weren't a consensus top-three pick in this year's NFL draft.

"If I had gotten to play against Adrian Peterson, it probably would have been a toss up," said Tiger defensive tackle Lorenzo Williams. "You can't say enough about the guy after watching game film."

This year, McFadden had his most productive season yet. He ran for 1,725 yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns. If you're looking for a silver lining, he did have a career low in yards per carry this season…of course, it was still 5.7. Hand it to McFadden every snap and the Razorbacks would never even face third down.

"Darren McFadden's got some real long, strong legs," Williams said. "His upper body's kind of short. He's got huge legs. You look at his legs, they look like they're six feet by themselves."

The pro scouts drool at McFadden's blend of speed and strength. There is virtually no argument he is the best running back in college football--he has won the Doak Walker award each of the last two years. McFadden is a huge problem for opposing defenses by himself. Missouri's major problem in the Cotton Bowl, though, will be that McFadden has help.

Junior Felix Jones has back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons himself. If McFadden gives the Razorbacks consistency, Jones gives them big play ability every time he touches the football. Jones averaged a ridiculous 9.1 yards per carry on his 123 rushing attempts this year. Fullback Peyton Hillis ran for 357 yards and 5.7 per carry. Even third-string tailback Michael Smith had 291 yards, three touchdowns and a 7.5 yards per carry average. The Razorbacks rank third nationally, running for 296 yards per game. No team in college football may have a more dangerous ground game.

Run DMC looks for one more smash hit in his illustrious college career. Can the Tigers silence the Arkansas star and his supporting cast? The answer comes on New Year's Day in Dallas.

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