FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the first time in his career, Darren McFadden rushed for four touchdowns in a game during Arkansas’ 58-10 Homecoming victory over Florida International Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Fullback Peyton Hillis was named the Crip Hall Award recipient for outstanding performance by a senior. He totaled 77 receiving yards on 6 catches and 15 rushing yards on two carries. The Arkansas defense forced seven FIU turnovers, including five interceptions.
On the second offensive play of the game, FIU quarterback Wayne Younger completed a pass over the middle to Moses Hinton, but senior linebacker Matt Hewitt caused his second fumble of the season. Adrian Davis fell on the ball to give the Razorbacks possession on the FIU 20-yard line.
Arkansas gained only five yards on the ensuing drive, but with the good field position, Alex Tejada knocked in a 32-yard field goal to give the Hogs an early 3-0 lead.
On the first play of the Razorbacks’ next drive, Marcus Monk caught his first pass of the season for a six-yard gain. The drive featured an 18-yard Felix Jones run out of the WildHog formation and a 15-yard completion from Casey Dick to McFadden on a third-and-15 conversion. The eight-play, 51-yard drive was capped with a three-yard touchdown run by McFadden, his eighth rushing touchdown of the season.
The Hogs caused their second fumble of the game when Elston Forte knocked the ball loose on an FIU rush attempt. Matterral Richardson picked up the fumble and returned the ball to the Panthers’ 11-yard line.
Arkansas gave the ball back after a pass intended for Monk was intercepted by Anthony Gaitor. He was tackled in the end zone for a touchback.
The turnovers continued on the ensuing drive when Jerell Norton intercepted a Younger pass. The interception was Norton’s fifth of the season, which ties for the conference lead with Vanderbilt’s D.J. Moore and is the most for a Razorback since 1998. Norton returned the ball 23 yards to Florida International’s 32-yard line.
McFadden scored his second touchdown of the game at the 14:39 mark of the second quarter and Arkansas extended its lead to 17-0.
Nathan Emert came into the game to lead Arkansas on its next scoring drive after Dick was shaken up after being sacked for a loss of four. Emert completed two of his three pass attempts during the series, including a 25-yard pass to Hillis down to the two-yard line. McFadden’s third touchdown of the game came on the next play.
In relief, Emert threw for 154 yards and a touchdown during the game.
The Golden Panthers engineered a nine-play, 83-yard touchdown drive for their first score of the afternoon. Younger connected with Greg Ellingson on fourth-and-10 for a 33-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, McFadden put the ball on the ground after being tackled. Dezariah Johnson recovered the fumble for FIU, but Michael Grant intercepted a Younger pass on the next play to give possession back to Arkansas.
The Hogs took advantage of the takeaway and marched the ball 68 yards down the field in 10 plays. Monk’s 13-yard touchdown reception stretched the UA lead and after Tejada’s extra point, Arkansas led 31-7. Monk finished the game with 19 yards on two catches and a score.
Chris Abed made a 35-yard field goal before the end of the half to make it 31-10 at halftime.
Arkansas opened the second half with a 13-play drive and Tejada tacked on a 42-yard field goal, his second of the game.
The UA defense tallied another takeaway with their third interception of the day when Kevin Woods picked Younger in the third quarter. Jones scored on a 16-yard rush on the ensuing drive to give the Hogs a 41-10 lead.
After a miscue on a punt by the Golden Panthers gave Arkansas the ball on their own six-yard line, McFadden added his fourth score of the game on a two-yard rush.
Sophomore safety Rashaad Johnson picked off Younger twice to register the first interceptions of his career. The picks came on back-to-back FIU possessions in the fourth quarter.
Michael Smith added Arkansas’ final score with an 81-yard run. The sophomore tailback started left, but cut back up the middle and raced past the FIU defenders.
The Hogs return to action Saturday when they face South Carolina. The game will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.