HOGS TAKE ON TIGERS IN ANNUAL BATTLE OF THE BOOT: Arkansas will travel to Baton Rouge to take on the No. 3 LSU Tigers in the annual Battle of the Boot. The Razorbacks and Tigers will play for the trophy for the 10th time when the two teams meet at Tiger Stadium. The game is slated for a 1:40 p.m. CT kickoff and will be televised by CBS Sports.
Arkansas (4-6, 2-5 SEC) will be looking to parlay the momentum of back-to-back victories over Ole Miss and Mississippi State into a season-ending win against the Tigers.
LSU (9-1, 6-1 SEC) will be looking clinch a share of the SEC Western Division title and punch its ticket to next weekend’s SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, Ga.
NOTING THE RAZORBACKS:
* Arkansas and LSU will meet for the 51st time on the gridiron on Friday when the two teams meet in Baton Rouge. LSU leads the series 31-17-2 including wins in three of the last four meetings. The Tigers have won eight of 13 meetings since the Razorbacks entered the SEC in 1992. (For more on the series see p. 2)
* For the 10th-consecutive year since its inception, Arkansas and LSU will be playing for "The Golden Boot," a trophy shaped like the two states combined. The trophy was introduced into the series prior to the 1996 game. It is believed to be the heaviest trophy awarded in a college football rivalry. It weighs approximately 175 pounds.
* Arkansas has played the fourth-toughest schedule in the nation according to NCAA rankings this week. Vanderbilt, USC, Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and LSU have combined to post a 57-33 record (.633). Missouri State isn’t included in the rankings since it is Division I-AA. All games against Division I-AA opponents by Arkansas and its opponents aren’t included in the ratings. Results against Arkansas are also not taken into the equation.
* Five of Arkansas’ 11 opponents were ranked this season marking only the fourth time in school history that the Hogs have played as many as five nationally ranked teams in one season. All four occurrences have come since 1997 with three of those coming in the Houston Nutt era. The Hogs faced five nationally ranked opponents in 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2005.
* Arkansas freshman Felix Jones leads the nation in kickoff returns with an average of 33.78 yards per return. Jones became the seventh Razorback in history to return a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown last weekend against Mississippi State. No UA player has ever led the nation in kickoff returns.
* Arkansas has employed more true freshmen on the field this season than any team in the nation according to a recent poll of football sports information directors. The Razorbacks have played 18 true freshmen in the first nine games of the season. Of those 18 players, five true freshmen have earned a start on offense or defense including quarterback Casey Dick in each of the past three games.
SERIES HISTORY: Arkansas and LSU will meet for the 51st time on the gridiron on Friday when the two teams meet in Baton Rouge. LSU leads the series 31-17-2 including wins in three of the last four meetings. The Tigers have won eight of 13 meetings since the Razorbacks entered the SEC in 1992.
LSU holds a 7-1-1 advantage in games played in Baton Rouge. Arkansas won in its first league contest in Baton Rouge by a score of 42-24 in 1993. The Hogs featured three 100-yard rushers in that win over the Tigers.
From 2001-03, the winner of the game went on to represent the SEC Western Division in the SEC Championship Game. This week’s game will mark the 10th time the two teams have met on the Friday following Thanksgiving. The post-holiday football tradition began in 1996.
OTHER SERIES NOTES: LSU has outscored Arkansas 741-664 in the series. . . .The teams first met in 1907 in Baton Rouge. . . .Between 1913 and 1936 the teams played 23 times with all of those games played in Shreveport. . . .There have been 17 shutouts in the series including a scoreless tie in 1947. . . .The last true shutout came in 1995 when LSU posted a 28-0 victory in Baton Rouge. . . .There have been 16 games decided by a touchdown or less, with LSU holding a 13-3 advantage in those games. . . .The largest margin of victory in the series was 51 points by Arkansas in a 51-0 win in 1910.
BATTLE FOR THE BOOT: For the 10th-consecutive year since its inception, Arkansas and LSU will be playing for "The Golden Boot," a trophy shaped like the two states combined. The trophy was introduced into the series prior to the 1996 game. It is believed to be the heaviest trophy awarded in a college football rivalry. It weighs approximately 175 pounds.
In six of the last seven meetings, the trophy has changed hands. LSU is the only school to defend the trophy. LSU won the trophy in its first two years (1996, 1997) before Arkansas reclaimed it in 1998. LSU won the trophy in 1999. The Razorbacks won the trophy in 2000 with a 14-3 win in Little Rock before the Tigers earned it back last season with a 41-38 victory at Baton Rouge. The Hogs took the trophy back in 2002 with a 21-20 win over LSU in Little Rock, but the Tigers reclaimed it in 2003 with a 55-24 win and kept it with a 43-14 win in 2004.
UPSET ALERT: A national ranking has not necessarily been a favorable sign in the UA-LSU series history. There have been 12 meetings when one team holds a national ranking and one team is unranked. Of those 12 games, the unranked team has won six of those meetings, including winning four of the last six.
LAST TIME AGAINST THE TIGERS: No. 12 LSU spoiled Arkansas’ postseason hopes with an impressive 43-14 win over the Razorbacks at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. The Tigers jumped out to a 27-14 lead at halftime and never looked back snapping the Hogs 17-game winning streak under Houston Nutt at Little Rock in the process.
LSU quarterback Marcus Randall threw two touchdown passes and rushed for two more to lead the Tigers to the win. Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones passed for two scores in his final game as a Razorback.
LAST TIME IN BATON ROUGE: The LSU offense put up 55 points, including 34 in the first half, as the No. 3 Tigers cruised to a 55-24 victory over the Razorbacks in Baton Rouge in 2003. LSU quarterback Matt Mauck completed 12-of-19 passes with four touchdowns as the Tigers amassed 436 yards of total offense on the day.
Arkansas tailback Cedric Cobbs rushed for 169 yards and a touchdown while Razorback running back DeCori Birmingham hauled in two catches for 69 yards and two scores in the loss.
FAMILIAR NAME: Razorback fans are sure to recognize one name on the LSU football roster. True freshman fullback Steven Korte is the son of former Arkansas All-America offensive lineman Steve Korte.
The elder Korte lettered at Arkansas from 1981-82 and was a first-team all American at offensive guard in 1982. He earned All-Southwest Conference honors in both of his seasons with the Razorbacks. Following his collegiate career, Korte went on to play for the New Orleans Saints in the NFL from 1983-90.
FRESHMEN 1,000-YARD RUSHERS: When Arkansas and LSU meet in Baton Rouge on the day after Thanksgiving, the game will feature two of the seven players in SEC history to rush for 1,000 yards in their freshman seasons.
LSU’s Justin Vincent and Arkansas’ Darren McFadden are the most recent additions to exclusive list. Vincent earned 1,001 yards for LSU in helping the Tigers to a national championship in 2003. McFadden topped the 1,000-yard mark last weekend against Mississippi State.
The only other freshman running backs in the history of the league to earn 1,000 yards are Herschel Walker (1,616) in 1980, Emmitt Smith (1,341) in 1987, Reggie Cobb (1,197) in 1987, Chuck Webb (1,236) in 1989 and Jamal Lewis (1,364) in 1997.
FAMILIAR FACE: LSU special teams coordinator and linebackers coach Bradley Dale Peveto once held similar responsibilities at the University of Arkansas. Peveto assisted linebackers coach Joe Pate under former UA head coach Danny Ford with the Hogs in 1994-95.
Peveto was part of the Razorbacks’ first SEC Western Division championship in 1995. He worked with a number of standouts including former All-SEC linebacker Mark Smith. A former SMU football four-year letterman, Peveto is in his first season with the Tigers.
OTHER UA-LSU CONNECTIONS:
* LSU offensive guard Brett Helms was a standout at Stuttgart (Ark.) High School. He redshirted as a true freshman in 2004 and has played this season for the Tigers.
* Arkansas linebacker Matt Stoltz signed with LSU out of Pulaski Academy in Little Rock. He attended LSU and redshirted during the 2004 season. He transferred to Arkansas in time for the 2005 season. He hasn’t played this season for the Razorbacks.
* LSU head coach Les Miles and Arkansas cornerbacks coach Bobby Allen were on the same coaching staff at the University of Colorado in 1983-84. Miles was an assistant coach with the Buffaloes from 1982-86. Allen served as a graduate assistant in 1983-84.
* LSU offensive line coach Stacy Searels coached with Arkansas defensive line coach Tracy Rocker at the University of Cincinnati in 2002. Searels was with the Bearcats from 2000-02. Rocker served only one season (2002) before moving on to Arkansas.
HOGS AGAINST NO. 3 RANKED TEAMS: Arkansas has not had much luck against No. 3 ranked teams in its history. The Razorbacks are 1-11 all-time against teams ranked in the third position.
The only win in 12 tries came when Arkansas defeated Tennessee 28-24 in Fayetteville in 1999. Clint Stoerner hit Anthony Lucas with a late touchdown pass to upset the Volunteers at Razorback Stadium. Fans rushed the field following the game and celebrated by carrying the goal posts to Dickson Street.
Ironically, the Razorbacks’ most recent meeting against a No. 3 team came two years ago in Baton Rouge when the Hogs played LSU. The Tigers recorded a 55-24 win on their way to an SEC and a national championship.
DENTING THE SCOREBOARD: Through the first 10 games of the 2005 season, Arkansas has scored in 120 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in team history. Arkansas has not been shut out since a 28-0 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge, La., on Nov. 18, 1995.
The longest scoring streak in Razorback history is 125 games set from 1973-83. The Hogs were shut out by Southern Cal, 17-0, in the season opener on Sept. 15, 1973, and went 125 games before being blanked by SMU, 17-0, on Nov. 19, 1983.
Arkansas ranks fourth among league schools in the longest active scoring streak. Florida ranks first in the SEC earning points in 214 consecutive contests.
RACKING UP 20: The Razorbacks have made a routine of racking up 20 points since Houston Nutt arrived in Fayetteville. Arkansas has scored 20 points or more in 70 of Nutt’s 96 games (.729) as head coach. Arkansas is 52-18 (.743) when scoring 20 points or more including a 26-9 mark (.743) in the last four seasons.
YOUTH MOVEMENT: Arkansas has utilized the most true freshmen in the nation this season according to a recent survey conducted among football sports information directors. The Razorbacks have played 18 true freshmen this season. Five of those 18 freshmen have started a game this season for the Hogs.
Defensive end Antwain Robinson became the 18th true freshman to play for the Hogs when he saw action against Ole Miss. In addition to Robinson, Stephen Arnold (PK), Cole Barthel (QB), Mark Bonner (CB), Casey Dick (QB), Freddie Fairchild (LB), Reggie Fish (WR), Elston Forte (FS), Tyrell Graham (LB), Cord Gray (DT), Felix Jones (RB), Jamar Love (CB), Darren McFadden (TB), Will Moore (PK), Mitch Petrus (OL), Marcus Shavers (DT), Brandon Sturdivant (LB) and Jose Valdez (OT) have all played in at least one game in their true freshman season.
NUTT IN NOVEMBER: Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt and the Razorbacks have been tough to beat in November during his tenure in Fayetteville. After posting a combined record of 6-6 in his first three seasons with the Hogs, Nutt has reeled off a 16-5 (.762) clip since 2001. Nutt’s best November numbers came in 2002 when the Hogs recorded five consecutive victories to win the SEC Western Division Championship and a trip to the 2002 SEC Championship Game.
Nutt was a combined 11-7 in November in his previous head coaching stints at Murray State and Boise State. In 13 years as a head coach, Nutt and his squads are 33-18 (.647) in November.
Nutt in November at Arkansas
1998 – 2-2
1999 – 2-2
2000 – 2-2
2001 – 3-1
2002 – 5-0
2003 – 4-1
2004 – 2-2
2005 – 2-1
Total – 22-11
HOGS’ SCHEDULE RANKED FOURTH IN THE NATION: Arkansas has played the nation’s fourth-toughest schedule according to NCAA rankings. Vanderbilt, USC, Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and LSU have combined to post a 57-33 record (.633). Missouri State isn’t included in the rankings since it is Division I-AA. All games against Division I-AA opponents by Arkansas and its opponents aren’t included in the ratings. Results against Arkansas are also not taken into the equation.
The Hogs have navigated a top-10 nationally ranked schedule in three of the last four seasons. It appears that stat will soon be four of the last five seasons.
Five of Arkansas’ 11 opponents were ranked this season marking only the fourth time in school history that the Hogs have played as many as five nationally ranked teams in one season. All four occurrences have come since 1997 with three of those coming in the Houston Nutt era. The Hogs faced five nationally ranked opponents in 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2005.
In 2004, Arkansas’ schedule ranked No. 8 in the nation based on cumulative opponents winning percentage (.613). In 2003, Arkansas ranked No. 26 in strength of schedule. Arkansas boasted the fourth-toughest schedule in both 2002 and 2001. In 2000, the Razorbacks’ schedule rated 12th in the country.
HOGS AMONG NATION’S BEST IN RUSHING: Arkansas continues to rank among the nation’s best when it comes to rushing offense. After leading the country in rushing for the first two weeks of the season, the Razorbacks rank ninth in this week’s statistical rankings. Arkansas has been in the top 10 in rushing for every week, but one, this season.
Arkansas is averaging 235.1 yards per game on the ground through the first 10 games of the 2005 campaign.
Arkansas racked up 483 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 51 carries against Missouri State in the season opener. Arkansas tailbacks Felix Jones (137), Peyton Hillis (135) and De’Arrius Howard (120) all topped the 100-yard rushing mark in the victory. The Hogs’ total of 483 rushing yards against the Bears still ranks as the top team rushing output by an NCAA Division I-A team this season. Arkansas also registered among the NCAA’s single-game highs with 321 yards in a win over Louisiana-Monroe.
Arkansas finished 22nd in the nation last season in rushing yardage averaging 187.4 yards per game.
ABOVE AVERAGE: Arkansas has made a habit out of racking up big rushing yardage against some of the nation’s top rush defenses. The Hogs have topped their opponents’ rush defense average in seven of nine opportunities this season. In addition, Arkansas rushed for 483 yards against Missouri State in the season opener.
The only times the Hogs have failed to reach the opponent’s rush defense average was against Vanderbilt and Ole Miss. Arkansas rushed for 194 yards against Vanderbilt after the Commodores had given up 274 yards in their season opener. The Hogs gained 89 yards rushing against Ole Miss when the Rebels were averaging 139.5 yards rushing a game coming in to the Arkansas game.
In fact, freshman tailback Darren McFadden has single-handedly topped the Hogs’ opponents’ average in six of nine outings including against all four ranked opponents the Razorbacks have played this season.
LEADING THE LEAGUE: Arkansas is also pacing the SEC in rushing yards per game. The Hogs’ 235.1 average out-distances second-ranked Auburn (202.7 ypg.) by more than 32 yards per game. Arkansas is also leading in yards per attempt with 5.3 yards per rush.
Arkansas has led the league in rushing in two (2002 and 2003) of the last three seasons. The last SEC team to lead the conference in rushing three times in four seasons was Auburn (1983-85).
TRIPLE DIGIT RUSHERS: The Razorbacks’ rushing success has resulted in 10 100-yard rushing efforts in 10 games this season.
Freshman Darren McFadden has already set a new UA freshman record with five 100-yard rushing games. McFadden topped the 100-yard mark against Louisiana-Monroe (125), Auburn (108), Georgia (190), South Carolina (187) and Mississippi State (165). No other Razorback freshman has more than two 100-yard rushing games in his inaugural season.
Senior tailback De’Arrius Howard topped the 100-yard mark in the first two games this season (120 vs. Missouri State, 139 vs. Vanderbilt). Freshman Felix Jones racked up 137 yards against Missouri State and 102 against Louisiana-Monroe. Sophomore Peyton Hillis earned the first 100-yard rushing game of his career with 135 yards against Missouri State.
Arkansas earned a total of five 100-yard rushing efforts all of last season with a pair of those coming from quarterback Matt Jones.
In all, Arkansas’ players boast 236 100-yard rushing performances with 51 of those coming in the Houston Nutt era (1998-2005).
TRIO OF 100-YARD RUSHERS: A trio of Razorbacks found plenty of running room in Arkansas’ win over Missouri State. Freshman Felix Jones led the Razorbacks with 137 yards and one touchdown on eight carries. Jones’ performance was the third-best by a Razorback freshman in school history and included an 80-yard touchdown run on his second career carry.
Sophomore Peyton Hillis racked up 135 yards and three touchdowns on 14 attempts in the victory. It was Hillis’ first career 100-yard rushing game. Senior tailback De’Arrius Howard tallied his fourth career 100-yard rushing effort with 120 yards on 12 carries. Freshman tailback Darren McFadden also made a run at the 100-yard mark earning 70 yards on nine carries.
The last time Arkansas boasted a trio of 100-yard rushers was in the Hogs’ seven-overtime win at Ole Miss in 2001. Quarterback Matt Jones (110) and tailbacks Cedric Cobbs (100) and Fred Talley (113) each eclipsed the 100-yard plateau in the longest game in NCAA history. The last time three Razorbacks gained 100 yards or more rushing in a regulation game was in Arkansas’ 1993 win over LSU in Baton Rouge. In the 42-24 victory, Razorback running backs Oscar Malone (143), Carlton Calvin (123) and Marius Johnson (106) turned the trick.
RUSHING TO PAYDIRT: Arkansas pulled off a rare feat in its 28-17 win over Ole Miss. The Razorbacks won a game in which they didn’t score a rushing touchdown.
The win over the Rebels marked only the fifth time in 19 occurrences that the Hogs have won a game without a rushing score in the Houston Nutt era. The Razorbacks scored on an interception return and three passing touchdowns in their win over the Rebels.
The last time Arkansas won a game without a rushing touchdown was in 2002 when the Hogs topped South Carolina 23-0 on two passing scores and three field goals. Arkansas is now 5-14 (.263) when they do not score at least one rushing touchdown since 1998. Arkansas is 52-25 (.675) when scoring at least one rushing touchdown since 1998.
Other Rushing Superlatives:
* Arkansas rushed 52 times for 197 yards in the loss to No. 1 Southern California. The Hogs’ total was the most rushing yards given up by the Trojans’ defense in their last 37 games. The last team to rush for as many yards against USC was Washington State (201) in an overtime game in 2002.
* Arkansas also racked up big rushing yardage against another of the nation’s top defenses. The Razorbacks earned 237 yards rushing in a 24-13 loss at Alabama. The Crimson Tide defense entered the game ranked first in the SEC and 24th in the nation in rushing defense. They had allowed only 114 rushing yards in their first three games combined.
In fact, Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden’s 70-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter accounted for nearly double the real estate of Alabama’s average rushing defense total (38.0) in the first three contests.
* Arkansas racked up 216 yards against No. 4 Georgia. The Bulldogs were only yielding 91.2 yards per game entering the contest. McFadden doubled the Bulldogs’ average with 190 yards of rushing alone.
TOTAL EFFORT: While the rushing game has been the primary catalyst, Arkansas is among the league leaders in total offense as well. The Razorbacks rank sixth in the SEC and rank 61st in the nation averaging 372.6 yards per game.
Arkansas is ninth in the nation in rushing offense (235.1 ypg) and ranks 109th (137.5 ypg) in passing offense.
OFFENSIVE FIREWORKS: Arkansas’ offense was in high gear in the Razorbacks’ 49-17 season-opening win over Missouri State. The Hogs racked up 591 yards of total offense in the victory. The total ranked ninth all-time on the UA school record list for total offense in a single game and was the most since Arkansas tallied 605 yards in a seven-overtime win at Kentucky in 2003.
The 483 yards earned on the ground ranked seventh on the school record chart for rushing yards in a game. The last time Arkansas rushed for more yards as a team was in 1987 when the Hogs churned up 502 yards in a win over New Mexico.
FRESHMEN LEADING THE WAY: Arkansas freshmen Darren McFadden and Felix Jones have been leading the way for the Razorbacks on the ground this season. The two true freshmen have combined to rack up seven 100-yard rushing games this season.
It is the first time in school history that two true freshmen have recorded a 100-yard rushing game in the same season. In fact, McFadden and Jones each earned 100 yards rushing in the same game against Louisiana-Monroe earlier this season.
McFadden set a new UA freshman single game rushing record with 190 yards against No. 4 Georgia. In the process, McFadden became the first UA freshman to earn 100 yards in three or more games in his first season.
Single Game 100-Yard Rushing Performances by a UA Freshman
190 – Darren McFadden vs. Georgia, 2005
187 – Darren McFadden vs. South Carolina, 2005
169 – Darryl Bowles vs. Texas A&M, 1979
165 – Darren McFadden vs. Mississippi State, 2005
143 – Brandon Holmes vs. LSU, 2000
137 – Felix Jones vs. Missouri State, 2005
131 – Matt Jones vs. Mississippi State, 2001
125 – Darren McFadden vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 2005
125 – James Rouse vs. Texas, 1985
121 – De’Arrius Howard vs. Mississippi State, 2002
118 – Oscar Malone vs. LSU, 1992
110 – Matt Jones vs. Ole Miss, 2001
108 – Darren McFadden vs. Auburn, 2005
107 – Cedric Cobbs vs. Tennessee, 1999
103 – Chrys Chukwuma vs. Louisiana Tech, 1996
102 – Felix Jones vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 2005
FRESHMEN FEAT: Freshmen tailbacks Darren McFadden and Felix Jones made some history when both players rushed for more than 100 yards in Arkansas’ win over Louisiana-Monroe. They became the first UA true freshmen to earn 100 yards or more rushing in the same game. McFadden rushed for a career-high 125 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Jones racked up 102 yards and two scores on 14 attempts.
RISING STAR: Freshman Darren McFadden is off to a torrid start in his Razorback career. The North Little Rock, Ark., product has posted five 100-yard rushing efforts this season including in four-consecutive games earlier this season. He was recently named the SEC Freshman of the Week in back-to-back weeks for his efforts against No. 21 Auburn and No. 4 Georgia.
McFadden has rushed for 70+ yards in eight of his 10 collegiate games including a 190-yard effort against Georgia, a 187-yard outing against South Carolina, a 165-yard performance against Mississippi State, a 125-yard effort against Louisiana-Monroe and a 108-yard performance against Auburn.
RANKING AMONG THE NATION’S BEST: Arkansas freshman tailback Darren McFadden ranks among the top freshman running backs in the nation in nearly every statistical category.
McFadden ranks second overall among the nation’s freshmen with 105.6 rushing yards per game. He is second with five 100-yard rushing games with two of those efforts coming against ranked opponents. His 6.95 yards-per-carry average also ranks second among freshmen.
McFADDEN AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS IN RUSHING: Darren McFadden finds himself among the SEC rushing leaders again this week with his average of 105.6 yards per game. McFadden ranks second in the SEC trailing only Auburn’s Kenny Irons (109.55).
McFadden actually led the SEC two weeks ago with a 108.6 yard average, but tallied only 22 rushing yards against Ole Miss. He rebounded with a 165-yard effort against Mississippi State to vault back into second place in the league rushing race.
McFadden is attempting to become only the third freshman to lead the SEC in rushing. Only Georgia’s Herschel Walker (1980) and Florida’s Emmitt Smith (1987) have led the SEC in rushing as freshmen.
Seven Razorbacks have led the league in rushing in school history. Cedric Cobbs was the last and the only one to lead the SEC when he topped the league in 2003 with an average of 110.0 yards per game. No UA freshman has ever led the league in rushing.
UPPING THE AVERAGE IN LEAGUE PLAY: As impressive as McFadden’s 105.6 rushing average is, his average in league play has been even better. The freshman is racking up 110.4 yards per game in SEC play.
McFadden ranks second only behind Auburn’s Kenny Irons (117.6) in rushing in league games.
TOPPING 1,000: McFadden became the first Razorback freshman and seventh UA player in school history to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a season in the Hogs’ 44-10 win over Mississippi State.
McFadden earned the mark in style breaking away for a 64-yard run in the fourth quarter against the Bulldogs. McFadden is the third Razorback in the last four seasons to reach that mark after Talley (2002) and Cobbs (2003) both achieved their 1,000-yard campaigns under Houston Nutt.
The previous six Razorbacks have combined for a total of nine 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Ben Cowins rushed for more than 1,000 yards three times in his career while Dickey Morton accomplished the feat twice.
Madre Hill, Cedric Cobbs, Fred Talley and James Rouse all recorded one 1,000-yard season.
CLOSING IN ON 1,000 QUICKLY: Darren McFadden took the second fastest trek to 1,000 rushing yards in school history. Only Ben Cowins in 1976, reached the milestone quicker than the current Razorback tailback.
Cowins reached the 1,000-yard mark on his 147th rushing attempt of the season. McFadden eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on rushing attempt number 152. No other Razorbacks have reached 1,000 yards in less than 160 attempts.
SEC 1,000-YARD FRESHMAN CAMPAIGNS: Even in a league with the rich history of the Southeastern Conference, only seven times has a freshman rushed for 1,000 yards or more in a season.
Legendary running backs Herschel Walker and Emmitt Smith were the first two to accomplish the feat in 1980 and 1987, respectively. The last freshman in SEC history to rush for 1,000 yards was LSU’s Justin Vincent in 2003.
McFadden is only the 69th freshman in NCAA history to reach that milestone. Northwestern’s Tyrell Sutton and Central Michigan’s Ontario Sneed became the 67th and 68th freshman to rush for 1,000 yards earlier this season.
RECORD-BREAKING FRESHMAN: Darren McFadden is already re-writing the UA freshman record book. With his five 100-yard rushing efforts this season, he became the only UA freshman to rush for 100 yards in a game more than two times in his first season as a Razorback. Only Matt Jones and current teammate Felix Jones have as many as two 100-yard rushing games in their freshman campaign.
McFadden broke Darryl Bowles (169) single-game rushing record by a freshman when he tallied 190 yards against No. 4 Georgia. In the process he also passed Cedric Cobbs (668) for the UA freshman single-season rushing mark.
With two touchdowns against Mississippi State, he earned the UA freshman touchdown record. McFadden boasts 10 touchdowns with all of them coming on the ground. James Rouse held the previous record with nine rushing touchdowns in 1985
McFadden Freshman Records Broken
Single Game – Rushing
190 – Darren McFadden vs. Georgia, 2005
Previous Record: 169 – Darryl Bowles vs. Texas A&M, 1979
Season – Rushing
891 – Darren McFadden (Through 9 games)
Previous Record: 668 – Cedric Cobbs, 2002
100-Yard Rushing Games
5 – Darren McFadden, 2005
Previous Record: 2 – Matt Jones (2001) and Felix Jones (2005)
10 – Darren McFadden, 2005
Previous Record: 9 – James Rouse (1985)
TWO-GAME TOTAL: When it comes to back-to-back rushing performances, only former Razorback tailback Fred Talley can match what Darren McFadden accomplished in games against No. 4 Georgia and South Carolina.
McFadden rushed for 190 yards against Georgia and then followed it up with a 187-yard outing against South Carolina. His total of 377 yards in a two-game span ranks second in school history only behind a 423-yard stint by Talley in 2002. Talley rushed for 241 yards against Auburn and then 182 against Kentucky that season.
Ironically, Talley returned to Fayetteville for the Homecoming game against South Carolina and watched McFadden take aim at his school-record mark.
McFadden is also chasing another school record held by the former Razorback. Talley boasted four games of 180+ yards rushing in his Razorback career. McFadden is one of only five UA running backs to earn at least two games of 180 or more yards. Dickey Morton, Ben Cowins, Madre Hill and McFadden all have two entries on that list.
ACCUMULATING ACCOLADES: Darren McFadden is not only racking up rushing yards this season, he is picking up plenty of individual awards as well. McFadden has twice been named the SEC Freshman of the Week earning the honor in back-to-back weeks for his performances against No. 21 Auburn and No. 4 Georgia.
McFadden added a national award to his resume when he was selected as the Rivals.com National Freshman of the Week after a 190-yard two touchdown outing against the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs.
VERSATILE PERFORMER: Darren McFadden also ranks among the nation’s leaders in all-purpose yardage. McFadden ranks second in the SEC and 31st in the nation with an average of 136.1 all-purpose yards per game.
In addition to his 1,056 rushing yards, McFadden has racked up 38 yards receiving and 267 yards on kickoff returns. His total of 1,361 all-purpose yards ranks fifth on the UA single season record list.
MORE ON McFADDEN:
* He leads the team with 1,056 yards and 10 touchdowns on 152 carries through 10 games.
* He has earned 70+ yards in eight of his 10 collegiate games. He earned only one rushing attempt against Vanderbilt (6).
* He ranks second in the SEC and 22nd in the nation averaging 105.6 yards per game.
* His 6.9 yards-per-carry average is the highest of any SEC running back listed in the top 10 in rushing yards. The next highest average is 5.9 yards per carry by Mississippi State’s Jerious Norwood.
* He ranks second in the SEC in rushing touchdowns with 10. Nine of his 10 scores have come in the last seven games including two touchdown efforts against Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn, Georgia and Mississippi State.
* He has led the Hogs in rushing yardage in seven of the last eight games including against No. 1 USC, No. 4 Georgia, No. 20 Alabama, No. 21 Auburn, South Carolina and Mississippi State.
FELIX LEADS NATION IN KO RETURNS: Freshman Felix Jones is leading the nation in kickoff returns with a 33.73 average per return. Jones was eighth last week, but vaulted all the way to the top of the NCAA list after recording a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Mississippi State.
In addition to his 100-yard effort against the Bulldogs, he tallied a 67-yard kickoff return to set up a touchdown against No. 1 USC. He has 15 kickoff returns for 506 yards and a touchdown in the Hogs’ first 10 games.
The last Razorback to lead the league in kickoff returns was Derek Holloway in 1982. Holloway led the Southwest Conference with an average of 21.7 yards per kickoff return.
No UA player has ever led the nation in kickoff returns.
MOVING UP THE RECORD LIST: Felix Jones is assaulting the UA record books at least as far as kickoff returns and all-purpose yardage go. Jones total of 506 yards kickoff return yards already ranks second on the UA single-season record chart trailing only DeCori Birmingham’s 638 yards in 2002.
His total of 1,238 all-purpose yards ranks 13th on the UA single season list.
DON’T FORGET FELIX: Sometimes overshadowed by the remarkable season of his fellow freshman tailback Darren McFadden, Felix Jones is quietly posting an outstanding campaign as a tailback and kick returner.
Jones ranks fourth in the SEC and 42nd in the nation with an average of 123.8 all-purpose yards per game.
He leads the nation in kickoff return average with a 33.7 clip. He has returned 15 kickoffs for 506 yards and a touchdown including a 100-yard return for a touchdown against Mississippi State and a 67-yard return against No. 1 USC.
Jones ranks 11th in the SEC and 98th in the country with an average of 62.1 yards per game on the ground. He is averaging 6.5 yards per carry, second only to McFadden (6.8) among the SEC’s top 15 rushers. He has 621 yards and three touchdowns on 95 carries.
He is only the third UA freshman to rush for 100 yards or more twice in his first season. Jones tallied 137 yards in the season opener against Missouri State before collecting 102 yards against Louisiana-Monroe. Only former Razorback quarterback Matt Jones and current UA freshman running back Darren McFadden can lay claim to that accomplishment in UA history. McFadden holds the school record with five 100-yard rushing efforts.
OTHER JONES NOTES:
* Jones ranks second on the team in rushing with 651 yards and three touchdowns on 95 carries.
* He has earned 60 or more yards rushing in six of 10 contests including three of the last four games against Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi State. He earned 50 yards on the ground against Ole Miss.
* His 62.1 yards per game average ranks 11th in the SEC and 98th in the nation.
* Jones got off to a quick start as a Razorback by rushing for a game-high 137 yards and one touchdown on eight carries in leading the Hogs to a 49-17 win over Missouri State in the season opener. Jones became just the ninth freshman running back in Arkansas history to earn 100 yards rushing in his initial season. For his efforts, Jones was named the inaugural SEC Freshman of the Week.
* His 137 yards rank fifth in Razorback frosh history. Jones holds the distinction as the only Arkansas freshman to rush for 100 yards or more in his Razorback debut.
* Jones’ second career rush from scrimmage also etched his name in the UA record books. The 80-yard touchdown run was the longest scoring run by a freshman in school history and the longest rush from scrimmage by a Razorback since Fred Talley raced 81 yards against Central Florida in 2001. The Tulsa, Okla., product tallied 10 yards or more on four of his eight carries against Missouri State and finished the contest with a 17.1 yards- per-rush average.
RED-HOT ROOKIE: Arkansas freshman quarterback Casey Dick earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors for his performance in the Razorbacks’ 28-17 win over Ole Miss. Dick captained three second-half scoring drives to lead the Hogs to a come-from-behind win at Oxford.
Dick completed 17-of-24 passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns. He completed only five of his first 12 pass attempts before connecting on 12 consecutive passes down the stretch for 154 yards and three touchdowns. He hit Marcus Monk for a pair of touchdowns from 24 and 23 yards and connected with Peyton Hillis for a four-yard touchdown.
His .708 completion percentage ranks tied for 10th on the UA single game completion percentage chart (minimum 20 attempts). He completed passes to six different receivers including multiple balls to five targets.
Dick became the third Razorback to win the SEC freshman award. Tailback Felix Jones won the award for his performance in the season opener against Missouri State. Tailback Darren McFadden claimed the honor in back-to-back games against Auburn and Georgia.
CASEY AT THE SNAP: Freshman Casey Dick saw his first collegiate action and made his first career start at quarterback against South Carolina. Dick didn’t appear in the Hogs’ first seven games, but took the opening offensive snap against the Gamecocks in the Hogs’ eighth game of the season. Dick is the only Razorback true freshman quarterback to take his first snap as the starter in school history.
Dick completed 12-of-24 pass attempts for 137 yards and a touchdown in his debut. He connected with Peyton Hillis for a four-yard touchdown in the second quarter for his first career touchdown pass. He also threw an interception against the Gamecocks.
Dick is the seventh true freshman quarterback in Razorback history, since freshmen were made eligible in 1972, to make a start. The last true frosh to take the first snap was Zak Clark against Ole Miss in 2000. Former Razorback quarterback Matt Jones played extensively at quarterback as a true freshman, but never started a game in his freshman season.
MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME: Although Casey Dick has played in only three college games, the freshman is making up ground in the passing game. Dick already ranks tied for ninth in the SEC with six touchdown passes.
He has earned at least one touchdown pass in each of his three starts including two against Mississippi State and three against Ole Miss.
On the season, Dick has completed 41-of-71 pass attempts for 436 yards and six touchdowns.
CENTER OF ATTENTION: Senior Kyle Roper is one of 39 candidates listed on the 2005 Dave Rimington Trophy Watch List entering the 2005 season. The Rimington trophy is award annually to the best collegiate center in the country.
Roper was a preseason All-SEC pick by nearly every preseason publication and was tabbed as the No. 2 center in the Southeastern Conference and the No. 14 center in the nation by The Sporting News. He started 11 games last season grading out at 90 percent or better in 10 of those games. The Powder Springs, Ga., product racked up 46 knockdown blocks in 2004 including 30 in the final three games of last season.
The Rimington Trophy recipient is determined by a consensus of the four All-America teams: The Walter Camp Football Foundation, the America Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America and The Sporting News.
MONK ON THE RECEIVING END: Sophomore Marcus Monk has been patiently waiting for the Hogs’ passing game to gear up this season. That patience paid off in the Razorbacks’ last two games. Monk has combined for nine catches for 111 yards and three touchdowns in Arkansas’ wins over Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Monk hauled in five catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over the Rebels. Monk was on the receiving end of touchdown passes of 24 and 23 yards from freshman quarterback Casey Dick.
His five-catch total tied for the second-most receptions in a game during his career. He earned a career-high seven catches last season against South Carolina.
It marked the third time Monk has recorded two receiving touchdowns in a game joining the 2004 Louisiana-Monroe and 2005 Southern California games.
Monk continued his hot streak with four receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown against Mississippi State. Monk hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Dick late in the first half.
Monk leads the Hogs in receiving yards (397) and ranks second on the team with 32 catches. He also leads the team with seven receiving touchdowns. Monk has made at least three catches in 13 of his 21 career games as a Razorback including six of 10 games this season
Monk’s 39.70 receiving yards per game ranks him 26th in the SEC. His 3.20 receptions per contest rates him 13th in the SEC.
PEYTON AND THE PASSING GAME: Arkansas running back Peyton Hillis has become a prime target in the Hogs’ passing game. Hillis leads the Razorbacks with 35 receptions for 344 yards and four touchdowns.
Hillis has racked up 22 catches for 218 yards and three touchdowns in his last five games including a a career-high seven balls for 81 yards against No. 21 Auburn.
Hillis has now tallied 35 receptions for 344 yards and three touchdowns on the season. His 3.50 catches per game average ranks tied for 10th among SEC pass catchers. His ranks 24th in the SEC in receiving yards per game with 34.40.
Hillis has also been a steady contributor in the rushing attack as well. He ranks 19th in the SEC in rushing with an average of 31.50 yards per game.
FILLING IN UP FRONT: Junior Jeremy Harrell saw his first significant playing time at offensive guard against Ole Miss. Harrell played 41 snaps at right guard against the Rebels earning a 93 percent grade on passing plays. The former defensive tackle was switched to the offensive line prior to the Georgia game to help the depth up front.
Jonathan Luigs started at right guard, but was forced to man the center position when starting center Kyle Roper was unable to continue due to injury. Harrell filled in admirably and could earn his first start at the position this weekend if Roper is not available to play.
Harrell earned his first start at offensive guard against Mississippi State. He responded by racking up a team-high 10 knockdowns against the Bulldogs.
RAZORBACK OFFENSE TIDBITS:
* Junior wide receiver Cedric Washington earned three catches for the fourth time in five games with three receptions for 22 yards in a win over Mississippi State. He also hauled in three catches for 73 yards against South Carolina, three catches for 58 yards against Auburn and three catches for 53 yards against Ole Miss.
* Arkansas’ 41 points against Mississippi State were the most for the Razorbacks in an SEC game since the Hogs scored 52 in a 52-6 win over Mississippi State in 2003. Arkansas has topped the 40-point mark 13 times since joining the SEC including nine times in the Houston Nutt era.
PICKING IT UP IN LEAGUE PLAY: After a rough start that saw the Razorback defense yield 1,482 yards of total offense in the first three games (494.0 avg.) including 736 to Southern California in the third game of the season, the Arkansas defense has picked up the pace.
In the seven games since that three-game stretch, the Hogs have yielded 1,977 yards of total offense for an average of 282.4 yards per game.
Arkansas moved from 10th to sixth in the league and from 53rd to 37th in the nation this week in overall total defense (345.9).
The Hogs rank third in the SEC in total defense in league play allowing an average of 294.0 yards per game.
BUCKLING UP AGAINST THE RUN: Arkansas’ defense has been stingy against the run as of late holding its last four opponents to under 110 yards in team rushing. In fact, the Hogs have allowed only 214 yards rushing in the last four games combined
No. 4 Georgia managed only 52 yards on 30 carries while South Carolina netted 45 yards on 33 attempts. The Razorbacks really put the clamp down on Ole Miss yielding only 10 rushing yards to the Rebels on 34 carries.
The 10 yards allowed against Ole Miss ranked tied for 10th fewest yards given up by a Razorback defense. It was the fewest since Arkansas held Texas to a school-record -27 yards rushing in the 2000 Cotton Bowl.
Mississippi State netted only 106 yards rushing against the Hogs including 53 yards on one run by Jerious Norwood.
Arkansas ranks fourth in the league in rushing yards allowed in conference games. The Hogs are limiting opponents to an average of 100.6 yards per contest.
SACK PARTY: The Razorbacks are turning up the heat on opposing quarterbacks. Arkansas has netted 20 sacks in the last four games for a combined 142 yards in lost real estate.
Arkansas netted a season-high seven sacks (-56) in a 44-10 win over Mississippi State. The seven sacks were the most by a Razorback team since the Hogs dropped Boise State’s quarterback eight times in 2002. Arkansas racked up a total of 13 tackles for loss (-74) against the Bulldogs.
Arkansas racked up four sacks against Georgia (-14) and South Carolina (-30) before tallying a five sacks (-42) in a win over Ole Miss. The Hogs earned a total of 12 tackles for loss (-60) against the Rebels.
Arkansas now has tallied 32.0 sacks for 234 yards. The Hogs’ total ranks tied for second among league teams with South Carolina. Only Auburn (36) has racked up more sacks. Arkansas’ 28 sacks in league play is tied for second LSU. Auburn leads the SEC with 29 sacks in SEC games.
FORCING INTERCEPTIONS: Arkansas’ secondary has been honing on opponent passes earning three interceptions in the last two games. Michael Grant tallied his third interception of the season in the Hogs’ 44-10 win over Mississippi State. The week before, the Hogs picked off two Ole Miss passes including returning one for a touchdown in the first half.
Strong safety Randy Kelly snared his first career interception and raced 42 yards for a touchdown to put Arkansas on the scoreboard on the final play of the first quarter. In the second quarter, free safety Vickiel Vaughn halted a Rebels’ offensive drive with an interception inside Arkansas territory.
The Ole Miss game marked the third time this season Arkansas has picked off a pair of opponent passes. The Razorbacks also snared two interceptions against Missouri State and Auburn.
Arkansas has forced an interception in seven of its 10 games this season. The Razorbacks have a total of 10 team interceptions this season with Michael Coe and Michael Grant owning three a piece.
SCOOP AND SCORE: When Arkansas’ defense pitches in on the scoreboard, it usually means good things for the Razorbacks especially in the Houston Nutt era. The Hogs are 11-2 since 1998 when the Razorback defense scores a touchdown. Arkansas has combined for eight interception returns and five fumble returns for touchdowns in those 13 games.
Darius Vinnett added an entry to that list in the 2005 season opener with a 44-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the second quarter of the Hogs’ 49-17 win over Missouri State. It was the first fumble return for a score since teammate Marcus Harrison ran 18 yards with a fumble last season against Georgia.
Randy Kelly found the end zone in the Razorbacks’ 28-17 win over Ole Miss. Kelly raced 42 yards for a score on his first career interception against the Rebels.
HOW ‘BOUT ‘BUTU: Junior weakside linebacker Sam Olajubutu appears to have carried the momentum of a strong spring and fall camp into the 2005 campaign.
Olajubutu leads the Razorbacks and ranks third in the Southeastern Conference in tackles with an average of 9.5 stops per game. His average also places him 32nd in the nation in rankings compiled by press box totals. Olajubutu ranks tied for 18th in the country in solo tackles per game with an average of 6.20 per contest.
Based on Arkansas coaches’ film, Olajubutu has compiled 111 tackles including 12.5 tackles for loss (-37). Vickiel Vaughn is next on the list with 77 tackles. Olajubutu has recorded double-digit tackle games in five of 10 outings in 2005.
* He ranks tied for 32nd in the nation with an average of 9.5 stops per game. He rates third in the SEC with that average.
* He ranks 18th in the nation in solo tackles per game with an average of 6.20 solo stops a game.
* He ranks 64th in the nation in tackles for loss (1.15 per game).
* He leads the Razorbacks with 111 tackles (coaches’ totals) including 12.5 tackles for loss (-37).
* He has eight double-digit tackle games in his career including five this season.
* He is averaging 10.25 tackles per game against ranked foes this season including 14 vs. No. 1 USC, 16 vs. No. 20 Alabama and 18 vs. No. 21 Auburn.
* Olajubutu tied for the team lead with 15 tackles on 57 defensive snaps in Arkansas’ 49-17 season-opening win over Missouri State. He made one tackle for loss (-2) and forced a fumble. He was credited with a forced fumble on a play in the first quarter that led to a UA touchdown. Razorback cornerback Darius Vinnett picked up the loose ball and raced 44 yards for a touchdown.
* He recorded eight tackles against Vanderbilt before racking up 14 tackles against No. 1 USC. Eleven of his 14 stops against the Trojans were of the solo variety.
* Against No. 20 Alabama, Olajubutu made 16 tackles including two tackles for loss (-10).
* He tied for the team lead with eight tackles, including a tackle for loss (-2) in the Hogs’ win over Louisiana-Monroe.
* He set a new career high with 18 tackles, including 12 solo stops, against No. 21 Auburn. He earned two tackles for loss (-10) and one sack (-9) against the Tigers.
BUTU ADDED TO LOMBARDI AWARD WATCH LIST: Arkansas linebacker Sam Olajubutu literally played his way onto the national scene after the Razorbacks’ first four games. The LaGrange, Ga., product was added to the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list on Oct. 3 by The Rotary Club of Houston.
The Rotary Lombardi Award is celebrating its 36th year of honoring the finest linemen in college football. The 2005 winner will be announced on Dec. 7 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Downtown Houston. To be eligible for the Rotary Lombardi Award, a player must play on the line of scrimmage (including tight ends on offensive) or must be a linebacker who lines up within five yards of the football.
An initial list, based on 2004 postseason and 2005 preseason honors, was compiled prior to the start of the season. Olajubutu was one of several players garnering recognition as a mid-season addition.
Olajubutu is the first Razorback to be named to the Lombardi Watch List since offensive tackle Shawn Andrews was one of four Lombardi Award finalists in 2003.
SIMS’ SUPER EFFORT: Junior defensive end Desmond Sims turned in a career-best performance against South Carolina. Sims racked up career highs in tackles (12), tackles for loss (4.5) and sacks (2.5) against the Gamecocks. Sims helped spearhead a defensive effort that yielded only 187 yards of total offense to a USC team that was averaging 325.4 yards per game coming into the contest.
Sims led the Razorbacks with his 12 tackles, including nine solo stops. It was the first double-digit tackle game of his career. He earned 4.5 tackles for loss (-49) and 2.5 sacks (-14). He tallied 2.5 of the Razorbacks’ season-high five sacks.
He forced a fumble on a sack of USC quarterback Blake Mitchell at the Gamecocks’ 30-yard line in the third quarter. Teammate Keith Jackson recovered the fumble for the Razorbacks.
ANDERSON ON A ROLL: Sophomore defensive end Jamaal Anderson is making a nuisance of himself in opposing backfields. Anderson has racked up a total of 10.5 tackles for loss (-58) this season including 8.5 TFL (-47) in the last four games.
He earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors for his performance against Mississippi State. Anderson led the Hogs with eight tackles, including three TFL (-17), one sack (-6), two quarterback hurries and one forced fumble in the Hogs’ win over the Bulldogs. He was the first Razorback defensive player to be honored by the league this season.
ANDERSON MAKES BEST OF FIRST START: Sophomore defensive end Jamaal Anderson made the most of his first career start against No. 4 Georgia. Anderson earned a team-high seven tackles including five solo stops against the Bulldogs. He racked up 2.5 tackles for loss (-9) including a half sack (-2) against the Bulldogs. He recovered a Georgia fumble in the third quarter. The turnover led to a UA field goal.
Anderson took over the starting job when Anthony Brown was lost for the season due to injury.
ACTION JACKSON: Junior defensive tackle Keith Jackson is quickly becoming a nuisance for offenses in the SEC. Jackson is the only Razorback defensive tackle to start every game this season and has picked up his game, especially in the last month.
Jackson has recorded 10 tackles three times in his last five outings. He earned 10 tackles against Ole Miss, seven were of the solo variety including two tackles for loss (-11) and one sack (-9). He also forced a fumble in the Hogs’ victory.
Jackson also tallied a career-high 10 tackles against Auburn and South Carolina earlier this season.
He ranks fourth on the squad with 67 tackles including 5.5 tackles for loss (-28) and 2.5 sacks (-22).
RAZORBACK DEFENSE TIDBITS:
* Arkansas allowed Mississippi State only 44 yards of total offense in the first half of its victory over the Bulldogs. Jerious Norwood recorded a 53-yard run in the first half. Excluding that play, Arkansas held MSU to -9 yards on the other 24 offensive plays of the first half.
* Sophomore Michael Grant had a big day in Arkansas’ win over Mississippi State. Grant recorded three tackles, including two tackles for loss (-15) and a sack (-13), in the victory. Grant also snared his third interception of the season against the Bulldogs.
AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS: Arkansas ranks among the nation’s leaders in a number of special teams categories this season.
The Razorbacks rank second in the nation in kickoff returns with a 28.2 yard per return average. Only Auburn (28.4) ranks ahead of the Hogs in that statistical category. Arkansas also boasts the top kickoff returner in the nation in Felix Jones (33.76).
Arkansas ranks seventh in the nation in net punting averaging 38.5 net yards per punt this season. Only LSU (39.8) ranks ahead of Arkansas in the SEC.
BALSEIRO SPLITTING THE UPRIGHTS: Senior placekicker Chris Balseiro appears to be making the most of his final season in a Razorback uniform. After missing his first attempt of the season from 44 yards, Balseiro has hit 12 of his last 14 field goal attempts including a career-long tying 42-yard field goal against Louisiana-Monroe.
His 80.0 percent (12-15) field goal conversion percentage ranks fifth among league kickers. His average of 1.20 field goals made per game places him third in the league and 40th in the nation.
The Miami, Fla., native has been almost automatic inside 40 yards in his career. He has made 23-of-27 field goal attempts from that range in his career including 10-of-11 from that range in 2005. His only miss this season from that range was on a blocked 38-yard attempt against Auburn.
Overall he has made 23 of his last 28 field goal attempts dating back to 2003.
Balseiro has made 31 of 32 PAT attempts this season. He had converted 33 straight PAT until his first extra point against Louisiana-Monroe was blocked this season. He ranks third in the SEC in kick scoring with an average of 6.7 points per game.
SKINNER HITTING STRIDE: Junior punter Jacob Skinner is hitting his stride as the UA punter. Skinner has averaged more than 40 yards per punt in seven of the Razorbacks’ 10 games this season including in five of his last six games. He garnered a career-high 48.2 average against No. 4 Georgia.
Skinner topped the 40.0 yard average mark seven times in his first two seasons, but has never averaged more than 40 yards for a season. Thus far this season, Skinner has punted 43 times for 1,805 yards for an average of 42.0 yards per kick. He ranks fourth in the SEC and 30th in the nation with that average. The last UA punter to average more than 40.0 yards a punt for the season was Richie Butler (42.5) in 2001.
Skinner has landed 13 punts inside the opponent 20-yard line including at least one in eight of the Razorbacks’ 10 games this season. His towering punts have forced 16 fair catches this season.
Skinner’s performance has helped the Hogs rank seventh in the nation in net punting with an average of 38.5 net yards per punt.
HILLIS MAKING HIS MARK: Sophomore tailback Peyton Hillis is already making his presence felt on UA special teams. Hillis is the Hogs’ primary punt returner and now has added the role of kickoff coverage to his resume.
In the Razorbacks’ 28-17 win over Ole Miss, Hillis made two tackles on the kickoff coverage team holding the Rebels inside their 20-yard line on both kicks. He also returned three punts for 34 yards including a career-long 27 yard return in the third quarter.
Hillis leads the Hogs with a total of 16 punt returns for 165 yards. His 10.3 yards per return average ranks fifth in the SEC and 36th in the nation.
NUTT LEADS EAST INTO ALAMO CITY: Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt will lead an all-star squad representing the East in the 81st annual East-West Shrine Game set for Jan. 21, 2006 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Nutt and Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione will serve as the head coaches of the East and West squads, respectively. The game will be televised by ESPN2 at 3 p.m. CT.
The game, recently relocated to the Lone Star State from San Francisco, Calif., has been played annually for the benefit for the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children since 1923. The event showcases some of the top collegiate senior football players in the country while raising millions of dollars and visibility for Shriners Hospitals.
A total of 25 Razorbacks have participated in the East-West Shrine Game in its history. Nutt will be the first Razorback to coach in the game.
TENURED HOG: Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt is in his eighth season heading the Razorback football program. Nutt already ranks third in school history in length of tenure trailing only Frank Broyles (19) and Fred Thomsen (13) in years at the helm in Fayetteville.
Nutt also ranks as the second-longest tenured coach in the SEC behind only Tennessee’s Philip Fulmer (14). Since Nutt was hired at Arkansas in 1998, 29 other coaches have roamed the sidelines at the other 11 SEC schools combined. Seven of the 12 league schools have made coaching changes since 2002. Florida, Ole Miss, LSU and South Carolina all boast first-year coaches in 2005.
DEAN OF OFFENSIVE COORDINATORS: Houston Nutt also holds the distinction of being the longest-tenured offensive coordinator in the SEC. Nutt has spearheaded the offense and called the plays in all eight seasons with the Razorbacks.
The offensive recipe has obviously been successful as exhibited by the Hogs leading the league in scoring offense over the past three years (2002-04) with an average of 29.8 points per game. In addition, the Razorbacks lead the league in red zone efficiency (83.6%) and rank third in total offense (393.0 yards per game) in that same span.
Nutt has guided the Hogs to offensive success since he arrived in 1998. In the past seven seasons, Arkansas ranks as the No. 1 team in rushing offense (183.3 yards per game) and in turnover margin (+.476 turnovers per game). Arkansas has also been the top scoring offense in the SEC West in that seven-year stretch.
HERRING ARRIVAL: Arkansas will have a new look on defense in 2005 and it will have a new coordinator calling the shots as well. Houston Nutt lured Reggie Herring, the architect of the nation’s top defense last season at North Carolina State, to come to Fayetteville to join the Razorback program.
In 2004, Herring guided the Wolfpack to a dramatic turnaround on the defensive side of the ball. North Carolina State boasted the nation’s top ranking in total defense in 2004 allowing only 221.36 yards per game. In 2003 prior to Herring’s arrival, N.C. State ranked 89th in the country allowing 421.0 yards per contest.
North Carolina State also led the country in pass efficiency defense (91.77) and ranked second in total pass defense (119.0 ypg.). The Wolfpack defense rated ninth in rushing defense (102.36 ypg.) and 25th in the nation in scoring defense (19.82 ppg.).
Prior to his stint at N.C. State, Herring spent time at the collegiate level at Auburn, TCU, and Clemson and in the professional ranks with the Houston Texans. Nutt and Herring first worked together as graduate assistants at Oklahoma State.
As a player, Herring was a three-year starting linebacker at Florida State from 1978-80. While with the Seminoles, he played in three bowl games and was part of teams that finished in the top 15 for three consecutive seasons.
HERRING RANKED AMONG NATION’S BEST: New Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring was recently recognized as one of the top five defensive coordinators in the nation by Rivals.com. In an article published on Aug. 17, Herring was rated tied for fifth along with Penn State’s Tom Bradley in the informal ranking by Andrew Skwara. Skwara noted that Herring made a significant impact on North Carolina State’s defense in 2004 turning them from one of the lowest ranked defenses in the country to the top-ranked defensive unit in college football.
Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster was ranked as the top defensive coordinator in the nation by Rivals followed by Bo Pellini (LSU), Gene Chizik (Texas), Mickey Andrews (Florida State), Herring (Arkansas) and Bradley (Penn State).
HALL OF FAME ROCKER: Arkansas has its own Hall of Famer on the sideline in defensive line coach Tracy Rocker. One of the most decorated defensive linemen in college football history, Rocker won both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award as a senior at Auburn. Last December, Rocker was honored by the National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame in New York City.
In August, he was officially enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. Rocker became the 15th Razorback player or coach to be honored in the College Hall of Fame.
Other Razorback coaches enshrined include head coaches Hugo Bezdek (1954), Frank Broyles (1983) and Bowden Wyatt (1997) as well as assistant coaches Johnny Majors (1987), Barry Switzer (2001), Doug Dickey (2003) and Hayden Fry (2003). Former Razorback players inducted are Wear Schoonover (1962), Clyde Scott (1971), Lance Alworth (1984), Loyd Phillips (1992), Chuck Dicus (1999), Billy Ray Smith Jr. (2000) and Wayne Harris (2004).
Rocker also added to his resume last summer when he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The Atlanta, Ga., native was honored June 12 in a ceremony in Birmingham, Ala.
NEW ADDITION: Arkansas wide receivers coach James Shibest and his wife Diana welcomed a new addition to the Razorback family earlier this fall. Jordyn Grace Shibest was born at 11:02 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 10 at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville. She weighed in at 8 lb, 15 ounces. The Shibests also have a three-year-old son, J.J.
Download: 2005 Arkansas Game Notes – LSU.pdf