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Five Things We Learned This Weekend

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Five Things We Learned This Weekend

Five Things We Learned This Weekend

1) That Darren McFadden is back (not that he ever left). He started the season as the undisputed player to beat for the 2007 Heisman Trophy, but the way these work, McFadden faded from the discussion as his Razorbacks faded from national relevancy with three early losses. It’s not like D-Mac had suddenly lost his supreme abilities; it’s that his team lost some football games. (Not to mention 122-yard games against Chattanooga isn’t the kind of stuff that sends voters’ hearts racing.)But following McFadden’s epic performance in Saturday night’s 48-36 win over No. 23 South Carolina, the Heisman electorate is going to have some serious re-thinking to do. Dennis Dixon, Tim Tebow, Matt Ryan (whose brief moment in the sun ended in pretty humbling fashion Saturday night), Chase Daniel -– all are putting up big numbers every week for teams in conference and/or national-title contention, which has pretty much become the Heisman model over the past decade or so. But the award is supposed to go to the nation’s "most outstanding player" — and what McFadden did Saturday night was the dictionary definition of "outstanding."The stat line: 35 carries for an SEC-record 323 yards and a touchdown. Plus, a 1-yard touchdown while lined up in Razorbacks’ slick WildHog formation. Amazingly, teammate Felix Jones added 163 yards and three touchdowns of his own. And Arkansas needed every one of those yards to fend off the 6-3 Gamecocks, whose quarterback, Blake Mitchell, was having his own way with the Razorbacks’ porous defense. Afterward, coach Houston Nutt likened McFadden to Barry Sanders. Eric Dickerson is another common comparison for the junior, who is now third nationally in rushing yards (1,316) — despite sharing carries with fellow 1,000-yard rusher Jones (1,026). It’s too early to say whether McFadden will win the trophy, but I predict the choice coming down to an extremely difficult decision between him and Oregon’s Dixon, a guy who’s putting up his own ridiculous numbers (68 percent completions, 20 touchdowns, three interceptions, plus 549 rushing yards and eight rushing TDs) for a team that’s likely going to finish with a much better record.



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