FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Darren McFadden got things started, Keith Jackson, Felix Jones and Michael Smith kept it going, and No. 17 Arkansas posted a63-7 victory over Southeast Missouri State on Saturday in front of a crowd of 72,453 in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The win improves Arkansas’ record to 5-1 and the Razorbacks have won five straight for the first time since 2002 when the Hogs won six straight. SEMO drops to 3-3.
The Hogs also won on the birthday of head coach Houston Nutt, who turned 49 on Saturday, and improved to 49-32-4 all-time at Homecoming.
Jones and Smith each topped the 100-yard mark, giving Arkansas two runners with more than 100 yards in consecutive games for the first time in school history.
In last week’s win at No. 2 Auburn, McFadden ran for 148 yards and a score on 28 carries and Jones had 104 yards and a TD on 13 attempts.
On Saturday, Smith had 116 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries, and Jones had 106 yards and a touchdown on only five carries. McFadden finished with 71 yards and two touchdowns on just six attempts. The trio combined for 293 yards and five touchdowns on 19 rushes.
It wasn’t all running, though. Mitch Mustain threw a touchdown pass and Casey Dick came in and threw two.
For the game, UA had 381 yards rushing and 530 total. Defensively, Arkansas limited SEMO to 144 total yards. The Redhawks had 31 yards on 23 rushes and completed nine-of-33 passes for 113 yards.
Mustain was five-of-13 for 51 yards and Dick eight-of-nine for 98.
Arkansas’ defense forced a three-and-out on SEMO’s first three possessions.
Meanwhile, McFadden got the Hogs rolling, going around the left corner and breaking several tackles on a 52-yard touchdown run on Arkansas’ first play from scrimmage.
Two possessions later, McFadden capped a 37-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown. Felix Jones had a 12-yard run on the drive and Mitch Mustain a 15-yard completion to Marcus Monk. Monk was the top receiver for UA with four receptions for 57 yards.
The Redhawks didn’t get their first first down until the 2:40 mark of the first period when Kevin Ballatore hit Oge Oge for a 12-yard gain to the SEMO 28.
That drive stalled at the 43 and the Redhawks were forced to punt.
Two possessions later, Arkansas fumbled a punt return and SEMO took over at its 49 with 11:10 left in the second quarter. Six plays later, tackle Keith Jackson intercepted a receiver throw back pass by Antonio Scaife in the right flat. He shoved the quarterback, Ballatore, out of the way and rumbled down the sideline for a 69-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
The teams traded possessions and, with Casey Dick at quarterback, UA took over at its 11. Jones gained four yards on first down and on second down broke through the right side of the line and sprinted down the sideline for an 85-yard touchdown and a 28-0 lead with 5:16 left in the half.
The run ties Aubrey Fowler for the fourth-longest rushing touchdown in school history. Fowler had an 85-yarder against SMU in 1946.
On SEMO’s following possession, Elston Forte returned an interception 15 yards to the Redhawk 25.
Dick passed 15 yards to London Crawford and after an incompletion, Michael Smith ran in from 10 yards out for a 35-0 lead.
After another three-and-out by the Hog defense, Dick led UA’s two-minute offense on an 80-yard scoring drive in 1:16, and pushed the lead to 42-0 on Smith’s 11-yard score with 15 seconds left in the half. Dick had completions of 24 and nine yards to Monk, and a nine-yarder to Damian Williams. Smith also had a 27-yard run on the drive.
By the time the half ended, the Hogs led 42-0, had 225 yards rushing, had two interceptions and had limited the Redhawks to 14 yards on 14 rushes and 63 total yards.
The 42 points in the half are the most for the Razorbacks in a half since scoring 42 in the first two quarters of the 63-13 win over New Mexico State in 2004.
SEMO head coach Tony Samuel was the head coach at NMSU in 2004.
It was more of the same early in the second half. Arkansas drove 67 yards in 13 plays and scored on the opening possession with Mustain passing four yards to Williams. Smith had carries of 17 and 11 yards on the drive, and Peyton Hillis had four carries for 23 yards.
Southeast Missouri got on the board on its ensuing possession when John Radney scored from eight yards out. A 44-yard Ballatore-to-Brandon Simpson completion to the Arkansas eight set up the score.
The Razorbacks answered immediately when Smith returned the kickoff 48 yards to the SEMO 27. Dick passed for seven yards to Andrew Davie to the 20, Smith ran for 16 yards and after a sack Dick found Chris Baker in the left corner of the end zone for a six-yard score and a 56-7 lead with 2:54 left in the third quarter.
UA responded with the last score of the day. After forcing another three-and-out, Arkansas moved from its 39 to the Redhawk 15 early in the fourth period where Dick hit Crawford for the touchdown, capping a four-play, 61-yard drive.
The Razorbacks play host to Ole Miss next week at 11:30 a.m. in a game televised by Lincoln Financial.