FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Anchored by a pair of 100-yard rushing performances from Darren McFadden and Felix Jones and a perfect field-goal kicking night by freshman Alex Tejada, the Arkansas Razorbacks downed the Trojans of Troy University, 46-26, in the 2007 football season opener.
McFadden and Jones combined for 280 yards on the ground and accounted for four touchdowns on the night. This marks the fifth time the duo of McFadden and Jones both rushed for at least 100 yards in the same game.
McFadden’s ascent up the UA career rushing lists continues. With tonight’s 151-yard rushing performance, the Little Rock native sits in fourth place on UA’s all-time career rushing list with 2,911 yards. Also, his touchdown in the second quarter moved him into a tie with Cedric Cobbs for fourth with 26 career rushing touchdowns.
The Hogs jumped out to 13-0 lead following a McFadden touchdown, a 12-yard off-tackle rush into the end zone, at the 14:54 mark in the second quarter. The score capped a seven-play, 67-yard drive.
Troy responded with a scoring drive of its own that cut the Arkansas lead, 13-7. Trojan receiver Gary Banks hauled in a 28-yard completion from quarterback Omar Haugabook down to the three-yard line. Two plays later, Troy running back Kenny Cattouse scored on a one-yard run up the middle.
On the ensuing kickoff, junior Felix Jones swung the momentum back into the favor of the Razorbacks with a 90-yard return for a score. It was the third career kickoff return for a touchdown for the junior standout. Jones finished the night with 144 return yards.
On the next drive, Troy responded with an 11-play drive that covered 83 yards and ended with a Haugabook 17-yard touchdown strike to Gerald Tate that cut the Arkansas lead back to six, 20-14. Haugabook accounted for 69 yards on the drive, including a draw for 11 yards on third down to keep the series alive.
After stopping the Arkansas offense, Troy looked to cut its deficit further, but a Matt Hewitt interception, the first of his career, halted the Trojans drive with 5:24 left in the first half.
Tejada padded the Arkansas lead with his third field goal of the half, connecting on a 28 yarder with: 44 remaining in the second quarter giving the Hogs a nine-point advantage. A 43-yard kickoff return by Troy’s DuJuan Harris gave the Trojans good field position at the end of the half. The Trojans capitalized with a 42-yard field goal from Greg Whibbs as time expired. The Razorbacks led at the half 23-17.
On its second possession of the second half, Arkansas put the ball in the hands of its backfield and received its usual result. After McFadden gained nine yards on the first play of the drive, Jones took over the load with 54 yards on three rushes. The final run saw the Tulsa, Okla., native take the handoff and motor 44 yards up the right side of the field for his second score of the game. The rush put Jones over 100 yards for the game and eighth time of his career.
The Razorbacks stopped Troy on its next drive and following a seven-yard punt by the Trojans’ Adrian Vera, Arkansas took possession in Troy territory. On the first play of the drive, Arkansas lined up in the WildHog formation. McFadden took the snap and found freshman Crosby Tuck open for a 42-yard touchdown completion at the 5:32 mark in the third quarter. It was McFadden’s fourth—and longest—touchdown pass of his career.
With a 40-20 advantage, Arkansas tacked on its final touchdown of the night. After a 48-yard rush to the two-yard line, Michael Smith finished off the drive with a short touchdown run to put the Hogs ahead by 26.
Troy backup quarterback Tanner Jones added a two-yard touchdown run at the end of regulation to make the final score 46-26 in favor of the Hogs.
On the first play of the season from scrimmage, Jones took a handoff on a reverse for a 40-yard gain. After the offense moved the ball to the Troy’s 18 yard line, Tejada connected on a 35-yard field goal to end the drive for the Razorbacks.
The defense stopped Troy on its first drive and forced them to a three-and-out, which gave the Razorbacks the ball back. Another Tejada field goal, this time from 23 yards out, put Arkansas ahead 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.
With four successful attempts in his debut, Tejada became the first Arkansas kicker with four fields in a game since Chris Balseiro’s performance in the 2003 Independence Bowl. Tejada’s only miss of the night came when an extra-point attempt hit off the upright.
Junior quarterback Casey Dick ended the night completing 11 of his 20 pass attempts for 108 yards.