Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Updated: January 2, 3:46 PM ET
McFadden quiet in what might have been his Arkansas finale
DALLAS -- Darren McFadden lunged into the end zone on fourth
down, then dropped the ball and walked away slowly.
It might have been his final touchdown at
Arkansas (No. 25 AP) -- but there
was nothing to celebrate.
"We had a bad game," McFadden said. "You don't want to lose a
bowl game. You only have fun when you win a bowl game."
McFadden ran for 105 quiet yards Tuesday in Arkansas'
38-7 loss to Missouri (No. 6 BCS, No. 7 AP) in the Cotton Bowl. McFadden, a junior,
can turn pro now. He said he'll talk with family before making any
announcement about his future.
If he does leave, he'll do so as perhaps the greatest player in
school history, but this was a New Year's Day to forget.
"They did a great job. They came out there working hard. They
wanted it more than us," McFadden said. "We just didn't get
going. Give them credit, they were ready to play."
McFadden, the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2006 and 2007, broke
free for a 19-yard run and a 33-yard kickoff return in the second
quarter. Those made for nice highlights, but nothing like the
electrifying sprints that have marked his career.
Instead, it was Missouri's running back who stole the show. Tony
Temple ran for 281 yards and four touchdowns.
"When you watch a running back do that against you it's hard to
watch," McFadden said.
Arkansas was shut out until late in the third quarter, when
McFadden scored from 3 yards out. The Razorbacks trailed 28-0 at
Every time Arkansas made progress, something went wrong -- often
within the same play. The Razorbacks appeared to have caught
Missouri off guard in the first quarter with a fake punt. Instead
the play was nullified because of an Arkansas timeout, and when the
Razorbacks tried another fake immediately afterward, it was
Interim coach Reggie Herring was asked afterward who called
"That's useless information right now. It wasn't me," Herring
said. "I'm thinking of a Dr. Seuss poem right now. It was who? Who
was Mr. Who? It was Who? Who's on third? I don't think that's
important right now. To be honest with you, I don't think that had
anything to do with the overall play of us all day long."
It was hardly Arkansas' only mistake, that's for sure. In the
second half, the Razorbacks turned the ball over five times, often
just as they appeared to be building momentum.
Felix Jones took a screen pass 41 yards, then fumbled the ball
away. Casey Dick later had a pass intercepted and returned for a
touchdown to make it 28-0.
Arkansas' Adrian Davis intercepted Chase Daniel early in the
fourth quarter, but after a return to near midfield, Davis fumbled
and Missouri got the ball back. A few plays later, Davis recovered
a Missouri fumble. Less than a minute after that, Dick completed a
20-yard pass to Peyton Hillis, who lost a fumble after the catch.
"It's very frustrating to move the ball 20 or 30 yards down
field and cough it up in clutch situations," Hillis said. "We had
chances to come back."
The Razorbacks later fumbled away a punt, capping a stretch in
which the teams combined for five turnovers in 12 plays.
All that sloppiness limited any chance McFadden had to make an
impact. He didn't have a carry in the fourth quarter.
McFadden did do enough to move into second place on the
Southeastern Conference's single-season and career rushing lists.
He's run for 1,830 yards this season and 4,590 for his career.
"I don't know about Darren's game today, but Darren McFadden is
a great football player and a great competitor," Herring said.
"He's done a lot for this program, and regardless of what Darren
did today, he's a class act and he's a great individual."
In the middle of the postgame news conference, a moderator asked
reporters to ask Jones and Hillis questions, because the two needed
to leave the media tent.
"I've got to get out of here too," McFadden said.
Pretty soon, he might make a similar announcement in a different
context. If so, this was a disappointing note to end on.