McFadden brutalizes USC for SEC-record 323 rushing yards
Published on 11/04/07BY TRAVIS HANEYThe Post and Courier
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. — Hands down, South Carolina's offense had its best effort all season here Saturday night.
Two, actually: Their names are Darren
McFadden and Felix Jones.
For the second straight week, a spirited Gamecocks effort after halftime wasn't enough and Arkansas — led by those
two backfield thoroughbreds — held on for a 48-36 victory at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Behind McFadden's SEC-record 323 yards on the ground, Arkansas rushed for a brain-bending 541 yards (650 total yards).
Oh, and McFadden threw for a touchdown, too.
"They did whatever they wanted to do," South Carolina defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix said. "We didn't do our part of
the deal — and that's stop them."
The Razorbacks (6-3, 2-3 SEC) had 292 rushing yards at the half — and that was before McFadden really got going.
"It's pretty amazing," USC end Eric
The Gamecocks had chopped Arkansas' lead — which ballooned to as many as 18 points — to 42-36 when McFadden
ripped off an 80-yard run that stomped USC's spirit and chances of a comeback.
"You can accuse (Arkansas coach) Houston (Nutt) of trying to run up the score on the ground," USC coach Steve Spurrier
said, joking. "Nah, I guess you can't really do that, can you?"
South Carolina (6-4, 3-4) is now mired in a three-game losing streak with two tough tests — Florida and Clemson,
both in Columbia — left on the schedule.
Forget about the BCS. Forget about the SEC East. The Gamecocks, who were No. 6 in the country just three short weeks ago,
are now playing for their postseason lives.
With so many SEC teams in bowl contention — up to 11 could win six games — some believe seven wins will be
necessary to find a postseason home. Getting to seven is now a chore.
Good news: The Gamecocks will never have to see Jones or McFadden again since they're likely NFL-bound after their junior
The first half belonged to Jones. He had touchdown runs of 72 and 40 yards to finish the first two quarters with 134 yards
on seven carries (19.1 a run). He ended up with 163 yards.
"Did anyone else get a chance to run?" Spurrier said. "I don't know how to explain it, other than they're better than us."
McFadden, slowed by sore ribs in recent weeks, had 106 yards before the half, one that saw the Hogs go past their SEC-leading
287 rushing yards a game.
But he had a bunch more afterward.
Down 28-10 at the half, South Carolina did essentially the same thing it did in a 21-0 hole last week at Tennessee (combined,
USC has trailed 66-16 at the half in the three losses.)
The Gamecocks kicked a field goal on their opening possession of the half. Then, safety Emanuel Cook recovered Ryan Succop's
onside kick to really swing momentum in USC's favor.
Tight end Jared Cook hauled in a Blake Mitchell 21-yard pass to make it 28-20. Mitchell finished the game 27-for-51 for
364 yards and a pair of touchdowns with no interceptions.
The teams traded scores at a frenetic pace, leaving USC down 42-27 to begin the final quarter.
Arkansas stopped the Gamecocks on a fourth-down try to begin the quarter, but McFadden botched a snap and knocked it through
the end zone for a safety.
South Carolina set off on a 13-play drive, capped with a Cory Boyd 1-yard run, to get USC to within six.
USC needed a stop. But, instead, they got more McFadden.
With Cook, the run-stopper at safety, out with a left ankle injury, McFadden popped through the line and blazed past a
tiring defense for the 80-yard run.
It wasn't something new: McFadden had 406 rushing yards, including a 200-yard day last year, in his first two meetings
He one-upped himself Saturday. And Jones wasn't bad, either.
"It's embarrassing. It's sad," Nix said. "We didn't compete."
Asked if it's something that USC can rebound from, Nix said, "We'll see."
Reach Travis Haney at email@example.com.
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