|Auburn shuts down McFadden in win over Arkansas|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 14 October 2007 23:44|
That's how tough Auburn's defense was.
The No. 18 Tigers held McFadden to 43 yards rushing in their 9-7 win over Arkansas on Saturday night. It was McFadden's first game under 100 yards this season.
McFadden entered needing 32 yards to pass Ben Cowins on the Razorbacks' career rushing list. He often runs that far in a quarter - but this time it took him until the second half.
``Auburn came out ready to play tonight,'' said McFadden, last year's Heisman Trophy runner-up. ``We didn't have our heads in the game and we were not ready to play.''
Auburn won it on Wes Byrum's 20-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining, but the freshman kicker wouldn't have had that opportunity if not for the Tigers' defense. Playing without injured defensive end Quentin Groves, Auburn (5-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) shut out the Razorbacks until late in the fourth quarter.
``We made up our mind,'' linebacker Tray Blackmon said. ``We were going to come out here and we were going to play defense.''
Auburn set the tone early. Two of McFadden's first three runs were for losses. Felix Jones wasn't much of a factor either for Arkansas, finishing with 42 yards on only six carries.
Arkansas (3-3, 0-3) finally scored with 1:36 remaining, taking a 7-6 lead on Casey Dick's 13-yard touchdown pass to Lucas Miller. But the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, and after the Razorbacks kicked again, Brad Lester returned the ball to the Auburn 47.
The Tigers moved into field goal range on a 30-yard catch-and-run by Robert Dunn to the Arkansas 12.
``I knew there was enough time,'' quarterback Brandon Cox said. ``Once our return team got it out near the 50 there was no question in my mind. I knew we would get it done.''
Auburn is now tied for first in the SEC West with LSU and Alabama. Auburn plays at No. 5 LSU this week.
Arkansas entered the season hoping for a second straight trip to the Southeastern Conference title game. Now the Razorbacks are one of two teams without a conference win. The other, Mississippi, hosts Arkansas this week.
Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt has been under increasing pressure - planes have been spotted towing anti-Nutt banners before the last two games.
``The contract they have given me, it's real clear: It says 2012,'' Nutt said Sunday. ``It doesn't say you're gone 2007, 2008. It says 2012.''
Auburn appeared to be in trouble last month after losses to South Florida and Mississippi State. The Tigers have won four straight since.
Byrum also kicked a game-winning field goal at Florida. He missed two kicks against Arkansas but still accounted for all of the Tigers' scoring. He made field goals of 22 and 38 yards in addition to the last one.
Cox finished 13-of-23 for 101 yards. Ben Tate ran for 91 yards, and Lester added 89 for the Tigers. Auburn held the ball for almost 36 minutes, but couldn't score a touchdown.
The Tigers came close to the end zone a few times, including in the third quarter when Lester fumbled and the Razorbacks recovered at their own 6. Auburn was 1-of-13 on third down. Arkansas wasn't much better at 3-of-13.
``We prevailed. That was about as ugly as it comes, but that is Auburn football,'' Tigers coach Tommy Tuberville said. ``That was our philosophy coming in to run it and see if we could wear their defensive front seven down. We did that.''