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Arkansas Report Card vs. FIU
The Morning News/Razorback Central
Posted Oct 28, 2007
Quarterbacks — B Former Shiloh Christian quarterback Nathan Emert looked relatively comfortable filling in for starter Casey Dick after he was injured early in the second quarter. The offense didn’t stall with Emert behind center.
He completed 13 of 25 passes for a career-high 154 yards, and he connected with wide receiver
on a 13-yard touchdown pass. Before getting injured, Dick was 4-for-6 for 36 yards with a costly interception in the end zone.
Running Backs — A-
Neither Darren McFadden nor Felix Jones managed to rush for 100 yards against Florida International, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad day for the backfield. McFadden had a career-high four touchdown runs, and Michael Smith broke off an 81-yard TD in the final minute. But it was fullback Peyton Hillis who stood out with his team-high six catches for 77 yards.
Wide Receivers — C
Marcus Monk’s return to the starting lineup looked promising. The senior, who has been sidelined with a right knee injury, caught two passes for 19 yards and a touchdown. But Carlton Salters and Reggie Fish were the only other wide receivers with a reception. They combined for just nine yards on two catches.
Offensive Line — B
Arkansas’ offensive line got the job done, but there were some noticeable breakdowns. McFadden and Jones couldn’t find enough holes to run through, and Dick was injured after the front line allowed an FIU safety to take a free shot on him.
Defensive Line — B-
Arkansas’ defensive line got off to a good start when defensive end Adrian Davis recovered a fumble on the second play from scrimmage. But the front line missed too many tackles and allowed FIU quarterback Wayne Younger to scramble out of the pocket and pick up long runs. Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring was not pleased with the effort.
Linebackers — B
Middle linebacker Weston Dacus finished second on the team with seven tackles, and he recorded one of Arkansas’ three sacks. Freddie Fairchild and Elston Forte each also had a tackle for loss, but the linebackers as a whole didn’t leave much of an impression.
Secondary — A+
It’s hard to argue with a season-high five interceptions. Backup safety Rashaad Johnson intercepted Younger twice, and he nearly got a third one. Cornerbacks Jerell Norton and Michael Grant each had an interception, as did free safety Kevin Woods. In addition, the secondary limited Younger to just 9 of 26 passing for 93 yards and a touchdown. Not bad.
Special Teams — B
Kicker Alex Tejada redeemed himself by having a good day against FIU. The former Springdale High star connected on all three of his field-goal attempts of 32, 42 and 20 yards. He also made seven extra points. The most obvious mistakes, though, were a fumble by McFadden on a kickoff return and an illegal block penalty that negated a long punt return by Norton.
Coaching — B+
Arkansas coach Houston Nutt and his staff should get credit for making sure that the Razorbacks avoided a repeat of Tennessee-Chattanooga. The players were ready, the offense took advantage of good field position and the defense forced seven turnovers. Herring also did a good job in the second half of containing Younger. It was not a sloppy showing overall.
Wide Receivers — D
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