FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Southeast Missouri State found out first-hand what the No. 17 ranked Division I-A team in the nation looks like.
Needless to say, pretty good.
Arkansas, taking a break from Southeastern Conference play, laid a 63-7 whipping on the Division I-AA Redhawks on Saturday afternoon in front of a near-capacity homecoming crowd at 72,000-seat Razorback Stadium.
The Razorbacks, who lead the SEC's West Division with a 3-0 record, improved to 5-1 overall.
Southeast, which was paid $300,000 for the shellacking -- the money goes toward the university's general athletic department revenue and not specifically the football program -- is 3-3.
"It was about what we expected," Southeast coach Tony Samuel said. "They're a good team, and we were overmatched."
The loss matched Southeast's most lopsided defeat since the program moved up to Division I-AA in 1991. Southeast also was beaten 63-7 at Division I-A Marshall in 2000.
"They were good," Southeast wide receiver Oge Oge said. "You don't get too many chances to play the No. 17 team in the nation."
Arkansas scored early and often -- and in a variety of ways by a variety of players, including some who don't normally reach the end zone -- against the outmanned Redhawks.
Third-string tailback Michael Smith, a redshirt freshman, rushed for 116 yards on just eight carries and scored his first two collegiate touchdowns.
"With Darren [McFadden] and Felix [Jones], I know I won't get that many opportunities so I'm just trying to show the coaches that I'm ready whenever they need me," Smith said. "I was pleased. I know I can contribute when I get a chance."
Freshman receiver Damian Williams also scored his first collegiate touchdown, as did senior defensive tackle Keith Jackson, on a 69-yard interception return. Second-string quarterback Casey Dick threw his first two TD passes of the season.
"We just had more depth than they did and we were able to play almost everybody on the sideline," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "Those guys deserve that. They work hard in practice so we wanted to make sure they got playing time."
After Arkansas had two runners surpass 100 yards during last week's 27-10 win at then-No. 2 Auburn, it stood to reason that Southeast would have a tough time slowing down the Razorbacks.
Form held in that area as the Razorbacks again had two backs rush for more than 100 yards -- although one was not the player many might have expected.
McFadden, who leads the SEC in rushing yards per game, scored from 52 yards out on Arkansas' first offensive play less than 3 minutes into the game. But McFadden spent most of the day on the bench, giving other tailbacks a chance to shine. He finished with 71 yards on just six carries.
Felix Jones, who joined McFadden in topping 100 yards against Auburn, gained 106 yards on only five attempts Saturday.
Arkansas rushed for 381 yards, averaging a healthy 9.3 yards per attempt, as 12 players carried the ball for the Razorbacks.
"They've got a very good offensive line, and when you have those running backs behind them, it's a tough deal," Samuel said.
The Razorbacks finished with 530 total yards compared to 144 for Southeast, which rushed for just 31 yards.
Southeast had 63 first-half yards and allowed 309 as the Arkansas led 42-0 at the intermission.
It was 14-0 before the Razorbacks scored 28 points over the final 9 minutes of the second quarter.
The play that got the Arkansas machine rolling was turned in by Jackson, a 296-pound defensive tackle who foiled a Southeast trick play.
After Monroe Hicks recovered a muffed Arkansas punt return at his own 49-yard line, Southeast drove to the Arkansas 25.
Then, facing third-and-14 from the 30, quarterback Kevin Ballatore threw a lateral pass to wide receiver Antonio Scaife, who tried to pass back to Ballatore.
But Jackson sniffed out the play and picked off the pass. He rumbled 69 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead with 8:37 remaining in the half.
"I saw [Scaife] run outside with the ball and the quarterback spring to the other side, so I took a chance of it being a throwback," Jackson said.
After making the interception, Jackson said, "I saw the quarterback come in front of me so I just gave him a stiff arm and kept running."
The Razorbacks did not stop running until they built a 49-0 lead early in the third quarter. Southeast finally broke the shutout on tailback John Radney's 8-yard touchdown burst with 5:02 remaining in the third period, but Arkansas added two more scores to complete the rout.
Ark--McFadden 52 run (J.Davis kick), 12:16.
Ark--McFadden 2 run (J.Davis kick), 4:17.
Ark--K.Jackson 69 interception return (J.Davis kick), 8:37.
Ark--F.Jones 85 run (J.Davis kick), 5:16.
Ark--Mic.Smith 10 run (J.Davis kick), 3:30.
Ark--Mic.Smith 11 run (J.Davis kick), :15.
Ark--Da.Williams 4 pass from Mustain (J.Davis kick), 9:12.
SE--Radney 8 run (Schermann kick), 5:02.
Ark--Baker 6 pass from Dick (J.Davis kick), 2:54.
Ark--Crawford 15 pass from Dick (J.Davis kick), 14:54.
|Time of Possession||30:04||29:56|
RUSHING--Southeast, C.Jones 4-29, T.Anderson 5-10, Radney 3-10, Peterson 4-1, Grassi 4-0, Mosley 3-(minus 19). Arkansas, Mic.Smith 8-116, F.Jones 5-106, McFadden 6-71, H.Smith 7-37, F.Jackson 4-24, Hillis 4-23, Wommack 2-5, Da.Williams 1-5, Crawford 1-2, Petrus 1-1, Dick 1-(minus 2), Fish 1-(minus 7).
PASSING--Southeast, Ballatore 8-28-2-108, Mosley 1-4-0-5, Scaife 0-1-1-0. Arkansas, Mustain 5-13-0-51, Dick 8-9-0-98, Ro.Johnson 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING--Southeast, Oge 3-48, C.Jones 2-6, B.Simpson 1-44, Boyack 1-14, Scaife 1-5, Goodson 1-(minus 4). Arkansas, Monk 4-57, Davie 2-13, Da.Williams 2-13, Ro.Johnson 1-22, McFadden 1-18, Crawford 1-15, Baker 1-6, Hillis 1-5.