November 28, 2007

McFadden makes statement against LSU

Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas

Houston Nutt's last on-field act as Arkansas' coach was to give his star player one last push for the sport's most coveted trophy.

Nutt may have resigned his position with the Razorbacks, but in his final on-field TV interview, he held the position that Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden is a no-brainer for the Heisman Trophy.

Throughout the season, Nutt had dropped the name of 1988 Heisman winner Barry Sanders – who played for Oklahoma State while Nutt was an assistant there –in describing McFadden.

Still, the loudest statement came from McFadden himself.

McFadden never dropped out of the Heisman hunt, but his performance Saturday appears to have made it a neck-and-neck race between him and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

McFadden ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns and passed for another touchdown in the Hogs' 50-48 triple-overtime win over LSU.

In knocking the Tigers out of the national-championship hunt, McFadden became Rivals.com's National Player of the Week.

At least one other coach agreed with Nutt's postgame assertion that McFadden should win the Heisman.

"Certainly, he had a Heisman performance," LSU coach Les Miles said.

Closing in on the year anniversary of his trip to New York as last season's Heisman runner-up, McFadden finished the regular season with 1,725 yards, the fourth-highest total in SEC history.

The Razorbacks returned to the "Wild Hog" formation with McFadden at quarterback to keep LSU off-balance. His touchdown runs of 16 yards in the second quarter, 73 yards in the third quarter and 9 yards in the second overtime came on direct snaps. He added a 24-yard touchdown pass to fullback Peyton Hillis off a play-action fake.

"We had been watching film of LSU and saw they had weaknesses against running quarterbacks," McFadden said, "so it was something we planned on doing all week."

Neither McFadden nor Tebow have games left before the Heisman is awarded Dec. 8. West Virginia's Pat White and Missouri's Chase Daniel have some ground to make up in the race, but each plays this Saturday.

OTHER NOMINEES FOR PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

DE Lawrence Jackson, USC
He led the effort against Arizona State on Thanksgiving with four sacks and a forced fumble in a 44-24 win.


QB Colt Brennan, Hawaii
Brennan brought Hawaii closer to a BCS bowl bid and an undefeated season by going 40-of-52 for 495 yards and five touchdowns (he also threw two interceptions) in a 39-27 win over Boise State. Brennan also ran for a score.


QB Pat White, West Virginia
White helped erase any doubt about the top team in the Big East with 186 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a rout of Connecticut. He also passed for 107 yards and touchdown in the 66-21 victory.


QB Chase Daniel, Missouri
Missouri is in position for its first Big 12 title and a spot in the national title game thanks to a 36-28 win over Kansas. Daniel was 40-of-49 for 361 yards and three touchdowns in the win.




Harvey Unga
Running back
BYU



Unga's first game against rival Utah was a memorable one.

Unga, a redshirt freshman, scored the game-winning touchdown with 38 seconds remaining to give the Cougars a 17-10 win and a second consecutive Mountain West title.

With 141 rushing yards, he became the first freshman in BYU history with 1,000 rushing yards. He has 1,050 with one game left.

OTHER NOMINEES:

RB Greg Little, North Carolina
Maybe Little – who recently was moved from wide receiver – has a future at running back. He ran for 154 yards and the game-winning touchdown in a 20-14 win over Duke. He also had a touchdown catch.


WR Marcus Barnett, Cincinnati
Barnett caught 11 passes for 127 yards and three touchdowns in the regular-season finale against Syracuse, giving him 21 catches for 337 yards and five touchdowns in Cincinnati's past two games.


WR Brennan Marion, Tulsa
Marion helped Tulsa into the Conference USA Championship Game with seven catches for 244 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-43 win over Rice.


LB Rolando McClain, Alabama
The Tide lost their sixth in a row to Auburn, but not because of McClain. He had 15 tackles and an interception in a 17-10 loss.



Bryan Stinespring
Offensive Coordinator
Virginia Tech



Two quarterbacks are better than one nowadays for Virginia Tech. Stinespring found a way to get the most of Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor, rotating them throughout the Hokies' 33-21 win over Virginia.

Tailback Branden Ore rushed for a season-high 147 yards and defensive end Chris Long was neutralized for most of the game in what was the finest day of the season for the Hokies' offense.

OTHER NOMINEES:

David Lee, Arkansas
LSU's stout defense had no answer for McFadden and the "Wild Hog" formation as Arkansas amassed 513 yards and gained 6.7 yards per play against the Tigers in Baton Rouge.


Dave Christensen, Missouri
Only Nebraska and Oklahoma State had scored more than two offensive touchdowns on Kansas. Missouri did that the first half and added two more in the third quarter in the 36-28 win.


Nick Holt, USC
Holt's plan capitalized on Arizona State's leaky pass protection. The Trojans beat up Sun Devils quarterback Rudy Carpenter to the tune of six sacks and also held Arizona State to 16 rushing yards.


Brent Venables, Oklahoma
Oklahoma continued to dominate the Bedlam Game with a defensive effort. Oklahoma State's powerful offense was held to 299 yards in the 49-17 Sooners win.




 

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