Offense Converts Big Plays but Defense Strong in Scrimmage

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – There were offensive highlights, such as the running of Michael Smith, the passing of Nathan Dick and the kicking of Jeremy Davis and Alex Tejada, but for the most part the defense carried the day in Arkansas’ first major football scrimmage of the season.

The Razorbacks ran through a 93-play scrimmage Saturday night in Donald W. Reynolds Stadium, not including punting and kicking.

The defense allowed just 139 yards on 49 carries, 2.8 yards per carry, and two touchdowns. Arkansas’ quarterbacks combined to complete 19-of-44 passes for 185 yards for three touchdowns with just one interception.

The defense, led by freshman Freddy Burton with seven tackles, and end Damario Ambrose and safety Kevin Woods with six each, recorded two sacks and 12 tackles for 35 yards in losses.

Tackle Ernest Mitchell had four tackles for 13 yards in losses and five total stops. Linebacker Freddy Fairchild had two tackles for four yards in losses and three total stops, and both of end Donnell Sanders’ tackles were behind the line for three yards in losses. Linebacker Wendel Davis had a nine-yard sack and tackle Charles Alexander a five-yarder.

“I thought the first-team offensive line and first-team defensive line were impressive,” head coach Houston Nutt said. “The defensive line played well even without Marcus Harrison, Antwain Robinson and Chris Wade, so guys like Ernest Mitchell had to step up.”

Offensively, backs Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis were in black jerseys, along with quarterback Casey Dick, and not allowed to be hit. In limited time, McFadden, Jones and Hillis combined for six carries for 25 yards with McFadden scoring on a nine-yard run.

Freshman Torian Wilkins got the most work with 17 carries for 41 yards. Smith was a bright spot with 59 yards on nine carries, including a six-yard touchdown.

Casey Dick completed 4-of-10 passes for 30 yards with one touchdown and an interception. The touchdown was a five-yarder over the middle to tight end Andrew Davie. Backup Nathan Emert was 4-of-17 for 11 yards.

Nathan Dick, playing mostly with the third-team offense against the third-team defense, was 8-of-10 for 116 yards with two scores. His touchdowns covered 34 yards to freshman flanker Crosby Tuck down the left sideline and 28 yards to freshman flanker Carlton Salters down the right sideline.

“I liked how Nathan Dick led the third team offense today,” Nutt said. “He showed some good leadership in the huddle and threw the ball well.”

Freshman Brian Reader of Prunedale, Calif., was 2-of-4 passing for 21 yards.

Junior flanker John Aaron Rees had three receptions for 40 yards while sophomore tight end Joseph Henry had three for 27. Tuck had two for 42 and Salters two for 35.

“The offense really missed Marcus Monk, but the line play of Jonathan Luigs, Robert Felton and Nate Garner was good,” Nutt said.

In the specialty areas, Davis, a junior, averaged 43.8 yards on four punts while sophomore Mitchell Smith averaged 39.8 on five.

Davis and Tejada, a freshman, were each 7-of-8 on field goals. Davis connected from 30, 35, 32, 39, 46, 33 and 37 yards. Tejada hit field goals of 30, 35, 43, 32, 46, 33 and 37 yards while missing from 39.

“Alex Tejada has had a great last couple of days and has been kicking with a lot of confidence,” Nutt said. “We are not ready to name a starter quite yet. We are going to let them battle a little longer, but both kicked well today.”

Download: 8-11-07 scrimmage stats.pdf