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November 28, 2007
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
QB Colt Brennan, Hawaii
QB Pat White, West Virginia
QB Chase Daniel, Missouri
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