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2007 Arkansas vs. LSU: Darren McFadden Feared No Evil in Death Valley


November 23, 2007, is a date that will forever live in the consciousness of Arkansas and LSU football fans. On that night, as the sun set in the western sky, a purple haze settled across the lush green mirage that was Death Valley as warriors clad in red and in purple and gold, prepared themselves for the Battle for the Golden Boot.


Arkansas vs LSU

A wild band of Razorbacks from Arkansas gathered upon the green swath of the venerable edifice known as Tiger Stadium. These wild hogs were led by RB Darren McFadden, who had stampeded opponents for 1830 yards and 21 touchdowns that season. Defending their territory were Tigers of different stripes. Ranked as the #1 team in the country, LSU had been a Top 5 team all season and was 10-1 coming into this game.


As top-ranked football standards go, the first half was downright boring and uninspiring as LSU went into halftime down 7-6. Both defenses were tenacious in the first half and worthy of their team’s moniker. But adjustments had to be made.


2nd Half-McFadden Runs Wild for Arkansas

In the 3rd quarter, McFadden trampled the LSU defense on a 73-yard run to endzone glory to increase the Razorbacks lead to 14-6. LSU answered with their score as FB Jacob Hester crossed the goal line from 12 yards out and QB Matt Flynn scored a two-point conversion to tie the game 14-14.


Arkansas scored again in the 3rd quarter when RB Peyton Hillis rumbled 65 yards for paydirt to take back the lead at 21-14. But LSU was having none of it and Flynn found WR Demetrius Byrd for a touchdown to tie the game again at 21 all headed into the all-important 4th quarter.


With a little over five minutes left in the 4th, the Razorbacks scored on a 24-yard halfback pass from McFadden to Hillis to take a 28-21 lead. Flynn hooked up with Byrd again in the endzone for yet another tie at 28-28 at the end of regulation.


Overtime

In the overtime periods, Arkansas outscored LSU three touchdowns to two and snatched a 50-48 victory away from the #1 team in the land. It was LSU’s second overtime loss of that season, having lost to Kentucky 43-37 five weeks earlier.


McFadden rushed for 206 yards on 32 carries and accounted for four touchdowns (3 rushing, 1 passing).

This was also the final game of Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt’s tenure. He later resigned. Arkansas earned a berth in the Cotton Bowl, where they lost to Missouri and finished the 2007 season 8-5.


LSU Lost the Battle, But They Won the War

One week later, LSU defeated Tennessee 21-14 in the SEC Championship game. With the BCS polls being what they were, and the fact that teams ranked above LSU at the time all lost, LSU moved up in the BCS rankings to face off against Ohio State for the BCS National Championship in New Orleans at the Superdome. The Tigers beat the Buckeyes 38-24 and hoisted the national championship trophy for the third time in LSU’s storied history.

McFadden was honored with several accolades and awards in that 2007 season:


· Heisman Finalist

· Walter Camp Award

· Doak Walker Award

· 1st Team All-SEC

· Consensus All-American


In 2019, Darren McFadden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.


The 2007 game was one of the best in the Arkansas-LSU series, with rankings and national championship implications. Razorback fans in attendance that night “called the hogs” and cheered and encouraged their beloved Arkansas team to victory in one of the most hostile environments in college football, Tiger Stadium.












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