Wade Askew column: Darren McFadden is nation’s best

Wade Askew

Three-hundred and twenty-one yards. Rushing. Against a legitimate SEC defense.

That’s all Darren McFadden did in a 48-36 win over South Carolina last Saturday, thrusting himself back into the Heisman spotlight and, more importantly, the college football consciousness.

When Arkansas stumbled out of the gates to a 3-3 record, McFadden was all but forgotten. While Matt Ryan received an inordinate amount of attention for leading a mediocre team to an undefeated record, the nation’s best player toiled away in anonymity.

But 321 yards of SEC-record running later, McFadden is back in the position he should have never left: Heisman contender, unquestioned superstar, jaw-drop inducer. If this guy played for USC or LSU, people would never stop talking about him.

But unfortunately for McFadden, the Razorbacks’ passing attack makes even Iowa’s look prolific (too soon?).

McFadden possesses the most impressive mix of power and speed in the country, drawing comparisons to the likes of Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson for his effortless, upright running style.

His Reggie Bush-esque versatility led to the creation of the “Wildhog” formation, in which he lines up in the shotgun as quarterback with fellow 1,000-yard rusher Felix Jones standing at his side – in three passing attempts on the year, McFadden has tossed two touchdowns, including one against South Carolina.

Plus, with a match-up against Tennessee’s soft defense, coming up this weekend, McFadden has a chance to pad his stats even more. While he merely tied the conference single-game rushing record against South Carolina, McFadden can shoot to take it for himself against the Vols.

And with LSU left on the schedule, the country’s best player has a chance to earn the trophy that supposedly goes to college football’s “Most Outstanding Player.” Last year, McFadden lost the trophy to the best player on what people at the time thought was the best team, Troy Smith.

Hopefully, this time around the trophy will live up to its description.

Deputy sports editor Wade Askew is a Medill sophomore. He can be reached at

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