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Wisconsin outlasts Arkansas

January 02, 2007|From the Associated Press

ORLANDO, FLA. — Darren McFadden broke free on his first carry and raced into the Wisconsin secondary. Defensive back Jack Ikegwuonu did what few players have done -- he ran down the Arkansas star at the nine.

With its running game stifled and its quarterback under constant pressure, the sixth-ranked Badgers did just enough to hold off No. 12 Arkansas, 17-14, Monday in the Capital One Bowl. John Stocco threw two first-half touchdown passes, and Wisconsin (12-1) survived despite being held to minus-five yards rushing.

The biggest play might have been Ikegwuonu's tackle. McFadden's 45-yard run gave the Razorbacks the ball inside the Wisconsin 10, but Arkansas (10-4) came away with no points when Jeremy Davis missed a 30-yard field-goal attempt.

"I know that McFadden is a very fast football player," Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema said. "For us to be able to track him down and pull him down ... may have changed the entire landscape of the game."

McFadden, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, hurt his ankle in the Southeastern Conference championship game Dec. 2, and it appeared to be bothering him still.

"If Darren is 100%, I don't think anyone would have caught him on that play," Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt said. "Usually he's pretty good at 90% too.... The fact that we weren't able to come out of that with any points was pretty big."

Wisconsin won 12 games in a season for the first time and has a chance to finish in the top five nationally -- quite a reward for a team overshadowed by Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Michigan.

Taylor Mehlhaff opened the scoring for the Badgers with a 52-yard field goal, the longest of his career and a Capital One Bowl record. Felix Jones answered quickly for Arkansas with a 76-yard touchdown run.

Stocco threw touchdown passes of 22 yards to Paul Hubbard and 13 yards to Travis Beckum, giving the Badgers a 17-7 halftime lead. Jones, who quietly surpassed 1,000 yards this season alongside McFadden, made it 17-14 on a 12-yard run in the fourth.

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