Sunday Afternoon Quarterback: Giving Thanks to Darren McFadden

David WilliamsSenior Analyst INovember 28, 2007

IconI couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw Arkansas’s version of the Wing T dismantle one of the best defenses in the country in the Razorbacks' upset of the previously top-ranked LSU Tigers. 


Not only were stud running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones decimating the LSU front four—even fullback Peyton Hillis got in on the action. 


In modern football, you don’t often see the fullback “scampering” for a 65-yard touchdown run on a draw. 

With the LSU loss, only one more top team needs to go down for The Ohio State University to creep back into the national championship picture.  If Missouri loses to Oklahoma or West Virginia loses to Pittsburgh this weekend, my team will be in the national title game for the second consecutive year...with the potential of getting absolutely destroyed once again.


Regardless of the outcome, I’d be pretty happy if the Buckeyes made it to the title game after having an off-year.

And I feel that writing an open letter to the catalyst of my hopes—Darren McFadden—seems like the right thing to do. 


Thanksgiving is a time to give gratitude and appreciation to those who have affected your life in some way. I’m mostly thankful for my family and friends, but a little piece of me needs to show some love to Mr. “I Got That Wood.” 


Without further ado, here’s my note to one of the greatest college football players I’ve ever seen...

Dear Mr. McFadden, 

My name is David Williams and I am a college student in St. Louis.  I, along with thousands of other college football fans, have followed your career in depth over the past few years.   

When you had your breakout game as a freshman at Georgia, I thought, "Who is this guy??" Then I watched last year, your sophomore year, as you rushed for 145 yards against Auburn and 181 against Tennessee...and who could forget the 182-yard performance against the best defense in the country, LSU. 

I had high expectations for you this year—and you exceeded them, by far. Not only did you put up 195 and 173 against Alabama and Kentucky, respectively, you tied the SEC single-game rushing record by going for 321 yards against South Carolina.

Not bad for a guy with messed up toes. 

I am writing to you because I want to personally thank you for putting on such a heroic performance against LSU. Your upset victory over the Tigers was about more than just winning a close college football game—it was about a head coach giving his all in his last hurrah, and a player with little to gain and everything to lose putting himself on the line for five hours. 

It was truly a special event to watch.  

It would have been easy for you to pack it in. The Battle for the Golden Boot is a rivalry game, but it’s not like your Razorbacks were in a position win the SEC. Also, you had your NFL future to think about. 

Only men with a lot of heart and pride would gut it out for four quarters and another three overtimes. 

You, sir, have a lot of heart and pride. 

As we all expected, the LSU defense keyed in on you and Felix Jones throughout the game. But that didn’t faze you.

When the Tigers lined up 10 in the box, when they knew you were getting the ball—that didn’t bother you either.   

When Coach Houston Nutt pulled starting QB Casey Dick and put you under center in that Wildcat formation—and LSU knew there was a 99 percent chance you were running the ball—it didn’t matter.

And you know why?

Because both you the LSU defenders knew that they couldn’t stop No. 5. 

You glided past future high-round draft picks Glenn Dorsey, Marlon Favorite, Tyson Jackson, Ali Highsmith, and Craig Steltz—and you made it look easy.  It’s almost as if you were the Varsity and they were the JV team.

Your 32 carries for 204 yards and three rushing touchdowns—to say nothing of that one passing touchdown—proved who deserved to be playing up. 

It’s important to acknowledge your fellow backs Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis and the offensive line led by Jonathan Luigs and Robert Felton—who were all excelent in supporting roles.

But when push comes to shove, the one guy who makes this Arkansas team go is you.  

Regardless of what you do after the season—whether you leave school early for the NFL or stick it out for your senior season—I’ll have thoroughly enjoyed watching you for the past few years. 

You’re probably the best college football player I’ve seen in my lifetime (sorry Reggie Bush), and it was a pleasure to watch you play. 

Now if you can transfer to Oklahoma or Pitt for just this weekend, I’d pretty much consider you the college football equivalent of God.  


David Williams

P.S. Tim Tebow may be able to lose both of his legs in a car accident and still be able to walk it off (and Superman does wear his pajamas)—but as far as the Heisman Trophy goes, I’d be hard-pressed to find a more deserving candidate than you. 

You're not only one of the most physically gifted athletes in recent memory—you have the sort of grit I haven’t seen since, well, Purple Jesus.

Plus, you’re pretty clutch. 

Enjoy the Heisman ceremony. I sincerely hope you win it. 

So Darren McFadden gave me an incredible gift over Thanksgiving. Would it be too much for this Buckeye fan to ask for either a Pitt or Oklahoma victory this weekend?


Come to think of it, isn’t Christmas coming soon?