The Arkansas Razorbacks (3-7) gave the Ole Miss Rebels (6-3) all that they could handle on Saturday, but came up short in the end losing 34-24. The Razorbacks have now lost seven in a row, which is tied for the longest losing streak in Arkansas football history.
The Hogs drew first blood on their opening drive by way of a 51-yard field goal by Zach Hocker, but Ole Miss responded with a 42-yard field goal of their own by Andrew Ritter to tie the game early in the first.
Ole Miss’ quarterback Bo Wallace had a career day against the Hogs, throwing for 407 yards and three touchdowns, but it was Barry Brunetti that rushed in for the Rebels on their next drive to take the lead 10-3 into the second quarter.
After another punt by the Razorbacks, Wallace led Ole Miss to the Arkansas 2, but the defense prevailed with three straight stops to force a field goal for the Rebels.
A 30-yard run by Korliss Marshall would spark a quick scoring drive for the Razorbacks in which Brandon Allen hit a wide-open Hunter Henry for a 17-yard score.
Arkansas was staying competitive only down 13-10 late in the second, but Wallace would lead the Rebels on a 8 play 75-yard scoring drive to extend the lead to ten heading into halftime.
For the first time in a long time, Arkansas forced a turnover when Wallace’s pass was intercepted by safety Alan Turner at the Mississippi 46 on the opening drive of the second half.
The Razorbacks would capitalize as Allen completed a 31-yard pass to Javontee Herndon down to the Ole Miss 1. Allen would finish 18-of-32 for 193 yards and two scores. Kiero Small would punch it into the endzone on the next play and Arkansas was hanging in the game, down only 20-17.
The next two defensive possessions were detrimental for the Hogs.
Wallace threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Ja-Mes Logan and then a 52-yard pass to Donte Moncrief for a score in consecutive drives to put Ole Miss up 34-17.
Allen tossed up pass into triple coverage intended for Alex Collins in the endzone that was intercepted by Cody Prewitt for a touchback and the Hogs were running out of time down by 17 heading into the fourth.
Arkansas would stay in the game though with a nice 13 play 87-yard drive capped off by a tremendous 20-yard touchdown catch by Julian Horton.
With just under five minutes left to play, Ole Miss would drive all the way to the Arkansas 32, but Wallace’s fourth down pass was intercepted by Eric Bennett. Bennett would return it deep into Ole Miss territory, but a block in the back made the Razorbacks start from their own 7 with just two minutes left to play.
Allen would take the offense down to the Rebel’s 41, but on fourth down, Arkansas elected to attempt the 58-yard field goal being down by ten points. Hocker had the distance and then some, but pushed it wide-right and the Hog’s slim chance at a victory went away.
A loss is a loss, but you cannot deny the fact that this looks like a completely different Arkansas football team. The Rebels are a very good football team and like last game against Auburn, Arkansas had their chances to win the game.
A huge turning point in the game for me was the failed halfback pass attempt by Jonathan Williams. Arkansas was down three and had just forced a punt in which Herndon returned for 31 yards to the Arkansas 47. Alex Collins rushed for an 11-yard gain and then the halfback pass, backfired for a 9-yard loss and the Razorbacks ended up having to punt.
It’s one of those calls where Jim Chaney looks like a genius if it works, or gets criticism if it doesn’t. Arkansas had all of the momentum and was moving the ball just fine, it just didn’t appear to need a trick play at that time, but if it would’ve worked, it would’ve been the ‘perfect’ call.
It was the lack of ability on the defense to stop the passing game by the Rebels that ultimately cost Arkansas the however.
The secondary gave up two humongous plays after that punt– one double-move on a screen pass that Ole Miss seemed to run every other play, and one in which Tevon Mitchell just gave a flat-out poor tackling effort. Don’t be surprised if you see some new guys at the corner position for the next two games because that is now four times that Mitchell has given up a touchdown from a missed tackle this year.
Arkansas has to just regroup, work on all of the positives this bye week and look on to Mississippi State. A game in which they have to win if they don’t want to have the longest losing streak in Arkansas football history.
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