There were no overtime miracles or crazy finishes, but Ole Miss picked up a much-needed early-season win over Arkansas on Saturday night.
The Rebels reversed the negative fortunes experienced a week ago in Memphis and found a 31-17 victory over their SEC West foe. The Ole Miss offense didn’t take advantage of every
opportunity it had to score, but it put together enough drives behind a composed Matt Corral and a young offensive line.
The Rebel running backs also had a strong day, rushing for 231 total yards and two touchdowns from Scottie Phillips. Wideout Elijah Moore also had a career day with 130 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
With Ole Miss fans looking for a potential path to bowl eligibility early in the season, the Rebels needed a win over the Razorbacks after dropping a winnable game against Memphis a week ago.
The Ole Miss defense was a large portion of the Rebels’ success, holding Arkansas’ offense to a mere ten points while Rich Rodriguez’s offense attempted to find its rhythm as the game persisted.
With an early-season SEC win under their belt, the Rebels have an opportunity to hit a stride at home next Saturday against Southeastern Louisiana.
For a team that was predicted to toward the bottom of the SEC, every one of these wins is important as the program attempts to re-establish itself. This win shows how foolish wide-sweeping assertions after week one can be.
Still, there is work to be done. A fourth quarter play resulted in a 69-yard fumble return for a touchdown for the Razorbacks on a play worthy of the past weirdness of this rivalry.
Ole Miss responded on its next possession, but that fumble return got the Razorbacks back in the game.
Even with the win, one must remember that Ole Miss is still led by a redshirt freshman quarterback and a young group of backs, receivers and linemen. Those will be storylines do not go away.
While that may be the case, for one night in Oxford, these issues weren’t enough to sink the Rebels in a game they desperately needed if they want to be playing for the postseason in November. If the Ole Miss defense can continue to play well and the offense find its mid-season form, hope is not lost for the Rebels.
For the second-straight year, Ole Miss has knocked off Arkansas. Last season, that accounted for their only SEC win. Can they build off of this and notch more in 2019?