The Rebels dropped their third contest of the season on Saturday in a frigid Fayetteville, Ark., 42-27 to the Razorbacks. Whenever the Rebs and Hogs get together, chaos usually ensues. The “fourth-and-25” game in 2014 specifically comes to mind in a year so similar to this one for Ole Miss. With that being said, let’s dive into how each department performed for the Rebels in the loss.
The Rebel offense posted a whopping 703 total yards against the Razorbacks and still somehow lost by two possessions, a near impossible feat. Of those 703 yards, 463 of them were on the ground as the Rebels had two rushers go over 200 yards: Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans (214 and 207).
The problem for the Rebels wasn’t struggling to move the ball but rather doing the most important part: putting it in the end zone. That being said, Ole Miss had two touchdown plays called back for holding penalties early on in the first half and one of which was curious to say the least.
As it has been the case for a few games this year, the Rebel offense just seems to sputter once it gets down to the red zone, something head coach Lane Kiffin will hope to correct before the final game against Mississippi State on Thanksgiving.
Ole Miss’ defense continues to be an enigma this year as they look very good on some series before reverting to subpar efforts on others. Many criticize defensive coordinator Chris Partridge’s scheme to only rush three and drop eight defenders in pass coverage rather than bringing pressure to the quarterback.
Even though it was technically “garbage time”, the Rebel defense began to bring pressure on Arkansas quarterback and native Mississippian K.J. Jefferson and it yielded positive results, either sacking or forcing him to throw it away.
As previously mentioned, the Rebel offense did get 703 yards, but the defense surrendered 503 with Arkansas’ star running back Raheim “Rocket” Sanders gaining 232 and three touchdowns by himself on Saturday.
We’ve seen this defense play well just last week against Alabama and gave their offense the chance to win the game. The question isn’t if they’re capable, but why are they not consistent? In a short turnaround from Saturday to Thursday, the Rebels defense will have to be on their best form against Will Rogers and State’s air raid offense.
What can be said that hasn’t been said already by many fans and outside sources about the officiating in the SEC? Not just in this game, but in multiple games across the season for many teams.
Last week, the officials missed an obvious facemask and targeting call against the Rebels, one of which knocked Evans out of the contest for the second half. On Saturday, there is no question about the blatant missed calls missed by this crew.
In fact, there was one instance where receiver Malik Heath was running down field and was grabbed from behind by the defender, an obvious pass interference. One referee flagged the play only for another to pick it up and declare it “not pass interference.”
Kiffin spoke out about the officiating last week against Alabama, and many suspect that this might have been a bit of punishment for his words.