Ole Miss was desperate for a win after losing to Alabama a week ago, but it wasn’t going to be easy when No. 13 Arkansas was coming to town.
Some could say that Arkansas is Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral’s kryptonite. Just a season ago, Corral threw a career high six interceptions in Fayetteville in what seemed like a nightmare game.
But, last year’s game clearly didn’t rattle him, as he threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns. Corral also ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns that led Ole Miss to a 52-51 victory.
“We had to do our job,” Corral said following the game. “We did our job, got the win and we did what we were supposed to do. I didn’t do anything different leading up to this week.”
Ole Miss came out with the win after a failed two point conversion attempt by Arkansas after scoring a touchdown with no time left on the board.
“It’ll probably be one of those things where you’re so close to losing and I felt like what was going to happen wasn’t going to go down to two points,” Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said when talking about the final two point play. “At least we were going to be in control offensively and get the win in overtime.”
Kiffin went on to say, “Then when it went to two point with no time left, then you’re like, we have no control offensively. This is out of our hands and it got a little scary there.”
Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Jefferson also rushed for 85 yards and three touchdowns in what was a homecoming game, growing up in Sardis, Mississippi.
Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks led his team in receiving with seven catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. Burks also had a couple of spectacular catches.
Arkansas put up big numbers not only in the passing game, but also in the run. Arkansas running back Raheim Sanders ran for 139 yards on 17 carries.
It was an unusual game for Ole Miss in terms of offensive production. The Rebels’ focus was on the ground game. Because they rushed for so many plays, it kept the Arkansas defense coming up which helped set up big plays through the passing game.
Ole Miss rushed for a total of 324 yards. The Ole Miss rushing attack was led by running back Snoop Conner. Conner ran for 110 yards and three touchdowns and one of the scores came off a 51 yard run.
“We had run a stretch play and they weren’t used to that because we’ve been running up the middle the whole time,” Conner said when talking about his 51 yard touchdown. “So, we caught them off guard and it was wide open.”
While the offensive side for the Rebels played impressive, the defense showed some signs of distress. Ole Miss gave up a total of 676 yards and a season-high 51 points.
Ole Miss’ rush defense showed some major signs of concern. They gave up 350 yards on the ground partly due to missed tackles and misalignments.
“We gotta do a better job tackling,” Ole Miss linebacker Chance Campbell said about what the Rebels can do to improve their defense. “We do it, but just not consistently. We’ve got to get more body on body wrap up and just get more guys to the ball.”
But, there were some bright spots for the defense during the game. Ole Miss forced two turnovers, one being an interception by defensive back Keidron Smith at the end of the first half and another being a forced fumble by Campbell.
Ole Miss looks to get another win as they go on the road to play the Tennessee Volunteers. The game will be played this coming Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CST on SEC Network.