Rebels defense struggles in overtime loss to Arkansas

Posted on Nov 9 2015 - 10:30am by Cody Thomason

In Ole Miss’ heartbreaking loss to Arkansas Saturday, the Rebels’ struggles were mostly on the defensive side of the ball. The Rebels gave up 45 points in regulation and 53 in all.

“It seems like everything we did, they had an answer for,” Dave Wommack, Ole Miss defensive coordinator, said. “Even at the end when we got them in a situation in overtime, we weren’t able to finish it and do what we needed to do.”

(Jaylen Walton breaks free from the Arkansas Razorbacks defense to run the ball down the field in Saturday's football game. | Photo by: Cameron Brooks)

(Jaylen Walton breaks free from the Arkansas Razorbacks defense to run the ball down the field in Saturday’s football game. | Photo by: Cameron Brooks)

The defense surrendered the second most points since Freeze took over the Rebels program in 2012, only behind the 66 points the Rebels surrendered to Texas in 2012.
“We felt like we had a good plan going in and obviously we didn’t. Now we have to go back to square one and look at it,” Wommack said. “I haven’t had very many games like that in my entire career, but it hurts. I hurt for the players and coaches and fans and everything.”

The game-changing play came on a fourth-and-25, when it seemed Ole Miss had stopped the Razorbacks. But a lateral went to running back Alex Collins, who followed a large group of blockers and ran for the first down.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said he believes the main struggles of the defense were the Rebels’ inability to win one-on-one battles.

“We struggled in every one-on-one situation we had. I thought we controlled their run game pretty well,” Freeze said. “They are a solid run team. The number of big plays that we gave up was very disheartening.”

Freeze said that Arkansas’ offensive success effected the Ole Miss offense, as it kept the defense on the field and didn’t give the offense as many opportunities.

“We had a good plan offensively, and we just didn’t get nearly enough possessions or snaps,” Freeze said. “Arkansas controlled a large portion of the game for sure. I’m sure anytime you don’t play well it is partly the plan and partly the execution of the calls.”

Wommack said now the team had to watch film and see their mistakes and then decide how they were going to handle the loss.
“We have to go back and look and either step up or step out.”