After falling on the road at Memphis and struggling offensively, the Ole Miss Rebels are coming home. They’ll open SEC play against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday.
The Razorbacks have won four of the last five in the series against the Rebels. Their four-game winning streak in the series was snapped last season with a 37-33 Ole Miss victory at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas. Both teams are looking to emerge out of the SEC West basement, finishing the final two spots in last season’s standings.
For Ole Miss, their 15-10 season-opening loss to the Tigers was laced with offensive ineptitude in new offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez’s debut. The Rebels were only able to muster 173 yards of total offense and 13 first downs, held scoreless until late in the third quarter.
The Rebels’ young offensive line gave up 10 tackles for loss and three sacks against Memphis’s constant pressure throughout the afternoon.
“We just struggled up front with them and their movement at times early on. We had a couple of bad decisions. We stayed behind the chains and couldn’t get going,” head coach Matt Luke said following the loss.
Quarterback Matt Corral finished 9-19 for 93 yards. Scottie Phillips was quiet for most of the game, but ended up with 19 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown.
The new look Rebel defense led by Mike McIntyre kept them in the game with a few turnovers on downs and third down stops. They were left on the field for 38:41 of the game and cost them on Memphis’ final offensive possession to milk the clock.
“They played a lot of snaps. I thought our conditioning was good, but I’m sure it took its toll,” Luke said.
Josiah Coatney, Keidron Smith and Lakia Henry each led the Rebels with seven tackles a piece. Benito Jones provided their only turnover with an interception. The Rebels’ next opponent will provide another heavy run game for them to deal with.
It also wasn’t easy for the Chad Morris-led Arkansas Razorbacks, but they managed to escape FCS opponent Portland State 20-13 at home to open the season. Running back Rakeem Boyd led the way for the Razorbacks offensively with 18 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown.
Rebels looking for rebound win over ArkansasDevwah Whaley also had a rushing touchdown. Their probable starter at quarterback, Ben Hicks, completed 14 of 29 passes for 143 yards.
Defensively, Arkansas was led by McTelvin Agim and Bumper Pool. Each of them had six tackles. Joe Faucha was one of three Razorbacks to get an interception last week. Faucha also had a tackle and two pass breakups.
Kickoff time is set for 6:00 p.m. and is televised by SEC Network.