Ole Miss gave Arkansas all they could handle on Saturday, but in the end the Razorbacks prevailed thanks to a late interception by Eric Bennett that sealed a 29-24 victory for Arkansas. Arkansas improves to 6-1 on the year while Ole Miss falls to 2-5 with ten consecutive SEC losses.
The Rebels dominated the time of possession during the first half holding the ball for over twenty two minutes and led 17-7 at halftime. However, a poor third quarter saw Arkansas score 19 unanswered points and the Rebel lead evaporate, “I wish we had that back,” Coach Nutt said, “There were two series on offense and two series on defense that we did not do anything.”
A pivotal play in the third quarter collapse for Ole Miss was a dropped pass by Donte Moncrief. Moncrief finished with 5 catches for 70 yards, but if he catches that particular pass the Rebels have momentum and the ball inside the Razorback’s 30. “I wish Donte would have caught one more ball. He made some great catches today but I wish he would have caught one more ball” stated Coach Nutt referencing the dropped pass.
The Rebels did do some things well on Saturday holding star quarterback Tyler Wilson without a touchdown pass for the first time all season. Ole Miss also managed to contain an explosive Arkansas passing attack allowing only 232 passing yards, almost 100 yards less than the Razorback’s average of 321 passing yards per game.
The play of true freshman Nickolas Brassell is another bright spot for the Rebels in this loss. Brassell gained 93 total yards while playing both sides of the ball. Coach Nutt was very pleased with Brassell’s performance saying, “He is such a tough competitor… We play him about 30 plays on each side and those are not easy plays because you are covering man to man their best receiver, then you come over here to our place (offensive side of the ball) and get the ball on screens, bubbles, reverses and deep balls… He is just an awesome young man.”
While Ole Miss did do some things well their run defense continued to struggle like it has all year long. Led by Dennis Johnson’s 160 rushing yards, Arkansas gained 206 yards on the ground and really pounded the Rebels in the second half.
Coach Nutt’s seat is hotter than it has ever been thanks to a 1-11 record in his last twelve conference games and a 1-2 record against Mississippi State. Next up for Ole Miss is a trip to Auburn to take on the defending national champions. It is do or die time for Ole Miss as the Rebels are only two losses away from missing a bowl for the second consecutive year. They need to turn things around quickly or Coach Nutt will not be back next year.
CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from different college games throughout the Mid-South.
Photos by JD Meredith.