The Arkansas Razorbacks came into their Southeastern Conference contest against the No. 8 Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday, November 22 with an avalanche of momentum, fresh off a 17-0 victory over the then No. 17 LSU Tigers in the week prior. The win against LSU snapped a dreadful 17-game SEC losing streak that had its stamp on this Arkansas football program for several years. Inside of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium facing mighty Ole Miss on this particular Saturday, the Razorbacks sealed their second straight win battling an SEC West opponent, defeating the Rebels 30-0.
Alacrity was the theme for the Hogs in rainy Fayetteville. Their enthusiasm before, during and after the game was something to behold, trickling all the way down from their leader and head coach, Bret Bielema. The sound of the calling “Woo Pig Sooie!” could be heard throughout the state of Arkansas back to my home state of Colorado.
On Senior Day, the Hogs exposed Ole Miss’ “Land Shark” defense with some heavy doses of the play-action pass. Coming into the game, the Rebels led the NCAA in points per game allowed (11.9) and were second in the NCAA with 19 total interceptions on defense. Using the play-action, Arkansas scored first and quickly with a strike from quarterback Brandon Allen to wide receiver Keon Hatcher over the middle of the field on a three play drive to give the Hogs a 7-0 lead. If you were wondering, Arkansas looked completely dominant from the outset.
For the Razorbacks, their success against Ole Miss with the play-action pass is not possible without the serious threat of a great running attack. Well, the Hogs have just that with the dynamic duo of Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins. Coming into the contest, Williams had 155 rushing attempts for 932-yards and Collins had 150 attempts for 886-yards. In addition, Jonathan and Alex are the only RB duo in the NCAA to have 10-plus rushing touchdowns each — both had 11 touchdowns before the start of the Ole Miss game. With their outstanding running game, the Hogs were able to keep Ole Miss’ defense at bay with the aforementioned play-action pass.
As for the Rebels, their demise could be attributed specifically to turnovers, giving the ball away six times on the day. Senior quarterback Bo Wallace looked absolutely dreadful at times, floating a duck to the left side in the late third quarter that was intercepted by Razorbacks’ safety Rohan Gaines at the goal line and taken to the house for a touchdown. Rohan’s pick-six ended any hopes of an Ole Miss comeback, giving the Hogs a commanding 27-0 lead.
Both starting quarterbacks, Wallace and Arkansas’ Brandon Allen, were injured in the second quarter of Saturday afternoon’s game. Wallace was bent backwards awkwardly, and Allen injured his lower back after being kneed in the area while trying to escape Ole Miss’ defensive pressure. By the standard eye test, most would have expected Wallace to sit and Allen to come back. The opposite occurred with Allen when he was replaced by younger brother, freshman QB Austin Allen, in the second half. Austin played with great poise and savvy to the delight of big brother, Brandon.
In successive weeks, the Arkansas football program has shutout a SEC West foe. After destroying LSU in a 17-0 victory last week and dissecting Ole Miss in a 30-0 victory this week, look for the Razorbacks to be a lethal threat in the SEC West as well as the entire SEC next season.
The Hogs are now bowl-eligible with an overall record of 6-5 (2-5).
*Section Photo credit to Associated Press; Featured Photo (above) credit to Spruce Derden, USA Today Sports