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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No. 10 Hogs rallies, then holds on to top Ole Miss

BLOG: Good morning from sunny Oxford, Miss., where the Ole Miss Rebels are set to host No. 10 Arkansas for a 11:21 a.m. kickoff at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Today’s game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Arkansas (5-1 overall, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) enters today’s game having defeated No. 14 Texas A&M 42-38 on Oct. 1 and No. 15 Auburn 38-14 on Oct. 8.

Ole Miss (2-4, 0-3), meanwhile, lost last week to No. 2 Alabama 52-7.

…Pretty safe to say the two schools are at different places this season.

THE GOOD, BAD AND DISMISSED: One thing Ole Miss has going for it is the return of RB Brandon Bolden, G Alex Washington and C A.J. Hawkins, the three players that were suspended last weekend for a “violation of team rules.”

So, that’s something.

On the flip side, however, the Rebels lost their most consistent cornerback (Marcus Temple) and defensive end (Wayne Dorsey) to season-ending injuries against the Tide.

Compounding Ole Miss’ recent issues, Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt announced on Monday that 6-foot-6 junior receiver Melvin Harris was dismissed from the team.

While Harris has largely been a non-factor this season — he caught two passes for 21 yards and a touchdown in three games — it’s just another item to add to Ole Miss’ laundry list of distractions this season.

BY THE NUMBERS:By now it’s no secret that Arkansas’ offense is pretty darn good. The Hogs boast the conference’s second-best scoring offense (39.2 points per game) and the No. 1 passing offense (336.8 yards per game).

Leading Arkansas’ air raid is Tyler Wilson, who has completed 135 of 208 passes for 1,779 yards and 12 touchdowns while only throwing three interceptions.

Two of Wilson’s receivers (Jarius Wright and Joe Adams)  are first and fourth in the conference in receptions per game with 6.6 and 4.5 respectively.

Wright also leads the SEC in receiving yards per game (110.8), while Cobi Hamilton (56.7) and Adams (47.3) are also in the conference’s top 10.

Tasked with slowing down Arkansas’ passing attack is an Ole Miss secondary that is 10th in the conference, allowing 217.2 passing yards per game.

Without Temple, expect to see more Senquez Golson and Nickolas Brassell at cornerback. Also, a move back to cornerback from safety for Charles Sawyer is highly likely.

GAME DAY FOOTBALL TAB: This week’s GAME DAY Preview: Arkansas is now available online HERE (or click the cover picture to the right) and will be in newsstands later today.Included in this week’s 16-page football tab are articles on Sawyer, Golson, OL Matt Hall, LB Serderius Bryant, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino and a look back at Ole Miss’ victory over Arkansas in 1962.

Also, this week’s Recruiting File focuses on the verbal commitment of 230-pound Georgia running back Kenno Loyal.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: It’s a rather light league schedule this week in the SEC. Jacksonville State travels to Kentucky (11 a.m.; ESPNU), Auburn heads to LSU (2:30 p.m.; CBS), Army is at Vanderbilt (6 p.m.; ESPNU) and Tennessee is at Alabama (6:15 p.m. (ESPN2). Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State and South Carolina all are off this weekend.

——— SCORING SUMMARY———

OLE MISS 3, Arkansas 0 (3:43/Q1): For the second week in a row Ole Miss scored first. After forcing a three-and-out, Ole Miss took over around midfield and was able to make enough progress to set up Bryson Rose‘s career-long 43-yard field goal. Rose has now made 14 straight field goals.

OLE MISS 10, Arkansas 0 (14:30/Q2): The Rebels kicked off the second quarter with a 31-yard pass-and-catch from Randall Mackey to Donte Moncrief in single coverage down the Arkansas sideline for a touchdown.

OLE MISS 17, Arkansas 0 (6:42/Q2): Mackey added to the Rebels’ lead with a 3-yard touchdown run to cap an 11-play, 80-yard drive.

Ole Miss 17, ARKANSAS 7 (5:11/Q2): The Hogs responded in a big way. On third-and-14, Arkansas running back Dennis Johnson broke free for a 52-yard touchdown run.

Ole Miss 17, ARKANSAS 10 (11:55/Q3): Arkansas opened the second half by driving down the field and kicker Zack Hocker converted a 33-yard field goal. Arkansas converted a fourth-and-6 from Ole Miss’ 36 to keep the drive alive.

Ole Miss 17, ARKANSAS 17 (6:48/Q3): Wilson tied the game  with a 1-yard quarterback dive for a touchdown.

ARKANSAS 24, Ole Miss 17 (4:20/Q3): Arkansas’s offense continues to roll. This time a 67-yard pass to Adams helps set up a 1-yard TD run by Wilson on fourth-and-goal.

ARKANSAS 26, Ole Miss 17 (:14.2/Q3): After recovering a Johnson fumble at their own 1, Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott was hit in the end zone for a safety.

ARKANSAS 29, Ole Miss 17 (11:31/Q4): Arkansas capitalized on the safety by converting a 23-yard field goal attempt.

Arkansas 29, OLE MISS 24 (5:00/Q4): Ole Miss made it interesting late in the game, scoring on a 4-yard pass from Mackey to Moncrief in solo coverage. Ole Miss tight end Jamal Mosley then recovered the ensuing onside kick, snagging a ball out of the air. But the Rebels were unable to make anything of their final possession, which ended with a desperation interception down the Ole Miss sideline.

———GAME STATS———

OLE MISS: Mackey had his best day as Ole Miss’ starting quarterback, completing 18 of 30 passes for 219 yards and two scores. He also rushed for 42 yards and a score and was sacked three times for negative 42 yards.

Mackey’s two go-to receivers were Nickolas Brassell (8 catches for 70 yards) and Moncrief (5, 73).

Back from his suspension, and nearing 100 percent health, Brandon Bolden led the Rebels with 68 yards rushing.

ARKANSAS: Wilson completed 13 of 28 passes for 232 yards and did not throw a touchdown pass.

Joe Adams led the Hogs with four receptions for 124 yards, while Johnson had a game-high 160 yards and one score rushing.

———PARTING QUOTE———

We had them off balance the first half. They came out the second half and took that away. We got off rhythm a little bit and dropped some balls. We had some illegal procedures. All we needed was one score. I feel like we needed one score to get our confidence up and make us think we were going to win. The biggest thing was the changes they made on our motions, the wide plays.” —Houston Nutt on the difference in the third quarter.

NEXT UP: Ole Miss returns to the field next Friday, traveling to The Plains to play Auburn.

 (October 22, 2011)

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