Ole Miss’ best effort of the season Saturday afternoon at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium was overshadowed by a third quarter that could be categorized as the team’s worst of the year. The Rebels, who lost 29-24 to Arkansas, played inspired football in the first half of their Southeastern Conference matchup with the No. 10 Razorbacks, jumping out to a 17-0 lead with 6:42 left in the second quarter.
The Rebels also found a late spark, scoring a touchdown on a 4-yard pass from the ever-improving Randall Mackey to Donte Moncrief with 1:23 left in the game and then recovering an onsides kick that put the ball in the hands of Mackey with one last chance to win a contest that was clearly won by the Razorbacks in the third quarter.
Everything that Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt wanted to see from his team — better running, better tackling, a concentrated effort — was working to near perfection against the Razorbacks, who seemingly thought the game started at 1 p.m. instead of 11:21 a.m.
All of the good energy was before Arkansas running back Dennis Johnson changed the Rebels’ fortunes with a 52-yard touchdown run on a well-timed draw play with 5:11 left in the second quarter. Arkansas (6-1 overall, 2-1 in the SEC) then outscored the Rebels 19-0 in the third quarter to take a 26-17 lead and control of a game that appeared Ole Miss (2-5, 0-4) might be able to hang on and win.
Nutt talked about the third quarter as being the big reason for his team not being able to pull out the victory and ultimately end an SEC losing streak that has now reached 10 games. (October 24, 2011, Page 1B)