By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
LITTLEROCK, Ark. – Arkansas thought it would get a lift with the return of tight end Chris Gragg this week, and it did, but only for a half.
Gragg limped off the field late in the first half and did not return.
He had already made his presence felt with a 42-yard touchdown on a pass from Tyler Wilson when Gragg was matched up in man coverage against Ole Miss linebacker Joel Kight.
Gragg finished with three catches for 55 yards.
Wilson needed him for the final two quarters. Half of Wilson’s 24 completions went to this No. 1 receiver, Cobi Hamilton. Only one other wide receiver, Julian Horton, had as many as three catches.
Wilson was intercepted by Charles Sawyer and Denzel Nkemdiche, and several other Ole Miss players were close to picks.
“We really disguised and bluffed and dropped, tried to mix things up to mess with his mind. He’s a great quarterback so, that’s what we had to do to get the interceptions we got,” Nkemdiche said.
Sawyer’s big day
In addition to his interception which stopped an Arkansas scoring threat at the Ole Miss 5, Sawyer blocked a punt, and his subsequent 15-yard return led to an Ole Miss touchdown.
He also had seven tackles, a sack and two pass break-ups
Nkemdiche led Ole Miss with eight tackles.
5:Ole Miss was 5-for-5 on red zone scoring opportunities and scored touchdowns three times. Arkansas was 4-for-4 on red zone scoring with two touchdowns.
The key drive only resulted in a field goal, but Bryson Rose’s 31-yard kick gave Ole Miss a dramatic win. Rose was put in position after quarterback Bo Wallace guided the Rebels 61 yards in eight plays after they took over with 2:09 left in the game. Rose’s kick came on the last play.
“They were very aggressive in the secondary. They made a number of plays. They bit on a lot of our short routes, and we didn’t hit any deep balls that I can think of. There were no balls over 40 yards that we took advantage of.” – Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson
The Rebels are back on the SEC road next week at Georgia. Kickoff time – it’ll be a day game – and TVnetwork will be announced today.
Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson (flu symptoms) and backup Wesley Pendleton (leg injury) could not finish. … Arkansas leads the series 31-27-1, but Ole Miss leads the series 8-6-1 in games played in Little Rock. … The Rebels have defeated Arkansas on their last three trips to Little Rock. … The Rebels won for the first time this season when they did not score first. … Jeff Scott’s 1-yard touchdown run was his team-leading seventh TD of the year. … Randall Mackey started at receiver and set career highs with seven catches for 99 yards. … Ole Miss shut out the Razorbacks in the third quarter and has allowed only three third-quarter points in SEC games.