REWIND: Ole Miss 34, Arkansas 24

OleMissLogoThumbs Up

Bo Wallace was accurate, and his receivers were consistent. There were no drops that come to mind, and they picked up yards after contact, most notably Vincent Sanders in the first quarter and Donte Moncrief in the third.

Run defense wasn’t great but was good enough to make big plays at critical times.

Thumbs Down

The game could have been put away much earlier. The Rebels reached the Arkansas 14 and the 1 in the first half and were forced to kick short field goals both times. Freshman defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche was ejected after shoving an Arkansas player. We’re told it was in retaliation to a comment from the Arkansas player, but Nkemdiche, even as a freshman, needs to show more composure.

Keys To Victory

(Reviewing the scouting report from our GameDay preview)

1. Force turnovers

The Rebels forced only one turnover, but it was a big one, an end zone interception of a deep ball by Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson to stop a scoring threat.

Arkansas entered the game minus-12 in turnover ratio in SEC play but was plus-1 for the day. Wallace threw two picks, one a miscommunication with a receiver, the other a bad decision when the Rebels were trying to run out the clock.

Ole Miss backs protected the ball well in the run game, but the Rebels didn’t force many from the Hogs.

2. Stop the run

Nobody has really stopped the run against Arkansas, which went into the game averaging 183.4 yards in SEC play.

Ole Miss could have done a better job of getting off blocks when Arkansas began to have success on the perimeter. The Rebels did deliver some big plays in run defense, most notably the 9-yard tackle for loss by Lavon Hooks and Channing Ward on a halfback run-pass option when the Hogs had a first down at the Ole Miss 39 in a three-point game in the third quarter.

3. Focus, focus, focus

The focus wasn’t all there. Hugh Freeze used the word “sluggish” to describe his team. It’s a statement of improvement on the journey that Ole Miss can win an SEC game with less than total effort, but it doesn’t need to become a trend.

MVP

QB Bo Wallace. In spite of the two picks, Wallace was 26-for-33 passing, that’s 78 percent if you’re scoring at home, and had a career-high 407 yards with three touchdowns.

Bottom Line

It’s big to have bowl eligibility secured with three games still to play. Had the Rebels been upset by Arkansas, it could have been a scramble to win more than six in the regular season.

Now the chance for win No. 7 is strong against Troy, and then there’s momentum going into the home finale against Missouri.

Parrish Alford