5 bold predictions for Ole Miss vs. Arkansas
Considering how these two SEC West rivals have been playing as of late, most would wager that Ole Miss and Arkansas are going to have a shootout in Fayetteville on Saturday night.
And the Razorbacks and Rebels have a history of playing close games, including last season when the Hogs went into Oxford and changed the SEC West landscape by pulling out a 53-52 overtime victory.
Although there is no way of knowing, here are five bold predictions for what is going to happen when Arkansas and Ole Miss kick off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Arkansas and Ole Miss will combine to score 75 points or more: After the shootout these rivals played last year, Las Vegas seems to believe fans are in for another back-and-forth affair this weekend. Not only will the Razorbacks and Rebels cover the over of 67 points, they’ll do so easily. Both offenses are led by pass-happy quarterbacks, and neither defense is particularly stingy when it comes to allowing points. Expect these high-octane offenses to put up points in bunches.
Austin Allen will throw multiple touchdowns: All throughout the preseason, and even during the season, all of the chatter has surrounded Ole Miss signal-caller Chad Kelly. Media outlets across the nation dubbed him as the best quarterback not only in the SEC, but perhaps the entire country. However, when he and Allen meet on Saturday night, Allen will match Kelly’s performance. The Arkansas junior has thrown at least two touchdowns in each of the Razorbacks’ first six games, including three against TCU and three more against both Alcorn State and Alabama in the team’s last two games. Even though the Rebels have only allowed two passing touchdowns this season, Allen will find the end zone at least twice in Fayetteville on Saturday night.
Chad Kelly will throw for 450 yards or more: Even though the most yards he has thrown in a game this season is 421, I expect the Ole Miss quarterback to go off for a big performance against the Razorbacks. Arkansas’ defense wasn’t terrible against the pass last week, only allowing Alabama’s freshman signal-caller Jalen Hurts to throw for 253 yards, although that came on 13-of-17 passing. The Hogs even held Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight to 225 yards in their SEC opener, though neither Hurts or Knight have the arm talent Kelly possesses behind center for Ole Miss. After throwing for 421 against Alabama, Kelly threw for 282 and 361 against Georgia and Memphis, respectively, in his last two games. Those numbers were enough to lead the Rebels to lopsided victories, which is exactly what he’ll be trying to replicate on Saturday night.
Arkansas’ kicker will make a positive impact: The kicking game has been disastrous for Arkansas through six games as Bret Bielema finally decided to sit Cole Hedlund and play Adam McFain against the Crimson Tide last week. Even though McFain wasn’t tested all that much, he did make all three of his extra-point tries as well as a 25-yard field goal on his only attempt. That performance should help the Greenwood, Ark. native feel comfortable, and he just might make a name for himself as a senior. However, for him to do that, he’ll have to give the Razorbacks a boost in big SEC games. This game may come down to a field goal in the end, and I expect the Arkansas kicking game to actually come through.
The Razorbacks will find a way to win their first SEC game: Ole Miss enters the weekend as a 7.5-point favorite after blowing out Georgia and Memphis following a heartbreaking loss to Alabama in Week 3. The Rebels may be on a roll, but the Razorbacks are desperate. As good as the Hogs looked against non-conference opponents — they went 4-0 outside of the SEC, including a big win at TCU — they are still searching for their first victory within the conference. On Saturday night, Arkansas will finally get the win it has been searching for when it upsets the Rebels in Fayetteville and extends its win streak over Ole Miss to three games.