Rapid Reaction: Ole Miss shocks Arkansas in Little Rock with furious late-game rally
You gotta hand it to the Rebels, they didn’t give up when things looked bleak in Little Rock. Despite facing a second-half deficit — the Rebels were down 30-17 in the second half and 33-24 late in the fourth, Ole Miss fought all the way back and shocked the Arkansas faithful from War Memorial Stadium Saturday night, coming away with a 37-33 win.
Matt Luke gets his first SEC win of the season in three attempts and does so by ripping the hearts out of Arkansas fans everywhere. As has been the case all season, Phil Longo’s offense bailed the Rebels out when Wesley McGriff’s unit was largely non-existent in this game — outside of one crucial stop in the fourth quarter when the team needed it the most.
It’s pretty remarkable to win a game when your opponent doesn’t punt until the fourth quarterback but that’s what Ole Miss managed to do in Little Rock.
Of course, that stop would not have meant anything if Jordan Ta’amu didn’t engineer a 97-yard game-winning touchdown drive in the closing moments in the game. The drive was capped by Scottie Phillips on a five-yard run. Ole Miss’ outstanding senior quarterback not only did his typical damage thru the air — he completed 26 of 35 passes for 387 yards and two touchdowns — but he was the Rebels’ leading rusher in the game. Ta’amu finished the game with 141 yards on the ground and another score.
The Rebels finished the game with 613 yards of total offense, 387 passing and 226 rushing. But if Ole Miss is going to build off this win, the defense has got to get things figured out in a hurry.
In fact, the Razorbacks scored on all five first-half possessions in this game. Here’s how the drive chart went for Arkansas in the first half: field goal, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, field goal. That was good enough to give Arkansas a 27-17 lead at the break and the second half was more of the same. The scoring drive extended to the second half as the Razorbacks scored field goals on the first two drives of the second half.
It was Arkansas’ running game that led the way for the team in this game, as the Hogs rushed for 289 yards on the Ole Miss defense. First-year player Rakeem Boyd continues to flash for the team, as he busted a 69-yard touchdown drive during the first half and finished the game with 109 yards on only seven carries.
The only bad news was Boyd left the game due to injury and did not return to the field in the second half. He did make an appearance on the sideline but did not have his pads on following the break. We will never know if his absence altered the final result from Little Rock, but the Arkansas offense did seem to hit a wall once Boyd left the game.
Ty Storey had his most efficient game as a Razorback, going 12 of 16 for 122 yards and a score. He also added 70 yards on nine rushing attempts. Unfortunately, he too got banged up at various points in the contest. The good and bad that is Cole Kelley then resurfaced for the Razorbacks. Kelley came off the bench and immediately threw a 39-yard touchdown pass on his first attempt but also threw the interception that sealed Arkansas’ fate in this game.
Kelley finished the game two of five for 60 yards with the one touchdown and one interception.
Looking ahead to Week 8, Ole Miss hosts Auburn next weekend while Arkansas hosts Tulsa in Fayetteville.