SEC Debate: What was the most memorable game of 2015?
There were plenty of games in 2015 that will stay with us for a long time. The four games we’ll be choosing from include two overtime games. Meanwhile, Arkansas was involved in three of them while Ole Miss played in two. Here are the candidates:
Sept. 19 — Ole Miss 43, Alabama 37
Oct. 24 — Arkansas 54, Auburn 46 (4OT)
Nov. 7 — Arkansas 53, Ole Miss 52 (OT)
Nov. 21 — Mississippi State 51, Arkansas 50
Obviously, a few others get an honorable mention as Tennessee was also involved in multiple close games, including a dramatic 28-27 loss to Florida.
However, our staff debates which of these games earns the gold medal.
WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE GAME OF 2015?
Chris Wright (@filmroomeditor): Arkansas 53, Ole Miss 52 (OT)
Those were great games. I’d also add Alabama’s man-handling of Superman Leonard Fournette for its complete defensive domination and how that swung the Heisman conversation. Alabama’s loss to Ole Miss was sloppy, and Ole Miss wasn’t great so much as fortunate (bobbled snap, tipped pass, TD). Then the ball bounced the other way in Ole Miss’ wild loss to Arkansas, which included the SEC’s play of the year and the second-best play in college football behind the Miami Miracle at Duke.
Arkansas’ lateral was wild, but Bret Bielema’s decision-making was risky, too, going for 2 and the win. I like the Alabama-LSU game, but it’s not a candidate. So Arkansas-Ole Miss it is. Great game. Great theatre.
Dak Prescott comes up short again. He’s got to be the most underappreciated great player in college football.
Christian Malone (@Christian_SDS): Arkansas 53, Ole Miss 52 (OT)
All four of these games were exciting to watch. But to me, Arkansas’ overtime win over Ole Miss was the best game of the year in the SEC. The Razorbacks and the Rebels traded scores all night long. Neither team led by more than seven points at any time. The two teams combined for 1,195 yards of total offense. The quarterbacks – Chad Kelly of Ole Miss (368 yards and three touchdowns passing, 110 yards and three touchdowns rushing) and Brandon Allen of Arkansas (442 yards and six touchdowns passing) – were tremendous; I don’t think either one of them could have played much better. You had a blocked field goal on the final play of regulation. Then, of course, came the Razorbacks’ improbable fourth-and-25 conversion in overtime, which was one of the craziest plays of the year in college football. And two plays after that, Arkansas scored a touchdown, went for the two-point conversion and converted to win the game. This was an amazing game, and both sides deserve credit for playing excellent football that day.
Christopher Smith (@csmithSDS): Ole Miss 43, Alabama 37
The Arkansas conversion of fourth-and-25 on a crazed backward pass to Alex Collins will be the most memorable and exciting single play. But five years from now, no one outside Fayetteville will care that Arkansas beat Ole Miss on a two-point conversion that game. The Ole Miss-Alabama game won’t affect the SEC’s inclusion or exclusion from the College Football Playoff, barring an upset in the SEC title game. But coach Nick Saban hasn’t lost many games in Tuscaloosa, so those automatically retain historical significance. Also, beating Alabama back-to-back — as well as beating Bama and Auburn in the same year — are among the biggest accomplishments for the vaunted 2013 Ole Miss recruiting class.
John Brasier (@john_brasiersds): Arkansas 53, Ole Miss 52 (OT)
Arkansas’ victory over Ole Miss was the most memorable. The Hunter Henry blind lateral to Alex Collins ranks with the Cal band play, Miami kick return against Duke and the Nebraska flea kicker as one of the most improbable plays that helped win a game. What are the chances a blind lateral takes a big hope into the hands of Arkansas’ star running back? While it wasn’t the final play of the game, it kept the game alive and Arkansas did go on to win a few plays later. The play cost the Rebels the SEC championship and may have saved Alabama’s national championship hopes. At the least, it helped the College Football Playoff committee avoid an awkward decision of whether to include Alabama, which otherwise wouldn’t have won the conference championship, while excluding an SEC champion, Ole Miss or Florida.
Tom Brew (@tombrewsports): Arkansas 53, Ole Miss 52 (OT)
I’ll go with Arkansas-Ole Miss for the way it ended and what it wound up costing the Rebels in the end. The crazy lateral play on fourth down might have to be the play of the year, and then for Arkansas to score and immediately go for two to end the game right there, well, that was a gutsy call by Bret Bielema. As it turns out, that cost Ole Miss its first-ever trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. That’s too bad in its own right, but it would have been interested to watch the playoffs play out if the Rebels had won the SEC and Alabama had just the one loss. Would they both be in?