In a Nutshell: Ole Miss defense stiffens but offensive woes plague Rebs in loss to Hogs
Christmas is still a couple of months away, but Ole Miss was in the giving mood Saturday as the Rebels gift-wrapped a 33-21 victory to Arkansas Saturday. Ole Miss made sure the Razorbacks’ stockings were full of treats with plenty of turnovers, mistakes and mental errors.
Here is The Rebel Walk’s analysis of Ole Miss’ loss to the Hogs:
THE POSITIVE: The Landsharks. After being maligned for its play the first three weeks of the season, the Ole Miss defense looked good against Arkansas. The defense did give up 394 yards, but it stepped up when it needed and did not surrender all the Razorbacks’ points. It is definitely a step in the right direction going forward.
THE NEGATIVE: The missed opportunities. Two Arkansas goal-line stands, six interceptions and a lost fumble. Those cannot happen if a team wants to win an SEC game.
THE KEY PLAY: With 3:07 left to play, Matt Corral was intercepted by Grant Morgan who returned it 23 yards for the coffin-sealing touchdown. It was Corral’s sixth interception of the game. Coming into the contest, he had thrown only one.
THE KEY UNIT: The secondary. Okay, Arkansas did throw for 244 yards and a touchdown, but that cannot be on the shoulders of the defensive backs. For most of the day, Razorbacks’ quarterback Feleipe Franks had all afternoon to throw in the pocket. Ole Miss did sack him 2.5 times, but for the most part, Franks’ uniform stayed clean.
THE MOMENTUM SHIFTER: The fourth-quarter fake punt. Linebacker MoMo Sanogo took a snap as the Rebels prepared to kick the ball to the Razorbacks. Instead of giving up possession, Sanogo rumbled 47 yards deep into Arkansas territory. A short Jerrion Ealy touchdown run a few plays later put the Rebs into striking distance of the lead.
WHAT THIS MEANS GOING FORWARD: Ole Miss hosts Auburn for Homecoming next week. Although this loss hurts and drops the Rebels to 1-3, they know the defense may have found its game. If the offense can get back on track, Ole Miss will give the reeling Tigers all they can handle after Auburn lost to South Carolina today.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.