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No. 17 Rebels ready to bounce back as showdown with No. 13 Arkansas up next

No. 17 Rebels ready to bounce back as showdown with No. 13 Arkansas up next

OXFORD, Miss. — Practically everyone has had a rebound relationship. The one after a disappointing partnership that puts them back on the road to emotional healing.

After disappointing outings last week, both Arkansas and Ole Miss are looking to rekindle their romance with the win column.

The teams will meet in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday a week after being shellacked by the top two teams in the country. Ole if Miss fell to top-ranked Alabama 42-21, while the Razorbacks were routed by No. 2 Georgia, 37-0.

Like most failed relationships, a lack of communication is a key factor in the outcome. Tackle Nick Broeker saw that first hand in Tuscaloosa.

“Communications pre-snap has kind of been the main thing and then some of the stuff they threw at us, in-game. We got to do a better job communicating with coach on the sideline about and with each other,” Broeker said.

So I think that’s a big thing not only communication on the field, but off the field when we go to the sideline communicating things and just putting us in a better call.

Nick Broeker on what the Rebs need to work on

Communication will be a point of emphasis for the Rebels as they go against an Arkansas defense that employed a drop-eight defense to cut down on Matt Corral’s passing lanes. A year ago in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks used that defense to force Corral into six interceptions in a 33-21 loss.

Ole Miss expects the Hogs to use that same defense when they come to Oxford.

They (the Arkansas defense) got great players all over the field. And they run that drop-eight stuff to perfection and we got to do whatever it takes to get open and sit in the holes and catch the ball when it’s thrown to us.

Wide receiver Braylon Sanders on the Arkansas defense

Defensively, Ole Miss must contend with Razorback quarterback KJ Jefferson who is a threat not only throwing the ball, but also running with it. He has completed 54-of-91 of his passes this year for 909 yards and six touchdowns. He has thrown two interceptions in five games.

On the ground, he is second on the team with 235 yards, trailing only Trelon Smith’s 302.

They got a really good quarterback so we got to stop him on the run and stop the pass. I really think it’s going to be a great game.”

Ole Miss linebacker Lakia Henry on Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson

This game could come down to which team has the best case of selective amnesia from a week ago.

“They’re a really good football team,” Henry said. “They had a real bad game (at Georgia) you know, the same as we did last week, but they’re going to come in here and try to run the football so we really have to stop the run.”

It sounds as if Henry and his teammates have something to focus on moving into this week instead of commiserating about last week.

That is one of the best ways to move on from a disappointing experience.

Next Up

Kickoff is set for 11 a.m., and the game can be seen on ESPN.

(Feature image credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)

About The Author

Steve Barnes

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.

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