Turn the Page: Coach Kiffin and the Rebels put Alabama behind them, all eyes on the Hogs
OXFORD, Miss. — Here’s hoping Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss are fans of Bob Seger. In 1973, Seger and his Silver Bullet Band released the single, “Turn the page.”
After last week’s 42-21 loss at top-ranked Alabama, that is exactly what the Rebels need to do.
Ole Miss fell to No. 17 in the AP Top 25 rankings, five spots lower than when it went to Tuscaloosa. The Rebels now face No. 13 Arkansas who also tumbled five spots in the poll after getting shut out by No. 2 Georgia, 37-0.
Neither team can afford to dwell on what happened last Saturday or chances are it could happen again. Kiffin doesn’t believe the Ole Miss nor Razorbacks’ loss last week will affect how it gets ready for another SEC West game.
“Obviously not in preparation, maybe on the outside you know because both teams struggled a week ago versus the two best teams in the country,” Kiffin said.
“You know, (this is) still a matchup of two top 20 teams that have come a long ways in two years.”
Coach Lane Kiffin on the matchup with the Razorbacks
Two years ago Ole Miss could not post a winning record, and that season the Hogs struggled against everyone. Now Kiffin and Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman have their programs going in the right direction.
The Razorbacks are now 4-1 after posting impressive wins over Texas and Texas A&M, while Ole Miss is 3-1 heading into the game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Still, no one could blame either team for looking back on losing to the two top-ranked teams in the country.
Arkansas is looking back to the game in Athens and seeing a myriad of mistakes that must be addressed. For Ole Miss, many are pointing to the Rebels going just 2-for-5 on fourth down conversions. After succeeding on their first two tries, Ole Miss was stopped on the next three and lost possession of the ball.
But Kiffin was steadfast in his decisions when addressing the media Monday.
“I think really to sum the whole thing up, you know the question got asked to me about well were you just doing that because it was Alabama,” Kiffin said.
“You know, ‘were you being you know aggressive?’ – no that was all analytics and following it. And I think in those games because I’ve been in those discussions when you’re in your rooms, all right what are we going to do? We’re playing, we’re the heavy underdog; you know, let’s just keep it close you know so it doesn’t look as bad you know and punt the ball away. Well, we don’t play that way. And I don’t think when you’re a heavy underdog you win that way, you know especially with a good quarterback.”
Coach Kiffin on going for it on fourth down vs. Bama
Facing one of the best defenses in college football — and doing so without starting wide receiver Jonathan Mingo (out with foot injury) — made it hard for Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and the offense to duplicate the Rebels’ success in the first three games of the season.
The junior was 21-of-29 for 213 yards, and he threw a touchdown while not surrendering an interception. Corral’s numbers were comparable to Alabama’s Bryce Young who was 21-of-27 for 241 yards. Young did throw a pair of touchdowns but was also picked off once.
Corral is another player looks to turn the page. The last time he played the Razorbacks, he threw six interceptions in a 33-21 loss.
“Oh, here I am, on the road again,
Here I am, up on the stage,
There I go, playing star again,
There I go, turn the page.”
Sing that song, Bob Seger, sing that song.
(Photo credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)
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.