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Arkansas 29 … at Ole Miss 24

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 22, 2011


Week 8 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Arkansas at Ole Miss


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 8 - Arkansas at Ole Miss

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Oct. 22 Arkansas 29 … at Ole Miss 24
CFN Analysis: It might have taken a while to wake up, but Dennis Johnson saved the day with a 52-yard run late in the first half to turn things around and the defense picked up its play in the second half. Call it an unfocused effort, or call it sloppy, but Tyler Wilson completed fewer than half his passes and was all over the place on too many key throws. He might have run for two short scores, but he was bailed out by Johnson and the ground game that took over when needed. There’s no need to panic after the tougher-than-expected win, but next week an easy win over Vanderbilt is a must to have any dreams of rolling through the finishing kick … including LSU.

Ole Miss came out strong and the pass defense played one of its best games of the year, but the run defense failed once again and the offense couldn’t get control of the game in the second half. On the plus side, the offense moved the ball a bit, and Donte Moncrief caught two touchdown passes, but the team couldn’t take advantage of the breaks and the early lead. The shocking upset was there for the taking after getting up 17-0, thanks to a great start from Randall Mackey, but the running attack stopped working and the mistakes started to flow, committing 12 penalties for 85 yards. The Rebels needed the win to have any prayer of turning the season around, and now with a trip to Auburn up next, the run defense either has to be night-day–better or it’ll be an 0-5 start in the SEC.

(AP) OXFORD, Miss. -- Tyler Wilson threw for 232 yards and rushed for two touchdowns and Arkansas (No. 9 BCS, No. 10 AP) rallied from an early 17-point deficit to beat Mississippi 29-24 on Saturday.

Arkansas (6-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) continues its best start under fourth-year coach Bobby Petrino, staying in the mix in the loaded Western Division that includes LSU and Alabama. Dennis Johnson rushed for 160 yards on 15 carries, including a 52-yard touchdown. Joe Adams caught four passes for 124 yards.

Eric Bennett's late interception sealed the victory.

Ole Miss (2-5, 0-4) took a surprising 17-0 lead with 6:20 remaining in the second quarter after Randall Mackey's 3-yard touchdown run, but the Razorbacks responded with 29 unanswered points to take the lead.

The Rebels have now set a program record for SEC futility, losing 10 straight league games dating back to last season.

Arkansas (5-1) at Ole Miss (2-4) Oct. 22, 12:21, SEC Network/ESPN3

Here’s The Deal … Is Arkansas in the national title chase? It might need a ton of help and a few quirks, having lost to Alabama a few weeks ago, but if it can win out it could be in the hunt. LSU needs to beat Alabama and Arkansas has to be LSU, and even then the Tide might have to lose again, but at the very least, the rest of the season could get extremely interesting by continuing to roll.

The Hogs overcame a tough start to beat Texas A&M, and then they blew away Auburn in a 38-14 domination to firmly establish themselves as good enough to be considered a possible top three SEC team, and now it’s time to keep on improving. This is the easy part of the slate, with road games at Ole Miss and at Virginia, and suddenly, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi State, all home games, don’t seem so daunting.

Ole Miss is just trying to find something positive. There’s no shame in getting blown out by Alabama this year, but losing 30-7 to Vanderbilt was a bad tone-setter in a season where little has gone right. Beating Arkansas, though, would change everything.

The year can still be salvaged and a bowl game is still possible with winnable games against Kentucky and Louisiana Tech still on the slate, but it’ll still take two other upset wins to get there. Considering the offense is among the worst in the nation and the defense hasn’t been far behind, getting to six wins could be asking for way too much.

Why Arkansas Might Win: Ole Miss managed hang 42 points on Southern Illinois and 38 on Fresno State, but in the four losses the offense has scored a grand total of 40 points. Arkansas is averaging just over 39 points per game and hunt 38 or more on everyone but Alabama. Ole Miss doesn’t have a passing game, going over the 149-yard mark just once, and it doesn’t have nearly enough firepower to keep up the pace if the Arkansas offense bombs away early on.

Defensively, the Rebels aren’t generating enough of a pass rush to throw any sort of a scare into the Hog backfield, with Tyler Wilson likely to get a break this week. The Rebels have gotten into the backfield from time to time, but not against any of the better teams. The bigger problem for the Ole Miss front line has been stopping the run, getting its doors blown off by Trent Richardson and Alabama last week and allowing 226 yards per game on the season.

Why Ole Miss Might Win: The secondary has been surprisingly strong. Granted, the stats aren’t that bad because the run defense has been picked apart so badly, but the pass defense held its own against Georgia, who got 268 yards out of Aaron Murray, and Fresno State, with Derek Carr chucking for 281 yards in an attempt to come back. No, Ole Miss isn’t getting enough of a pass rush, but Arkansas hasn’t been too strong in pass protection and will have lapses. On the other side, the Hog defensive front has generated just six sacks on the year. The Rebel O line has been a disappointment, but it’s still not that bad.

Ole Miss needs to win the turnover margin to have any prayer of keeping up. The defense will give up yards, but if it can halt a few key drives, and if the offense can stay mistake free against a Hog D that’s generated just one fumble recovery, there’s a chance this might be closer than expected. Arkansas is really, really good and really, really explosive, but it has just enough flaws that Ole Miss might be able to surprise if it can overcome a slew of big injuries and problems.

What To Watch Out For: Wayne Dorsey came into the season as one of the SEC’s most promising pass rushers, and while he hasn’t been great, he still led the team in sacks. Knocked out for the year with a broken arm, now the Rebels have to manufacture pressure from several other spots. Meanwhile, the secondary also suffered a huge hit losing top corner Marcus Temple to a broken ankle, and now the defense has to scramble to replace two key parts to a defense that ranks last in the SEC in yards allowed, run defense, and pass efficiency defense.

Arkansas has problems of its own on defense, but at least health isn’t a major issue. The veteran linebacking corps is doing its job lately helped by a terrific last few games from senior leader Jerry Franklin, who started out the year doing a good job against the run, but not a great one, before stepping up his play in a big way. He came up with 11 tackles against Texas A&M with a tackle for loss, and last week he was all over the field against Auburn making 15 stops with a broken up pass and 1.5 tackles for loss. Last year he made nine stops in the win over the Rebels.

What Will Happen: The Arkansas machine will keep on rolling. The Rebels are hurting too badly on defense and aren’t doing enough offensively to come up with the big upset. Arkansas will give up a few points, but it’s the SEC’s No. 1 offense against the SEC’s last-ranked defense. Uh-oh.

CFN Prediction: Arkansas 38 … Ole Miss 17
- Click For Latest Line From ATS:  Arkansas -17   O/U: 56

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