FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Ole Miss Rebels (8-3, 4-3) fall in a shutout by the Arkansas Razorbacks (6-5, 2-5), 30-0. It just never seemed like Ole Miss’ day as the Razorbacks picked up back-to-back shutout SEC victories to become bowl eligible for the first time under Bret Bielema. The loss for the Rebels ends their SEC West Divisional Title hopes, and solidifies Alabama clinching their road to Atlanta. Ole Miss will look in hopes for an Egg Bowl victory to recap their remarkable season.
– Bo Wallace – 16/31, 235 yards, 2 INT: Wallace is now the all-time total offense leader at Ole Miss, surpassing previous holder Eli Manning. The magnitude of that record does not seem to come in rejoice, as the performance against Arkansas didn’t amount to anything. Wallace was injured in the first half, twisting his right ankle on a play that resulted in a turnover. One could only imagine he is questionable to start against Mississippi State next weekend, as we should hear results of his injury later this week. If Wallace can not start in the Egg Bowl, this changes everything for the Rebels’ chances of winning back the Golden Egg,
– Backup Quarterbacks, Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade: This was one of those moments where an injured starting quarterback was not a great opportunity for back-up talent to shine. Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade were not impressive and ineffective throughout their playing time. It has nothing to do with questioning their talent. They both have the potential to be successful next season, not during critical moments of a huge rivalry game. Kincade was 1/1, throwing for 13 yards, and fumbled the ball deep in Ole Miss’ territory, setting up Arkansas’ final scoring drive. It should be illegal for quarterbacks to wear gloves. Buchanan went 1/5, 5 total yards in passing, and 1 INT. Their lack of experience showed in this game.
– The Lack of the Running Game Continues: Just think were this team would be with a powerful running back, and offensive line that could consistently free up lanes. It has been the Ole Miss Rebels biggest weakness all season, and nothing changed in this game. A successful run game would have rested this defense, and would have not put the defense in critical situations, like in the first quarter. Jaylen Walton led the Rebels in rushing with 7 carries for 37 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. The longest run for the Rebels in the game came from Walton for 18 yards. This is an area we can not fix this late in the season, but is an area that needs major attention in the offseason.
– Special Teams Needs Major Work: Markell Pack is just not cutting it on punt returns. His mistakes throughout the season have been too consistent to keep him at this position. The Rebels need to find that speed runner who has better judgment and will limit the mistakes. Punters Will Gleeson and Gary Wunderlich did not leave the defense in good shape at all. Of course, the weather and field position never played in their favor.
– The Defense on the Goal Line: If there were any heroes for the Ole Miss Rebels in this game, it was the defensive line on goal line situations. A controversial offsides call on Ole Miss in the first quarter led to Arkansas scoring a goal line touchdown. If the penalty had not occurred, Ole Miss would had forced a turnover. However, late in the game, the Landshark defense was able to force a fumble, extending their consecutive turnover streak to 35 games. Senior Deterrian Shackelford led the defense with 12 total tackles, 0.5 tackles for a loss, and a fumble recovery. Defensive end Channing Ward had a big game in putting pressure on the quarterback. Arkansas’ starting quarterback, Brandon Allen also went down with a back injury midway through the game.
The Ole Miss Rebels will now head back to Oxford. They need to shrug that loss off, as they will host in-state rival Mississippi State Bulldogs (9-1, 5-1) at the same time next Saturday in the annual Egg Bowl.