Arkansas football made a major statement by defeating Ole Miss in an SEC division battle of two up and coming programs.
Entering Saturday’s game, both teams suffered two losses and had one win under their belts. Ole Miss and Arkansas played well the week prior as they faced off against their top 15 ranked opponents from the state of Alabama.
The Rebels’ offense was very impressive against a good Crimson Tide defense and the game was tied at 42 in the fourth quarter. However, Ole Miss attempted an onside kick to get the ball back but failed, which would end up resulting in an Alabama touchdown. The Rebels would settle for two field goals after that and ended up losing at home 63-48.
The Razorbacks game last week was closer and more controversial in comparison.
Arkansas, coming off of an impressive road victory against No. 16 Mississippi State the previous week, traveled to play No. 13 Auburn. The Tigers came out and lead the Razorbacks 17-0 in the second quarter but Arkansas responded with back-to-back touchdowns right before halftime. In the third quarter, the Razorbacks scored their third touchdown of the game but once again failed to convert an extra point attempt and or a two-point conversion for the third time going 0-3 for the game.
However, late in the fourth quarter, Arkansas took a one-point lead over Auburn and another upset looked to be on the horizon. The controversy occurred when an apparent fumble was ruled a forward pass which led to a Tigers field goal to give Auburn a 30-28 victory. Today’s game was very important for both teams moving forward.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Ole Miss had defeated Arkansas the past two times they had met on the gridiron. However, from 2014-17, the Razorbacks beat the Rebels in four straight contests.
This game featured two first-year coaches for their respected programs in Sam Pittman for Arkansas and Lane Kiffin for Ole Miss. Kiffin has more head coaching experience but Pittman has been an associate head coach/offensive line coach at North Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia prior to becoming the head coach this season of the Razorbacks.
What coach had the better game plan? A coach that was focused on getting a victory.
Both teams wanted to win but one team from the start made defense a priority. This college football season has been full of high-scoring games involving teams last season like LSU and Alabama who had top tier defenses last year. Arkansas came into this game facing an opponent that scored 48 points against the Crimson Tide as well as having 647 yards of total offense. However, on any given Saturday in a season of uncertainty, anything is possible in college football.
Let’s take a look at the three key takeaways from the Razorbacks’ victory over the Ole Miss Rebels and how this victory can be a program turnaround win for Arkansas and Pittman.