It looked like a completely different Arkansas defense Saturday, but after some late-game drama the end result was the same. Bryson Rose kicked a game-winning 31-yard field goal as time expired giving Ole Miss a 30-27 victory. The loss drops Arkansas to 3-5. Now, making a bowl game seem very unlikely.
In a season where the defense has taken much of the blame for the Razorbacks, this time the offense took the criticism.
The defense held Ole Miss out of the endzone in the second half, forcing five punts, but the offense found the endzone just once in that frame. The Rebels blitzed quarterback Tyler Wilson all game long and disrupted his rhythm. Wilson was 24-43 for 297 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Wilson never got in sync with his receivers, who were blanketed by Ole Miss defenders all game.
Arkansas opened up the scoring 3:43 into the game with a Zach Hocker 22-yard field goal. The Hogs elected not to go for 4th and 3 inside the 10 after successfully converting 4th and 11 earlier in the drive.
The Hogs then took a two-score lead when Wilson hit Chris Gragg for a 42-yard touchdown. This was Gragg’s first game back since injuring his leg in the Rutgers game. That same leg seemed to be aggravated in the first half when he landed awkwardly on it. He did not return to the game. Running back Knile Davis also left the game in the first half with an injury.
Once the second quarter started Wilson went cold and Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace started to find a rhythm. Wallace found Vince Sanders for a 4-yard score to cut the lead to 10-7 less than two minutes into the second quarter.
The Rebels took their first lead on the next drive after capitalizing on a blocked punt by Charles Sawyer that gave them the ball inside the redzone. Bary Brunetti scored from one yard out to make it 14-10.
Arkansas responded late in the first half when Alex Voelzke’s first career catch went for a touchdown, making it 17-14.
Ole Miss executed the two-minute offense with ease to take a 21-17 lead into the half.
The second half saw a Hogs defense that was polar opposite to the one that has given up jaw-dropping numbers this season. They forced four three-and-outs, and held Ole Miss to field goals on two drives where they had a short field.
Down 27-20 for most of the fourth quarter, the Hogs tied it 27-27 on a Dennis Johnson 5-yard run with 2:09 remaining.
As well as the defense played all game, the last drive was the detriment. Ole Miss went 61 yards in eight plays to set up the game winning field goal.