Five Keys to Ole Miss
1. Stop the Run
Along with quarterback Bo Wallace, the Rebels also have junior running back Jeff Scott. Scott ranks fourth in the Southeastern Conference with 97.3 rushing yards per game, leading the country’s 26th best rushing offense. Although the Razorbacks are fifth in the SEC in run defense, only giving up 130 yards per game on the ground, they have allowed two players to rush for over 100 yards. Both players, Texas A&M’s Manziel and Rutgers’ Jawan Jamison, rank in the top 40 for rushing yards per game, as does Scott. Arkansas will have their hands full with not only containing Wallace, but also stopping Scott.
2. Contain Bo Wallace
Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace is yet another versatile quarterback the Razorbacks will face. ULM’s Kolten Browning and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel racked up 481 total yards and 558 total yards, respectively, against Arkansas. However, they held Auburn’s Kiehl Frazier to just 93 total yards and sacked him four times in only one half of play. Wallace has a similar skill set as these quarterbacks, as he has thrown for 1,371 yards and rushed for 233 yards. Last week, he displayed his versatility by scoring two rushing touchdowns, one passing touchdown and one receiving touchdown. Arkansas must contain him and not allow him to make plays like these for the Rebels.
3. Block Well
Arkansas’ young, inexperienced offensive line has improved steadily throughout the season. They are protecting senior quarterback Tyler Wilson and giving him plenty of time to find open receivers as well as opening holes in the run game. Against the Rebels this Saturday, they will need to step it up another notch. Ole Miss comes into the game fourth in the SEC in tackles for loss, with 7.9 per game, and sacks, with 2.7 per game, so Arkansas’ offensive linemen must be prepared for their stiff rush.
4. Win Third and Fourth Downs
The Razorbacks have struggled on third down all season, converting only 37 percent of their third-down opportunities. They have also allowed opponents to convert 47 out of 116 third and fourth down attempts, which is 41 percent. The Rebels have flourished in these situations, converting an impressive 51 percent of their third and fourth downs. In order to maintain long drives, Arkansas must convert on these later downs and keep their defense off the field. If they can’t convert, their defense won’t have as much time to rest, causing them to tire more quickly and leading to easier scoring for the Ole Miss offense.
5. Defend “the Rock”
Little Rock has been a second home for the Razorbacks since 1906 and it has proven to be a friendly one. In 1954, led by the famous “25 Little Pigs,” they beat No. 5 Ole Miss in Little Rock for one of the most monumental victories in school history. However, earlier this season, unranked ULM upset Arkansas 34-31 in overtime. That loss snapped a 20 game nonconference win streak in Little Rock. Such a poor showing in our state’s capital is highly unusual and the players must use it as inspiration to come out and redeem themselves.