Razorbacks vs Rebels Gameday Predictions
Arkansas was firing on all cylinders before the game was suspended due to weather against Kentucky. Tyler Wilson threw for 372 yards and tied a school record with five touchdown passes. Cobi Hamilton averages 16.4 yards per catch, and the two are becoming the deadly combination fans thought they would be. Ole Miss will present a very explosive receiver, Donte Moncrief, who averages 15.5 yards per catch. Their quarterback has more than 1,300 yards on the year, so the Rebels are capable of putting up points. I look for Arkansas to have the edge, especially with the return of senior tight end Chris Gragg who has been out with a leg injury.
Arkansas has accepted the “running by committee” approach, using Dennis Johnson as the primary scoring back. Knile Davis has shown some improvement, but freshman Jonathan Williams has emerged as a dual-threat running back who can both run and catch passes out of the backfield. Ole Miss will field their lead rusher, Jeff Scott, who has tallied 562 yards and five touchdowns on the season. Ole Miss may struggle running against Arkansas’ defense, who has consistently stopped the run this season. However, Scott’s stats push Ole Miss ahead.
Advantage: Ole Miss
Arkansas has gotten younger over the past few games. The return of CB Tevin Mitchel and emerging freshman Will Hines highlight the new Arkansas secondary. Arkansas has only allowed 14 points over the last two games, a vast improvement from the beginning of the season. Ole Miss has the athletes in their secondary to give Arkansas trouble. Ole Miss has allowed fewer points per contest this year, making this an interesting category. Given the youth Arkansas still possesses, a slight edge goes to the Rebels.
Advantage: Ole Miss
Arkansas has done a consistent job of slowing the run of opponents all year. Despite the loss of Tenarius Wright and Alonzo Highsmith, young guys continue to step in and fill the void. Ole Miss has a very talented linebacker on their team, Mike Marry. Marry led the Rebels with six tackles, a sack and an interception in their win over Auburn. Ole Miss did a good job of slowing the likes of Alabama, even though nobody can completely stop that running game. Both teams are very good at game planning to slow their opponents running game.
Arkansas has done what they need to do in the special teams department thus far this season. Dylan Breeding has pinned opponents consistently, Zach Hocker has been good enough for the Hogs and they haven’t given up huge plays for the opposing team’s return game. Ole Miss was very modest in the return game against Auburn, getting 39 total return yards. Their kicker Bryson Rose was perfect on the night as well, and he has been very consistent all year. I must give Arkansas the advantage solely based on Breeding’s ability to change an opponent’s strategy in the return game.
Arkansas made a change to get offensive coordinator Paul Petrino into the coaching booth, and the Hogs have rolled through two wins since. John L. Smith deserves credit for keeping the players focused and willing to keep preparing hard for each game. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has the rebels at 4-3 (1-2 SEC), with tough losses to Alabama and Texas A&M. Ole Miss is playing with enormous confidence, and Freeze has them believing they can compete for the SEC Western crown. Despite Arkansas’ recent surge, Freeze has been right there competitively in every game this season.
Advantage: Ole Miss
Arkansas has won its past two games by a combined 73-14. The recent success has been highlighted by the youth who have taken the field for the Hogs. This experience and extra practice they got on the bye week could be big for a young and talented group. Ole Miss has been very competitive this year. They have outscored opponents 229-186 this year, so they can be a dangerous team if taken lightly. Both teams have almost identical records, making it very hard to distinguish the better team before they clash helmets Saturday in Little Rock.