Offense was the name of the game Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Mississippi, as the No. 17 Ole Miss Rebels were able to squeak out a thriller over No. 13 Arkansas, 52-51.
Defense was virtually non-existent as the teams combined for 1,287 total yards on the afternoon. Arkansas redshirt sophomore quarterback KJ Jefferson had a career day, throwing for 326 yards and three touchdowns and adding 85 yards and three scores on the ground.
“I mean, I made plays but it all started with my teammates,” Jefferson said of his performance following the game.
Jefferson and redshirt senior running back Trelon Smith each scored touchdowns in the first half, but a fumble by freshman running back Raheim “Rocket” Sanders flipped the momentum in Ole Miss’ direction for the remainder of the half.
In a half in which Arkansas held the ball for over seven minutes more than the Rebels, the Hogs frustratingly found themselves down 21-14 at the break.
Early in the third quarter facing fourth-and-1 at its own 34-yard line, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin dialed up a run that the Arkansas defense stuffed, leading to a 31-yard field goal from freshman kicker Cameron Little that tied the game at 24.
“Obviously like you are and everybody else I was disappointed that we didn’t convert right there and score a touchdown, but at least we tied it up,” Pittman said. “We would have had a lot more momentum obviously if we scored.”
The remainder of the third quarter was fast and furious as the two offenses combined for five touchdowns, and as the third quarter came to a close, Arkansas and Ole Miss were tied at 31.
The fourth quarter was more of the same from the offenses, as each scored within the first five minutes of the period. With just under 12 minutes to play in the ballgame, the Hogs and Rebels were tied at 38.
As the Razorbacks were down seven with one second left in the ballgame, Jefferson hit redshirt junior wide receiver Warren Thompson for a 9-yard touchdown pass to cut the Ole Miss Lead to one at 52-51.
Deciding to go for the win, Arkansas was unable to convert the two point conversion.
“I wish the results were different,” Pittman said following the game. “I think I’d do it probably 100% of the time in the situation we were in.”
Arkansas will look to rebound against the No. 18 Auburn Tigers at 11 a.m. next Saturday in its first true home game since Sept. 18. The game will be broadcast on CBS or ESPN.