By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss Rebels return to the gridiron on Saturday as they travel to Fayetteville for an SEC West Division showdown against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Ole Miss (1-2, 1-2 SEC) comes in after a hard-fought 63-48 loss to No. 2 Alabama last week. The Rebels offense put up a total of 647 yards.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Matt Corral has thrown for 1080 yards on the season. He ranks third nationally in passing efficiency (210.7). This season, wide receiver Elijah Moore leads the nation in receiving yards per game (154.0) and is second in the NCAA in receptions per game (10.3).
The Rebels tight end Kenny Yeboah enters the contest averaging 118.3 receiving yards per game, the most in the NCAA amongst tight ends.
Arkansas (1-2, 1-2 SEC) enters after a devastating last-second 30-28 loss at No.13 Auburn.
“[Arkansas] is a much-improved team that we are getting ready to play,” Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said. “They very could have easily won that game [Auburn] Saturday. Have done an awesome job. Obviously struggling a lot last year … on defense. Look like a whole different team stops people a lot. We are going to have our hands full.”
The Razorbacks opened 2020 with three straight matchups against opponents ranked in the top 20. Arkansas ended its 20-game SEC losing streak with a 21-14 upset over No. 16 Mississippi State on Oct. 3. The Sam Pittman-led Razorbacks average 330.7 yards of total offense per game, with 244.3 of it coming through the air.
Arkansas’ Offensive Coordinator Kendal Briles was the OC for Kiffin at Florida Atlantic University in 2017, now bringing the same tempo offense to the Razorbacks.
“Even watching in the offseason, Florida State preparing for our game with Florida, I felt there was a lot that he took from our time there and was still running,” Kiffin said. “We have his line coach [Randy Clements] here who was with him last year. He talked about a lot of similarities.”
Florida transfer Feleipe Franks has completed 61-of-94 passes for 730 yards and seven touchdowns. Five different Razorback wideouts have recorded a receiving TD. An injury to star running back Rakeem Boyd opened the door for Arizona State transfer Trelon Smith. In the loss to Auburn, Smith rushed 21 times for 81 yards. He also hauled in six passes for 78 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Razorbacks are allowing 411.0 yards per game. Arkansas is No. 16 nationally with four interceptions on the season. LB Bumper Pool and DB Jalen Catalon are tied for second nationally with 12.0 tackles per game.
This meeting will be the 67th all-time matchup between these two programs. Arkansas holds a 35-28-1 series lead. However, the original series record is 35-30-1 with Ole Miss’ wins in 2012 & 2013 being vacated due to NCAA ruling. Since the Razorbacks joined the conference in 1992, Arkansas has a 16-10 advantage over the Rebels.
Fans can follow HottyToddySprts for all the action throughout the game that will be carried on the SEC Network.