FAYETTEVILLE – The 21st-ranked Arkansas football team defeated Ole Miss 38-24 on Saturday inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in a game delayed twice by lightning. The win was highlighted by the rushing effort of sophomore Knile Davis, who totaled 176 yards and three touchdowns, both career highs. The Razorbacks improve to 5-2 (2-2, SEC) and the Rebels drop to 3-4 (1-3, SEC).
Head coach Bobby Petrino was impressed with the Arkansas team after the win.
"It took five hours, but we got the win," Coach Petrino said. "I’m proud of our football team. They played extremely hard."
Davis’ rushing was important for the Razorbacks late in the contest. The Missouri City, Texas, native broke a career-long 71-yard run to the end zone and also scored from 22 yards out in the final quarter. Davis opened the scoring with a two-yard scamper at the 8:08 mark of the first quarter.
Coach Petrino commented on UA’s success running the ball, attributing the results to the team’s overall effort.
"I was real proud of how we finished the game running the ball," Coach Petrino said. "Knile did a great job running the football, but our offensive line did a great job blocking for him."
UA’s four touchdown drives took 1:42, 1:02, 0:28 and 1:49 off the clock, respectively, marking the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th times this season the Razorbacks recorded a touchdown drive of less than two minutes. The 28-second drive is the fastest for the Razorbacks so far this season. Arkansas has 52 touchdown drives of two minutes or less under Coach Petrino.
Arkansas totaled 464 offensive yards in the win, including a season-high 197 on the ground. Razorback quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson combined to throw for 267 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Greg Childs led UA in catches with four grabs for 45 yards and a touchdown.
The Razorbacks took a 21-3 advantage over the Rebels into halftime, with one of the most explosive plays of the opening half coming from wide receiver Joe Adams. With the scoreboard reading 14-0 in favor of UA, Adams returned a UM punt 97 yards into the end zone for a touchdown. Adams broke a tackle and won a foot race with several chasing Ole Miss players to secure Arkansas’ all-time longest punt return for a touchdown. The previous best was Ken Hatfield’s 95-yard return vs. Tulsa in 1963.
In earlier first half action, Mallett and Childs were in sync, with the UA signal caller lofting a pass into the end zone for Childs to make a diving touchdown grab from 23 yards out.
Late in the second quarter, UA’s defense rose to the challenge. The Razorbacks kept the Rebels from reaching the end zone after UM started the drive at Arkansas’ 2-yard line. UA surrendered only a 22-yard field goal to Rebel kicker Bryson Rose after holding UM to minus-one total yards on the drive.
The Razorback offense added the first points of the second half when Zach Hocker connected on a 46-yard field goal, setting the score at 24-10 with 11:16 remaining in the third quarter.
After Ole Miss quarterback Jeremiah Masoli found Ja-Mes Logan for an 18-yard touchdown pass in third quarter action, the UA-UM game was halted by officials due to lightning for the first time. After a 58-minute delay, play continued into the fourth quarter before lightning stopped play again for 31 minutes.
Rebel wide receiver Markeith Summers exchanged fourth-quarter scores with UA’s Davis, catching two scoring throws from Masoli at the 11:39 and 9:04 marks. The latter touchdown catch closed Arkansas’ lead to 31-24, but the Rebels would fail to score again in the game.
The 12th-largest crowd in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium history, 73,619, was on hand for the elongated game. Combined with the stadium-record crowd of 76,808 that attended the Razorbacks’ last home game against Alabama, the 150,427 fan total is an Arkansas record for back-to-back home games.
Arkansas next hosts Vanderbilt inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Oct. 30. The Homecoming game is set to kick off at 6 p.m. on FSN.
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