Fayetteville, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks scored 24 points off turnovers en route to a 48-28 victory over the Ole Miss Rebels Saturday afternoon at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.The win upped Arkansas’ record to 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss fell to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the SEC with the loss.
“It’s been a long, hard week,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “I’ve never been more proud of a group than this one. They did a great job of getting back to focus and getting back to work.
“Ole Miss gave us some different looks. They put nine in the box and tried to make us throw the ball. We did a good job of making holes for our running backs and making plays when we needed them. Our defense played with a lot of energy today.”
Arkansas finished with 336 yards of offense with 257 yards coming from the running game. Senior Fred Talley ran for 136 yards, his third straight 100-yard rushing performance this season. The Arkansas defense forced two interceptions and three fumbles on the day.
Ole Miss racked up 450 yards of offense with quarterback Eli Manning throwing for 414 yards. The Rebels were held to just 36 yards rushing on 25 attempts.
Manning finished the day 42-for-56 with two touchdowns.
The Razorbacks gave the Rebels the first points of the day when quarterback Matt Jones was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone which resulted in a safety for Ole Miss.
Near the end of the first quarter the Razorbacks capitalized off an Ole Miss miscue. Justin Scott recovered an Ole Miss fumble at the 20-yard line and David Carlton connected on a 29-yard field goal three plays later for a 3-2 Arkansas lead.
Arkansas increased its lead when Lerinezo Robinson returned a fumbled kickoff eight yards for a touchdown to give the Hogs a 10-2 lead.
Ole Miss narrowed the deficit to 10-5 when Jonathan Nichols hit a 48-yard field goal with less than a minute gone by in the second quarter.
Jimmy Beasley put the Razorbacks in business at the Ole Miss 34-yard line after he intercepted an Eli Manning pass. Two plays later, Jones rambled 34-yards on an option keeper for a touchdown to give the Hogs a 17-5 advantage.
Ole Miss, however, answered with an 85-yard, 10-play drive that culminated with Manning’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Justin Sawyer. The Rebels’ two-point conversion was no good to give the Hogs a 17-11 lead.
Arkansas closed the first half with a flurry to take a 27-11 lead at intermission. First, Carlton connected on a 37-yard field goal to push the lead to 20-11.
Decori Birmingham then returned an Ole Miss punt 55-yards to the Rebels’ 20-yard line. From there, Matt Jones hit George Wilson with a scoring strike to give the Hogs a 16-point lead.
Ole Miss made it a 27-14 game after Nichols hit a 25-yard field goal on the opening possession of the second half. The Rebels drove 73 yards in 12 plays for the score.
Arkansas answered as De’Arrius Howard ran in from five yards out to push the Hogs’ lead to 34-14. Howard’s touchdown run was set up by a 63-yard run by Fred Talley.
Lightening struck again for the Hogs when Tom Crowder recovered the kickoff in the end zone after it was fumbled by the Rebels. The score gave Arkansas a 41-14 lead with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Manning brought the Rebels closer in the fourth quarter with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Chris Collins. The touchdown made it 41-21 with 10:22 remaining in the game.
Each team added a score in the closing minutes of the game, with Manning diving in from one-yard out for Ole Miss and Howard going 38 yards to pay dirt for the final 48-28 score.
Arkansas will next take on the Troy State Trojans at 1 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock next Saturday.