FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams III tore through the Ole Miss defense Saturday, racking up a career-high 180 yards on 27 carries in the Razorbacks’ 34-30 victory.
It was Williams’ first opportunity to play against the team to which he was once committed.
“I have a lot of friends on that team, and they’re a great team so for us to have success like we did today means a lot to me,” Williams said.
The win also means a whole lot to the Arkansas program, which has now completely reset its season after starting 0-2 in SEC play.
With Auburn, Florida and LSU looming on the schedule, the Hogs were staring down the possibility of an 0-6 start in league play. Now, after beating a very good Rebels team, none of Arkansas’ remaining games seem unwinnable.
Saturday’s game also made clear that the Razorbacks have a strong 1-2 punch in the backfield between Williams and true freshman Devwah Whaley. The duo combined for 38 carries and 245 yards against the Rebels — a 6.45 yards-per-carry average.
Whaley — one of the top-rated high school running backs in the country last season — took awhile to get going this season, but over the last few weeks, he’s looked more and more like the future star many expect him to be.
The freshman also has drastically improved in pass protection, a factor that coaches said contributed to his lack of playing time earlier this season.
Whaley’s emergence is especially welcomed considering the news that sixth-year senior and team captain Kody Walker’s career is over. His preseason foot injury never quite healed.
“I hate that for him,” Williams said. “He’s a great person. I don’t think that’ll hurt him at all, because he’ll be successful in life in whatever he does.”