FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas missed some tackles. The offensive line was better, but still not playing at the level expected of a Bret Bielema O-line. Austin Allen threw what looked like a deadly fourth-quarter interception.
And yet somehow, the No. 22 Razorbacks managed to beat 12th-ranked Ole Miss 34-30 Saturday night inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The victory marks the Hogs’ third consecutive win over Ole Miss.
It also is the Razorbacks’ first SEC win of the season.
Here at SEC Country, we will break down Arkansas’ victory in several articles over the next couple of days. For now, here’s some instant analysis.
Trailing 30-27 with just over two minutes to play, quarterback Austin Allen handed the ball to receiver Jared Cornelius, who went untouched into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown.
The Ole Miss offense managed nothing on its ensuing drive, which ended when Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly was soooo close to scrambling and picking up a fourth-and-16 when he was smacked by Hogs safety Santos Ramirez and fumbled out of bounds.
Is Arkansas’ offensive line capable of handling an SEC defensive front? You bet it is.
The much-maligned Razorback O-line was not perfect by any stretch. Allen was still hit too many times and under pressure too much. But this unit has been beaten, bullied and badgered by the media all season — including this guy — and for the most part, it stepped up to the challenge today against what is a solid Ole Miss defensive line.
Can Arkansas’ defense handle an up-tempo offense? Chad Kelly and the Ole Miss offense had its most success Saturday night when it went tempo.
And guess who the Hogs play next week? Only the king of up-tempo offenses, coach Gus Malzahn and his Auburn Tigers.
What it means
Just a few days ago, we were talking about the possibility of Arkansas starting 0-6 in SEC play. After this monumental victory, the Hogs all of a sudden can start thinking about a 9-win season again.