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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 9, 12:21 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580) -- Oxford, Mississippi. Television: SEC Network, MSG, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Arkansas 3-3, Ole Miss 3-1. Away Record: Arkansas 0-3, Ole Miss 2-2. Neutral Record: Arkansas 0-0, Ole Miss 0-0. Conference Record: Arkansas 0-5, Ole Miss 2-3. Series Record: Arkansas leads, 32-26-1.
GAME NOTES: The Ole Miss Rebels will attempt to extend their winning streak to three games on Saturday afternoon, as they welcome the Arkansas Razorbacks to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for an SEC showdown.
The Brett Bielema era of Arkansas football got off to a strong start with wins in each of its first three games, but since then things have spiraled out of control with five straight losses, culminating in a 35-17 home defeat at the hands of Auburn last Saturday. The Razorbacks have played a brutal schedule, as each of their last five games have been against ranked teams.
Ole Miss also started the campaign hot with three wins out of the gate, allowing it to climb into the Top-25, but it promptly fell from the ranks with three straight losses. The Rebels have gotten back on track in recent weeks, however, with home wins over LSU on Oct. 19 (27-24) and Idaho on Oct. 26 (59-14).
This matchup marks the 60th all-time meeting between the two programs, with Arkansas holding a 32-26-1 lead. The Rebels were victorious last October in Little Rock, 30-27.
Arkansas' failures this season are mostly due to its inability to generate consistent offense, as it ranks last in the SEC in scoring with just 20.0 ppg. Against elite defenses in recent weeks, the unit has struggled mightily, putting up only 8.5 points in the last four games.
Starting with the positive, the Razorbacks have established an impressive rushing attack behind a pair of young running backs. Freshman Alex Collins is fourth in the SEC in rushing with 889 yards, while sophomore Jonathan Williams isn't far behind with 716 yards. Both players have scored four touchdowns.
The quarterback play, on the other hand, has simply not been up to snuff. Brandon Allen has nine passing touchdowns to his credit, but he is completing only 45 percent of his throws for 1,067 yards with seven interceptions.
Javontee Herndon leads the team in receptions (24), yards (377) and touchdowns (four), while Hunter Henry (18 receptions, 328 yards, TD) has been a big-play threat on occasion.
With such a lackluster scoring attack, the UA defense doesn't have much of a chance to be successful. The unit allows 31.1 ppg, although its average yardage allowance (385.8 ypg) ranks eighth in the league.
The strength of the defense resides up front, where Trey Flowers (9.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks, two FF) and Chris Smith (9.0 TFL, 7.0 sacks) have shined. Braylon Mitchell has a team-high 63 tackles.
Ole Miss puts forth one of the more impressive offensive attacks in the SEC this season, averaging 32.5 ppg and 462.3 ypg, and it is fresh off its best performance of the season in a 59-point, 572-yard outburst against Idaho.
Bo Wallace completes better than 62 percent of his passes for 1,976 yards, and he has accounted for 14 touchdowns (three rushing) while tossing only three interceptions. Barry Brunetti has offensive packages designed specifically for him, particularly around the goal line, and he's cashed in with five receiving and three rushing touchdowns.
Despite missing two games with a thigh injury, Jeff Scott (434 yards, two TDs) is still the team's leading rusher. Scott is listed as questionable for this contest, meaning I'Tavius Mathers (326 yards, two TDs) and Jaylen Walton (321 yards, five TDs) could continue to see extended action.
Laquon Treadwell is a trusted receiving option when it comes to moving the chains (41 catches, 385 yards, two TDs). Wallace has displayed strong chemistry down the field with Donte Moncrief, who has hauled in 34 balls for 498 yards and four scores.
For the most part, the Rebels defense has been able to support their productive offense, allowing 25.6 ppg while ranking sixth in the SEC in total defense (379.4 ypg).
The unit could be shorthanded for this matchup, however, as LB Denzel Nkemdiche, DE Robert Nkemdiche and CB Mike Holton are all listed as questionable. Serderius missed two games earlier in the season, but still leads the team with 57 tackles and 6.0 TFL. Cody Prewitt in active in the takeaway battle with four interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Arkansas must be relieved to finally escape the treacherous stretch of facing ranked opponents, but taking on the Rebels in Oxford is no walk in the park. The Razorbacks may be able to put up a few more points than they have grown accustomed to in recent weeks, but it won't be enough to topple an Ole Miss squad that is generating momentum at exactly the right time.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 38, Arkansas 24
11/06 10:45:44 ET
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