So much for controlled destiny. Arkansas used late game heroics and an overtime gamble to up-end then-No. 18 Ole Miss 53-53.
What we learned
The loss certainly wasn't the offense's fault as the Rebels racked up 590 total yards, the most against an SEC opponent during the Hugh Freeze era. While the Rebels' offense couldn't be stopped, the same could be said for Arkansas, which racked up 605 yards. The Hogs needed a bit of luck on their fourth-and-25 conversion in overtime -- plus a face mask on the two-point conversion -- but the once mighty Ole Miss defense was absent at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday. That's bad news for a program that had one of top scoring defenses in the nation a year ago.
"Our plan was obviously not very good," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said post-game. "Their quarterback played at an extremely high level. We struggled in every one-on-one situation we had."
Arkansas especially controlled the clock, racking up more than 41 minutes of possession compared to just under 19 minutes by Ole Miss.
Alex Collins led Arkansas' rushing attack with 108 yards while quarterback Brandon Allen passed for a whopping 442 yards and six touchdowns. No play from Allen was bigger than his dive across the goal line on Arkansas' second two-point attempt of overtime.
"I can't say enough about our quarterback," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. "He is an example of a gladiator."
Any possibility of the Rebels controlling their own destiny was dashed with the loss as Ole Miss (7-3, 4-2 SEC) now has two conference losses to fall back in the pack.
"We've worked so hard since the end of last season, and right now, we can't let that define our season," said quarterback Chad Kelly, who passed for 368 yards, rushed for another 110 yards and accounted for six total touchdowns. "There are a couple of more games left, so we just need to stick together as a family."
Like the Rebels, the Tigers are coming off of a gut-check loss after Alabama dominated in the 30-16 decision. Luckily for Ole Miss, it will have an extra week to study how Alabama limited Heisman Trophy hopeful Leonard Fournette to just 31 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Fournette's previous season low was 154 yards against Western Kentucky.