OXFORD — If Arkansas and Ole Miss are playing, odds are high something weird is going to happen.
There have been a handful of moments in the series that have left spectators and commentators alike with their jaws on the floor. There was, of course, the fourth-and-25 conversion filled with laterals in 2015. In last year’s game, Arkansas scored a touchdown with no time left in regulation, making it a 52-51 Ole Miss lead.
The Razorbacks went for two and were unable to convert, sealing Ole Miss’ win over then-No. 13 Arkansas. It was a game that featured almost 1,300 combined yards of offense, nearly 700 combined rushing yards and 60 total first downs.
Not a game for the defensive-minded football fan, to be sure, but a matchup that was certainly memorable.
Junior wide receiver Jordan Watkins wasn’t with Ole Miss for last year’s game — he was still playing at Louisville — but he’s had conversations with teammates about just how insane it was.
No. 14 Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) plays at Arkansas (5-5, 2-4) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The game will be broadcasted on the SEC Network.
“Yeah, it was definitely talked about a little bit. I wasn’t here, so I can’t really speak on it as much, but I have heard a little bit about it,” Watkins said. “And it was kind of a crazy, crazy, crazy game.”
The game was tied at 31 heading into the fourth quarter. That’s when the offensive explosion started — a combined 41 points were scored in the final frame, and each time one squad looked like it had taken control, the other punched back to even the score.
Corral threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Sanders with just over a minute remaining in regulation, putting Ole Miss up 52-45. Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson quickly led the Razorbacks down the field, however, with a few timely passes to star wide receiver Treylon Burks, now of the Tennessee Titans, and tight end Trey Knox. Jefferson threw a touchdown with no time left on the clock to Warren Thompson in the back of the end zone to make it 52-51.
The Razorbacks decided to go for two and put the game in the hands of Jefferson. Jefferson rolled to his right but faced pressure from Sam Williams and KD Hill, and his pass fell incomplete.
Flags were thrown on the play — leaving some to wonder whether there would be another play run — but it was for an ineligible Arkansas player downfield, which the Rebels gladly declined.
“It was a crazy ending,” senior defensive end Tavius Robinson said. “ … The emotions were good. We needed the win. We ended on defense, so it was good to finish the game on defense. And a win like that’s always exciting.”
For Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin, last year’s game was a reminder that no two games, or seasons, are the same. In the 2020 edition of Ole Miss vs. Arkansas, Arkansas won 33-21. Quarterback Matt Corral threw six interceptions, and the Rebels turned the ball over seven times overall. In 2021, Ole Miss did not turn the ball over.
“It’s a reminder to me that every game’s independent of a different game. The year before had been low scoring. We really struggled against that defense, and would not have predicted a high-scoring game, 100 points between the two,” Kiffin said. “So, every game’s different, every week’s different. And that’s just a really good reminder.”
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