College Football Preview – Mississippi Rebels vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
The Mississippi Rebels and Arkansas Razorbacks each suffered their first loss of the season last week. These teams lost to the two best teams in the nation though, as Ole Miss fell to Alabama in Tuscaloosa and Arkansas lost to Georgia in Athens. Both programs have their sights set on a 10-win season which looks suddenly achievable given the state of both Texas A&M and LSU.
Ole Miss will look to avenge last year’s defeat in Fayetteville. The Rebels are currently moderate favorites against the Razorbacks on Saturday, October 9, 2021, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford. This game will kick off at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN.
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Lane Kiffin got the Rebels off to a great start. They hammered Louisville on Labor Day in their season opener, and they blew out FCS Austin Peay and Tulane. Ole Miss had two weeks to prepare for Alabama, but the Crimson Tide were too much to handle.
Arkansas has been one of the most fun teams through the first month of the season. The Razorbacks beat both Texas and Texas A&M by double digits, establishing themselves as a real threat in the SEC. They were dismantled by Georgia last week though, as the Bulldogs have the best defense in the nation by a country mile.
When Mississippi Has the Ball
Matt Corral is a potential Heisman Trophy finalist. Corral has flourished under Kiffin’s tutelage in Oxford, and he is completing 69.6% of his passes for 1,210 yards with 10 touchdowns without an interception. He had some success last week against Alabama, and he should have much more success against the Razorbacks.
Dontario Drummond is the primary receiver now that Jonathan Mingo is sidelined with a broken foot. Drummond has 24 receptions for 382 yards and four touchdowns on the year. The ground game is also averaging 5.4 YPC on the season.
Arkansas ranks eighth in the nation in total defense. The Razorbacks are allowing 282.8 YPG. Opponents are averaging 4.0 YPC against them though, and they have yet to face a quarterback with as much talent as Corral. That could lead to a very disappointing afternoon for Arkansas on this side of the ball.
When Arkansas Has the Ball
There’s no secret as to what Arkansas wants to do. Sam Pittman wants the Razorbacks to run the ball a lot, as they run on almost two-thirds of their plays. Arkansas is averaging 5.2 YPC and 224.8 YPG as Trelon Smith and quarterback K.J. Jefferson have made a dangerous duo.
Jefferson has been dangerous through the air too. He is averaging 10.0 YPA with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Treylon Burks has been his only real target though, and Burks has 22 receptions for 383 yards. No other player on Arkansas has more than eight receptions.
Ole Miss has improved on defense, but the Rebels still aren’t great. They are currently ranked 58th in Defensive SP+, and they are allowing 4.0 YPC and 168.0 YPG on the ground.
The Rebels will test the Razorbacks’ defensive backs like no other team has this season, and they will find them wanting. Ole Miss will give up points, but Arkansas won’t be able to keep him in a cover for the hosts.
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