January 26, 2021

Arkansas vs. Ole Miss preview

Arkansas and Ole Miss face off in a pivotal SEC West battle this Saturday. Will the Rebels show out against the Razorbacks, or will the Hogs pull out a statement victory over the Rebs?

Donald W. Reynolds Stadium before Arkansas's football game against USC on Sept. 2, 2006. Photo courtesy of creativecommons, no changes made.

This Saturday,  the No. 12 Ole Miss Rebels roll into Fayetteville, Arkansas, to take on the No. 22 Arkansas Razorbacks.

Hugh Freeze’s Rebels (3-2, 2-1 SEC) are coming off a bye week after dismantling the Memphis Tigers, 48-28, in Oxford the week before.

Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks (4-2, 0-2 SEC), on the other hand, stroll into the matchup with a chip on their shoulders, as an impressive offensive showing against Alabama wasn’t enough to overcome the Crimson Tide’s ball-hawking defense.

Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly lead his team into this primetime matchup, as his 1,596 passing yards and 13 touchdown passes rank third and fourth in the SEC.

Kelly isn’t the only gunslinger who’ll take the field. Arkansas’ Austin Allen has followed up his brother’s excellent 2015 campaign with a strong start of his own. He currently leads the SEC in touchdown passes (15) and is second in passing yards (1,632).

Both teams feature excellent receiving corps. Evan Engram and Damore’ea Stringfellow have combined for 784 yards and six touchdowns for the Rebels, while the trio of Drew Morgan, Jared Cornelius and Keon Hatcher give the Razorbacks plenty of depth at wide receiver.

One area where Arkansas has the advantage over Ole Miss is the ground game. Rawleigh Williams III has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Hogs, racking up 605 yards and five touchdowns on the season. Meanwhile, the Rebels top two running backs have 383 rushing yards combined, but have scored four times.

Because both teams enter the game with such high-powered offenses, the defenses face a daunting task.

Brooks Ellis highlights Arkansas’ linebacking corps with 42 tackles, while Zedrick Woods is a player to watch for Ole Miss, as the safety picked off two passes in the Rebels’ rout over Memphis.

The Razorbacks are currently crammed at the bottom of the pack in SEC West standings, while Ole Miss is ranked fifth behind Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn and LSU.

A win for Arkansas would give them their first SEC victory of the season, while the Rebels need a victory to remain in the SEC West race.

The Razorbacks tangle with Ole Miss at 7 p.m. ET this Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Edited by David Bradford

Featured image by Bobak Ha’Eri

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Sports editor Jake Nichols has been part of the TNJN staff in two different capacities. His freshman and sophomore years, Jake worked as a staff writer before moving on to write for Rocky Top Insider, and he also worked with VFL Films and the SEC Network for a semester his junior year. When asked the summer before his senior year to return to TNJN as the sports editor, Jake jumped at the chance to end his time in Knoxville working with the organization he first began with as a freshman. Jake is excited to help lead younger writers, much like former editors Cody McClure and Jordan Dajani aided him. Jake also does freelance sports coverage and photography for The Mountain Press in Sevierville, Tenn., and in his spare time, he can be found with family, his girlfriend or driving his Jeep, most likely with his Canon in tow. Be sure and follow Jake on Twitter and Instagram at @jnichols_2121, and keep up with TNJN Sports on Twitter as well!