Hogs Fall to Ole Miss, 38-24

Mississippi survived Arkansas' secret weapon to roll to a 38-24 victory at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in SEC football Saturday afternoon. The Hogs got a mild boost when walkon quarterback John Rutledge helped finish off an early touchdown.

Fred Talley scored two touchdowns, including a 69-yard run in the fourth quarter. He had 214 yards on 29 carries.
 
Arkansas led in the first half, but only briefly. The Hogs marched 85 yards in 10 plays on their third possession for a 7-0 advantage at 7:37 of the first quarter on Fred Talley's 30-yard dash around his left end. The drive was co-authored by quarterbacks Zac Clark and Rutledge. Clark got it started with a 27-yard sideline strike to Boo Williams. He went out on a hard hit on an incomplete pass on the next play.
 
Enter Rutledge, the walkon who played for the Hogs for three seasons before retiring to flag football games. Rutledge, invited to return to the team on Monday, also added a 6-yard completion before Talley got the score on the ground. But, the Rebels tied it with Robert Williams' 97-yard kickoff return.
 
It was 7-7 at 7:18 of the first quarter. Rutledge quarterbacked the Hogs on their next series. Talley made 16 on first down, but Rutledge was incomplete on a pass behind Adam Daily and then was sacked on third-and-9. He was two-for-four passing for 17 yards in the first half. Ole Miss marched 80 yards in 11 plays to take the lead on Romero Miller's 9-yard TD pass to tight end Doug Ziegler. The Rebels faced only one third down in the march, converting a third-and-1 with Deuce McAllister's 8-yard blast. A screen to Toward Sanford covered 17 for the big play in the drive.
 
It was 14-7 at 12:21 of the second quarter. Clark, under immediate pressure from left end Derrick Burgess, was intercepted on the next play by Senneca Taylor. He stepped out of bounds at the UofA 35-yard line.
 
Ole Miss crushed the Hogs on three running plays to make it 21-7 on McAllister's 8-yard run with 11:15 left in the half. Ole Miss could have put it out of reach, but they inexplicably abandoned the run after marching to the UoA 42-yard line where they faced a third-and-1. Miller was incomplete on the bomb before Reagan King's punt was downed inches short of the UofA goal line.
 
The Rebels pinned the Hogs. Deuce McAllister's 10-yard punt return gave Ole Miss possession at the UofA 26-yard line. Again, Ole Miss went back to the air. Three straight passes netted just one yard. The Rebs settled for Les Binkley's 41-yard field goal to make it 24-7 with 5:06 left. The Hogs regained their offense for an 11-play, 66-yard march highlighted by Clark's passes of 19 and 16 yards and Talley's 16-yard slash up the middle to give them a first-and-goal at the Ole Miss 4-yard line.
 
They had to settle for Brennan O'Donohoe's 20-yard field goal to cut the margin to 24-10 with 57 seconds left in the half. The drive fizzled when Talley was blasted for no gain on first down at the 4-yard line. Clark had Williams open in the flats, but he threw low and behind him. Williams made a superb snag, but lost his momentum in the process and made just 2 yards. On third down at the 2, Brandon Holmes veered outside when his hole was over his right guard and lost 2 yards. After a timeout, the Hogs decided to kick.
 
Arkansas led in total yards at intermission, 179 to 132, but Ole Miss did not have a turnover. They took advantage of two Clark interceptions and were clear winners in the kicking game with the return for a touchdown. The Rebs were sharp at the outset of the second half. They drove 71 yards in nine plays with Miller converting three straight third downs. He scrambled for 19 on third-and-6, then went up the middle on a draw for 9 on third-and-3. On third-and-5, he beat the Hogs' nickel defense with a lob down the middle that Grant Heard ran under at the goal line behind Jimmy Beasley. It was a 27-yard TD pass for a 31-7 lead at 10:36 of the third quarter.
 
The Hogs made a pair of first downs on their next try, but there wasn't much to choose from on the next four possessions shared by the two teams. Finally, when Rutledge returned at the 2:22 mark of the third quarter, the Hogs found some life.
 
It started with an exchange of punts that featured a 67-yarder by Butler and ended up with the Hogs taking over at the Ole miss 40-yard line. Arkansas reached the Ole Miss 11-yard line where they faced a fourth-and-11. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Rutledge rolled left and fired for Hamilton breaking in the corner of the end zone. Hamilton got his hands on the ball, but could not make a juggling catch. McAllister's 57-yard run - despite a popped hamstring at the 30-yard line - highlighted a 73-yard, 4-play drive that emptied the stadium with 7:46 to play.
 
McAllister started left, dipped in to lure Ken Hamlin into the wrong angle, then bounced to the outside. He was hobbled the last 30 yards and two Hogs caught him short of the goal line, but couldn't stop him. Clark returned to quarterback the Hogs' final two touchdown marches. He completed a 13-yard pass to Williams before Talley fought his way to the sideline to outrun the Rebs on his 69-yarder.
 
It was 38-17 with 5:44 left. Clark completed four sharp passes in the final drive, including a 10-yard pass to Boo Williams for the touchdown with 1:12 to play. It was Clark's first TD pass.

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