Rebels Lament Missed Opportunities

FAYETTEVILLE — All of Ole Miss' coaches and offensive players agreed on the primary source of the Rebels' scoring struggles Saturday: They had their chances and they wasted them.

Ole Miss managed just 245 total yards and completed just 11-of-30 passes in its 38-3 defeat in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

But amidst that mostly inept offense, the Rebels had opportunities to complete long passes and break long runs. They just couldn't execute.

"We had a chance to make some plays, and we didn't," Ole Miss offensive line coach Art Kehoe said. "It's disappointing. Real disappointing."

The Rebels' first missed opportunity could've changed the complexion of their loss Saturday, which dropped Ole Miss' record 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the SEC.

Trailing 14-0 late in the first quarter, Ole Miss faced a third-and-10 situation at the Arkansas 49. Rebels quarterback Brent Schaeffer floated a perfectly placed pass deep down the right sideline for Michael Hicks, who had sprinted a step behind an Arkansas' defender.

Hicks barely got a finger on the ball as it dropped right between his hands. A sure touchdown turned into a sure momentum killer.

The failed catch was one of four on the day for the Ole Miss wide receivers, a unit that has frustrated Rebels coach Ed Orgeron.

"We don't have a great receiver right now in my opinion, a go-to guy," Orgeron said. "We had a touchdown, and we dropped it."

In the third quarter, as Ole Miss attempted to rally from a 21-3 deficit, the Rebels botched what looked like another certain touchdown.

On fourth-and-8 from the Arkansas 32, Schaeffer scrambled and threw toward Shay Hodge. There wasn't a Razorbacks defender within 15 yards of Hodge, who stood at the Arkansas 15.

But Schaeffer's pass sailed over Hodge's head. Two plays later, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden went 70 yards for a touchdown on a screen pass from Mitch Mustain.

In Orgeron's mind, the two wasted plays exemplified the type of day the Ole Miss offense experienced.

"It just looked like we never got the play that we wanted on offense," Orgeron said.

Kehoe wouldn't totally agree with that assertion. His line helped Ole Miss running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis run for 79 yards on 20 carries, giving the Rebels a chance to open up their passing game.

That aerial attack never got going, though.

"I can't explain it," Schaeffer said. "I just can't explain it."

Schaffer's woes, at least those not inflicted by himself, likely had a lot to do with Arkansas' defensive performance.

"The defense did a good job of bottling up (and) keeping Schaeffer in the pocket," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "That's what we wanted to do — make him be a dropback passer, and our corners did a good job of not giving up a big one."

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