OXFORD, MISS. – Ole Miss was so disgusted with the way the University of Arkansas came in and dominated the first half Saturday afternoon that the Rebels blew up the scoreboard during intermission.
Not really, but halftime fireworks during the band's performance did manage to somehow knock out the two biggest of three scoreboards inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
"A million dollar scoreboard knocked out by a five-dollar firecracker," quipped one Ole Miss official.
The Razorbacks did some knocking out of their own by scoring on their first three possessions of the game and going on to down the Rebels 44-8 before 52,671 fans in a match-up of winless SEC teams.
"I was really proud of our group," noted Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt, whose team was coming in off a 9-7 home loss to Auburn. "We had a tough week. When you come off a loss, it is always hard and difficult. I just love the spirit of our team and I just thought our seniors stepped up - guys like Robert Johnson and Marcus Monk, who are fighting injuries and are still there on the sidelines and encouraging.
"...We had a great week of preparation," Nutt added. "Our guys came out with full intensity and concentration and you have got to do that in the SEC because anybody can beat anybody...We have got to keep making plays and working to get better."
The win ended a three-game losing streak for Arkansas (4-3, 1-3) - who intercepted four passes - while Ole Miss (2-6, 0-5) has now lost six of seven since a season-opening win at Memphis.
"It's a new season," Nutt said. "I came in Monday and said we can go one of two ways. We can listen to all the things that are outside that the world is falling down and everything is bad or we can stick together, stay together. This is why football is a great teacher in life. You get up off the ground and go to work and that's what these guys have done."
Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron said his team was not as ready to play as Arkansas.
"Obviously we have to give credit to Arkansas," Orgeron said. "They were very well prepared today. They played with a lot of emotion and spirit ouyt there and we didn't. We didn't come to play out there and I have to take the blame as the head coach. I thought we were a little flat before the game. I was a little worried."
Asked if coming off a controversial loss to Alabama last week was a factor, Orgeron shrugged off that suggestion.
"There are no excuses," Orgeron said. "We play in the SEC. You have to get used to it. With our schedule, there are going to be some emotional games week to week. We have to learn how to handle it and come out the next week."
Darren McFadden (22 carries, 110 yards) and Felix Jones (15 carries, 101 yards, 2 TDs) enjoyed solid rushing days while Peyton Hillis (4 catches for 61 yards and a score) and Andrew Davie (2 TD catches) shined receiving.
UA quarterback Casey Dick continued his pass efficiency success at Ole Miss.
Dick, who completed his last 12 passes in 2005 at Vaught-Hemingway in a 28-17 Arkansas win, ran that to 19 straight before throwing an incompletion.
Dick, 17 of 21 in that game, was 10-of-16 passing for 93 yards on Saturday with two touchdowns touchdown and one pick.
"He was very efficient," Nutt said. "That's how you have to analyze his play. He was efficient - took care of the ball, took care of the clock, he executed and threw some good balls and didn't force it. That is what we want him to do - throw for 150 and run for about 250."
Arkansas had 437 yards total offense - 293 on the grouned and 144 through the air - while limiting Ole Miss to 294 yards with less than 200 in the the first three quarters and picking off Rebels starter Seth Adams four times.
"You can't say enough about our defense," Nutt said. "They kept them out of the end zone most of the day and our offense excuted today."
Ole Miss, which was coming off a 28-24 heartbreaking loss to Alabama and a close loss to Florida earlier in the season, took the opening kickoff and sustained a drive deep into Arkansas territory before missing a field goal.
The Razorbacks responded by scoring in exactly 60 seconds with the final two plays covering 68 yards.
McFadden went off tackle for 30 yards and then Jones dashed the final 38 into the end zone with Alex Tejada's PAT making it 7-0 with 8:49 left in the opening quarter.
"We had a great week of practice," Jones said. "We just wanted to come out and pound the ball and run it on them because we knew we could do it. The offensive line came out very strong and created a lot of holes for us and we want to just give them all the credit."
The Razorbacks pushed it 14-0 on their second series of the day by marching 64 yards in 8 plays.
The first four were running plays before Dick hit London Crawford for 5 and then hooked up with Hillis for 34 yards.
Two plays later, Jones raced in from 11 and Tejada was true again with 3:49 left in the first quarter.
"I feel like that each game - that if we go out there and execute that we can beat anybody," Jones said. "We were just running our plays and doing what we needed to do and had success."
Ole Miss had allowed just 10 points combined in the first quarter of their other seven games and Arkansas topped by itself.
Redshirt freshman defensive end Adrian Davis set up the next score by intercepting Adams near midfield and racing back to the Ole Miss 24.
It took five plays to cover that with Dick connecting to tight end Andrew Davie on a 1-yard pass for the score and Tejada making it 21-0 with 14:04 remaining in the second quarter.
"Their fast start really put us in a hole, but we came back and fought," Orgeron said.
It was a far cry from last week's effort against Auburn when the Razorbacks did not score until late in the game and Nutt praised offensive coordinator David Lee for making some changes.
"It was outstanding today," Nutt said. "Hitting on all cylinders and I really proud for him and all the coaching staff did a great job."
Nutt also praised defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, whose team nearly threw the school's first shutout since 2002 and has only allowed 1 touchdown in the last eight quarters.
"Reggie called a great game," Nutt said. "We wanted to create pressure on them. We seemed to keep them behind on the count. Our defense got us great field position all game."
Ole Miss had a chance to cut into that lead, but Matteral Richardson intercepted his first of two passes from Adams at the Razorback 9.
Strangely there were two interceptions left with no time showing on the clock at the end of the first half.
First, Dick threw on a Hail Mary pass to Rod Coleman and a personal foul on Arkansas allowed Ole Miss an untimed down.
Adams' Hail Mary was a wobbly ball that Jerell Norton intercepted and return deep into Rebels' territory.
Tejada missed a 42-yard field goal on Arkansas' first possession of the second half.
The Razorbacks extended their lead to 28-0 when Dick hit a wide-open Hillis on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
Tejada's 32-yard field goal made it 31-0 with 12:07 left in the game.
Dick's 14-yard pass to Davie boosted that lead to 37-0 with 9 minutes left in the game, but Tejada missed the PAT.
By that time, McFadden and Jones were both over 100 yards - McFadden for the first time against Ole Miss - and resting on the bench.
"It's just like anybody," McFadden said. "When you get them down, once you get them down, you keep pounding on them and their spirit will leave. I feel like that is what we did to them."
Adams was replaced in the third quarter by former Ole Miss starter Brent Schaffer's 37-yard pass to Mike Wallce with 6:26 left in the game breaking up the shutout.
It was the first touchdown by Ole Miss in 8 quarters against Arkansas dating back to the 2005 game.
"We got beat," Ole Miss fullback Bruce Hall said. "There's really not too much else you can say other than that. We just got beat."
By that time, there was as many Razorbacks fans in the stands as there were supporting the Rebels.
UA back-up quarterback Nathern Emert hit senior Chris Baker with a 48-yard touchdown with exactly 6 minutes left and Tejada made it 44-8.
"We just kept blowing them away," noted UA safety Matt Hewitt, who had a game-high 13 tackles. "That's why we had such a huge lead to begin with so we just kept scoring. We had them from the beginning and just finished them off."
Arkansas will return to action next week when it hosts Florida International at 1 p.m. in Fayetteville before getting back to SEC action the following week against South Carolina.
Casey Dick (left) and Andrew Davie celebrate the second touchdown they hooked up for on Saturday.
Chris Baker heads to the end zone with his touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of Arkansas' win on Saturday.
Arkansas 44, Ole Miss 8
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Longhorns Preview Oklahoma StateTexas offensive players discuss the Longhorns' upcoming game at Oklahoma State to kickoff Big 12 Conference play.
Horns DigestMonday at 6:21 PM
Louisiana CB 'Real Close' to a DecisionIt may not be too long before one of the top cornerbacks in Louisiana makes his decision. Four schools are high on his list and you can get the latest here...
Scout FootballMonday at 6:15 AM
JC defensive back talks ISU official visitOver the weekend, Iowa State played host to one of their top 2017 targets in the current recruiting cycle in Paramount, CA three-star JUCO CB Keisean Nixon. This visit for the…
AllCyclonesSunday at 6:34 PM
TCU vs Iowa State primerAfter falling in double-overtime to Arkansas, TCU looks to get back to their winning ways against Iowa State.
Horned Frog Insider09/15/2016