Arkansas Defense Shares Credit In Big Win

OXFORD, Miss. -- Arkansas defensive tackle Marcus Harrison sat in the boisterous locker room and lauded the work of the Razorbacks' secondary.

A little later, cornerback Matterral Richardson sat in his locker and heaped handfuls of praise in the other direction, crediting Harrison and the defensive line for its success.

It was impossible to figure out which group -- the line, linebackers or secondary -- deserved the bulk of the credit for Arkansas' defensive performance in its 44-8 win at Ole Miss until coordinator Reggie Herring walked into the room Saturday afternoon. His answer? All of them.

"That's just called team defense," he said. "Everybody pitching in."

Arkansas' defense -- from the line to the secondary -- peppered quarterback Seth Adams with well-timed blitzes, blanketed Ole Miss' talented group of receivers and held hard-charging tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis under 100 rushing yards in the win. The Razorbacks intercepted four passes, collected five sacks and turned in critical plays throughout the game.

The were handfuls of examples. But two of the most important came early on:

* Jamar Love sacked Adams on third-and-12 from the Arkansas 25 to end Ole Miss' promising opening drive. The play nearly pushed the Rebels out of field goal range. Place-kicker Joshua Shene missed a 49-yard attempt and the Razorbacks took the ball and scored.

* Defensive end Adrian Davis stepped in front of a screen pass intended for Green-Ellis, caught the ball and sprinted 24 yards into Ole Miss territory. Arkansas scored three plays later to take a 21-0 lead.

"All day long we got answers," Herring said. "When it didn't look like we had answers, the players came through and executed at critical times to foil anything that they could get going."

It was the second straight week Arkansas' once maligned group proved stingy. One week after the Razorbacks kept Auburn out of the end zone in a 9-7 loss, it didn't give up a touchdown until receiver Mike Wallace pulled in a 37-yard pass from backup quarterback Brent Schaeffer.

It snapped Arkansas' streak of nine quarters without surroundering a touchdown -- a remarkable feat, considering the Razorbacks allowed 42 and 41 points to Alabama and Kentucky, respectively, in their first two Southeastern Conference games.

"Coach Herring is doing a wonderful job as far as the play-calling and the plays he's putting in," Harrison said. "He's simplifying everything and letting us go. Not thinking. Just going."

The results were obvious against Ole Miss, which finished with 294 yards.

The Razorbacks had an SEC-low seven sacks before Saturday. It also had six interceptions.

"We're now in a mode where these guys are playing with a confidence," Herring said. "They finally understand what we're asking of them.

"This can only help us jump-start for the second half of the season."

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