Hogs Crushed by Call

Just when it looked like Arkansas was close to pulling off a miracle comeback, a pass interference penalty snuffed out the Razorbacks' chances.

In a physical slugfest, one extended hand from Arkansas wide receiver London Crawford was the difference.

In a game where takedowns, body slams and nasty hits came play after play, Crawford was called for offensive pass interference on a completion to the Ole Miss 24-yard line in the final minute. It saved the Rebels from blowing a lead similar to what the Hogs had done one week earlier at Kentucky.

And, it left Crawford in tears, unable to come to the interview room after Mississippi's 23-21 victory Saturday night in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"Their fans almost did the cheer for their coach a little too soon," Arkansas captain Jonathan Luigs said. "I thought it was going to backfire on them. We were going to win until ... (the pass interference call). I saw the play twice. I saw London go up and get it live. Then, I turned and watched it on the big screen. I saw it the same both times.

"It was like you dream about as a little kid. He went up and go it, like you are supposed to. It was good both times I saw it.

"To say it took the air out of our sails would be an understatement. I thought we were about to put the dagger in their heart. Their fans were yelling their (Houston Nutt) comment and we were about to make them pay for that."

Crawford was the last Razorback in a uniform off the field. The dazed, wobbly-legged junior was slowing as he got to the north end zone when he was overtaken from behind by a giant of a man in a ski cap. Redshirt quarterback Ryan Mallett wrapped him up, then helped him through the doors to the Broyles Center.

Crawford was crushed, offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said.

"He blamed himself," Petrino said. "He went down the sideline. He held his ground. He competed for the ball. You guys saw it. I saw it, too. He's blaming himself, but he made a really good catch. "I probably saw the same thing you guys saw. It was pretty obvious."

Bobby Petrino, the head coach, gave the referee who made the call an earful before the next play. Did he get an explanation of the call?

"No, he was just listening," Petrino said. What did Petrino think?

"There is freedom of speech -- unless you are a football coach," he said. "If I said what I really think, I'd get in trouble."

Petrino didn't say whether he heard the Ole Miss fans chanting Nutt's name, or when Arkansas fans responded. But he appreciated the support from the Razorback Nation.

"Our fans have been great," he said. "They have totally supported us, supported our players, too. It's tough for our players, but I know this is tough on our fans, too."

Paul Petrino had a message for the Razorback Nation.

"They have been great," he said. "I just know that what goes around, comes around. It'll come around. It will. We are proud of our players. They fought. They showed character.

"We preached character this week. We got that from them, a lot of fight. We will get there. We just need to keep fighting."

Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson was pleased with effort, too.

"We knew what kind of game this was going to be, tough and physical," Robinson said. "We knew it would be a fight every single play. We loaded the box and loaded it. You do that, it's feast or famine with the pass. We know that.

"We know we've been inconsistent stopping the run. And, this is as physical an offensive front as we've played since Alabama. We knew what they were going to do.

"This was a character week. We recognized that. And, we see that our players responded. We know what we are going to get now. We will fight. Character is not an issue."

Luigs knew, too.

"All of our players expected this type of game," Luigs said. "We've played for these coaches. We knew what they would try to do against us. I knew it. All of us knew it. It was what we thought, a good SEC-style football game."

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