Losses Mounting

After Ole Miss' 10th straight Southeastern Conference loss as a program, Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said his players continue to give the effort despite the lack of positive results.

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"Really proud of our guys' efforts today," Nutt said. "I thought we played extremely hard. I was just really proud of how they played. They stayed really focused, and the attitude has been really awesome. I wish we were standing here with a ‘W' but it didn't happen."

One key moment late in the third quarter, with Arkansas up 24-17 and driving deep, was when the Rebels forced a fumble by Dennis Johnson at the 1-yard line that was recovered by Charles Sawyer.

On first down Randall Mackey threw deep but incomplete to Nick Brassell. On second down, Mackey handed off to Jeff Scott who was tackled in the end zone for a safety and a 26-17 Razorback advantage.

"Without watching the film, I'd say it was a missed block," Nutt said. "We were just trying to gain a yard. Was hoping to get it out of there on (the pass) first. Of course it's always easy to come in here and second guess. I guess we should have thrown a hitch or something like that, or run a quarterback sneak and tried to get a yard, try to ease your way out of there.

"But I've seen Jeff Scott hit home runs before. And if we could just get him enough daylight, he'll hit it. That was really our thinking."

Third Quarter Blues:

For the second straight week, Ole Miss struggled both on offense and defense in the third quarter. Arkansas, which won 29-24, outscored Ole Miss 19-0 in the third. In the third quarter last week, Alabama won the third-period battle with the Rebels 28-0.

But the Alabama game was no contest. The Arkansas game could have been won had the Rebels done anything, especially offensively, in the third period.

"I don't know," quarterback Randall Mackey said of the Rebels' third-quarter offensive woes. "I guess we felt a little bit too comfortable with ourselves. But we're going to change that during the week and keep on fighting."

They weren't able to change that in practices last week. Arkansas scored on its first three possessions of the third.

Houston Nutt
Bruce Newman

Counting last week, that's a combined 47-0 Ole Miss has been outscored in the third quarter the last two games. Teams don't normally win games when those type instances occur and reoccur.

Ole Miss had 17 first downs when it led 17-0 against the Razorbacks. By the time Arkansas took a 29-7 lead, early in the fourth quarter, the Rebels had a total of 18 first downs.

"The third quarter, I wish we had that back," said Nutt. "There were two series on offense and two series on defense we didn't do anything. Donte (Moncrief) made some great catches today. I wish he had caught one more ball. I think that would have put us over the edge right there."

The game was tied 17-17 late in that third quarter, and Ole Miss had third and 9 at its own 30. Mackey found Moncrief deep in Razorback territory.

Moncrief was covered but for a step or two it appeared he had control of the football. But the ball came out as he went to the ground, and the Rebels had to punt when they most needed to keep possession.

It might not have meant a score for Ole Miss had Moncrief caught it. But it certainly stopped the Rebels at that point.

"It kinda pissed me off, but I had to let it go," Moncrief said of the drop. "I told myself I have to make up for it, and I did."

He's referring to a touchdown pass he caught from Mackey with 1:23 to go in the game that pulled the Rebels to within five points. They got the onsides kick moments later but couldn't finish the comeback.

"We had them so off-balance the first half with movement and speed sweeps. They came out and took that away. We needed something in the third quarter to give us that confidence to go ahead and finish it," Nutt said. "But we played real hard."

And couldn't finish, which has become an all-too-occurring theme for the Rebels.

"We got off rhythm a little bit, dropped some balls, had a few illegal procedures," Nutt said. "All we needed was one score to get that confidence back and say ‘hey, we're going to win now.' That was the biggest thing, the adjustments they made to stop the wide plays."

Rose Comes Through:

Bryson Rose kicked a 43-yard field goal with 3:43 to go in the first quarter to give Ole Miss a 3-0 lead. It was the junior placekicker's career collegiate long and also his 14th consecutive successful field goal attempt.

Sawyer Makes The Switch:

Charles Sawyer started at cornerback against the Razorbacks after starting every game previously at safety. The sophomore, already a team leader, had a successful day with three pass breakups and a quarterback hurry.

Brandon Bolden
Bruce Newman

"Different," said Sawyer of how it felt at corner as opposed to safety. "A little tiring but different. Wherever they put me, I'm going to play. I'm going to give it my all."

Brassell Has Big Day:

Nick Brassell proved to be a big part of the Rebels' offense Saturday. The freshman from South Panola had eight catches for 70 yards and rushed the ball five times for 17 yards. Defensively from his cornerback spot he was credited with one tackle and one pass breakup.

"We worked on a lot of stuff this week about my role in this game," Brassell said. "I just went in and executed. Tried to make it happen."

That he continues to do as he's called on more each week on both sides of the ball, especially offensively.

"I'm just out there to do whatever my coach wants me to do," Brassell said. "If he trusts me enough to put the ball in my hands, I'm going to do my best to make a play."

"He's such a tough competitor, and a winner," Nutt said. "We've got him going. He plays about 30 plays on both sides, and those are not easy plays. You're covering man to man their best receiver. Then you come over here to our place and you get the ball on screens and bubbles and reverses and deep balls. So it's a full workout. He's just an awesome young man that's doing a good job for us."

Bolden Returns:

Feature running back Brandon Bolden, returning from a suspension after missing last week's Alabama game, looked like his old self in the first half, rushing 10 times for 65 yards.

But late in the second quarter he hobbled off the field with an ankle injury. In the second half, he rushed for three total yards on four carries.

"It's getting back," said Bolden, not acting like the injury was a reason why he didn't have nearly the production in the second half. "I have no idea. It could have been anything. All I know is we didn't put up any points until the fourth quarter.

"We had the lead, blew the lead, and lost it in the end. The onsides kick was a big boost, and we just needed to do something with it."

Bolden said it was all the more surprising since the Rebels looked so good in the first half.

"We were just saying, stay on it," he said of the halftime chatter. "Keep the pressure on their throat. Let's go. Let's finish the game out and do what we came in doing. Like I said, I just don't know what happened."

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