My view. . .

When the momentum swung toward the Razorbacks in the third quarter, it swung for the remainder of the game. A promising opportunity for victory squandered.

OXFORD, MS - The Ole Miss Rebels (3-6/ 1-5 SEC) let an opportunity to remain bowl eligible slip away with the drop of one yellow handkerchief late in the third quarter and the Rebels leading Arkansas (3-6/1-5) 17-7. That penalty didn't beat Ole Miss by itself, but it gave Arkansas renewed hope or momentum that the Rebels could not swing back in their favor even with the help of the home crowd. From that point late in the third quarter, Arkansas ran off 21 unanswered points to win going away 28-17.

The lesson of this game is that mediocre or below teams have no margin for error when playing an equal or better opponent. Yesterday was a prime example of how one mistake or penalty can affect the outcome of the game. It didn't appear the penalty was a flagrant foul worthy of a penalty but when the men in stripped shirts throw it, usually good things don't come from it when the penalty is not in your favor.

You have to give Arkansas some credit, they were playing with their backs against the wall, but they refused to lose even on the road where they had not won this year.

Ethan Flatt, starting for the first time all season, played well enough to win, but he was under such a heavy pass rush, he hardly had time to find his primary receiver, much less his secondary receiver and never his third option. Arkansas learned early on they could control the line of scrimmage and stop the Rebels' running game with their front four.

When you look at the stats, it is easy to see a team cannot win with only 10 total yards when rushing the football 34 times and having possession of the football 32 minutes and 42 seconds of the game. The Hogs did what any team facing the Rebs should do. Arkansas' defensive coordinator Reggie Herring sent guys after Flatt from every angle imaginable, getting four sacks, two interceptions and some hurries. Flatt threw for 309 yards, first time that's been done by an Ole Miss player since Eli threw for 391 against South Carolina in 2003. But it was not good enough, a one dimensional football team seldom wins football games against an equal or better opponent. Losing Mico McSwain to injury early on certainly took away the one important running threat the Rebels had.

The Rebels dominated Arkansas the first twenty minutes statistically in all areas except the most important one, the score (14-7 Rebs). The Rebels had possession of the football over 20 of the first 30 minutes, that should produce more than two touchdowns. It didn't and my old coaching instincts sensed the Rebels were in trouble at halftime, especially if Arkansas could get their offense untracked. Again the Rebels' 172 yards of total offense to 51 by Arkansas in the first half should produce more than 14 points, but it didn't.

Struggling teams have trouble finding ways to win football games, they generally finds ways to lose. To add insult to injury, Arkansas didn't earn their first seven points, an ill-conceived Flatt pass produced a gift in the form of seven points after the interception/return. There are times when the quarterback must recognize the best play is throwing the ball away rather than trying to force in a completion. Those instincts come from playing a lot. That was one of the lessons Eli struggled with his junior season.

Arkansas made some terrific adjustments offensively in the second half. Their coaches probably realized in the first half they could go to their H-back/fullback/tight end in short yardage situations, but they probably saved it until the second half. Four times they threw the football to Peyton Hillis, three times it produced a first down and the fourth got the Hogs their go- ahead touchdown. Arkansas used the old coaching principle, "if it's not broke, don't fix it," to help secure a victory.

Arkansas converted five third down situations in the fourth quarter to pull out the win. Trumaine McBride just missed an interception on the completion to Monk that turned into the final Hog touchdown.

Robert Lane played well in his multi-function role, catching four passes for 116 yards. I would suggest Lane be used some at running back as well as receiver for the final two games. Robert is a gamer, he hates to lose, too bad more players don't feel that way. My hats off to Patrick Willis for playing hard and playing well on a bad foot. Nine tackles is a good day when you are healthy, but nine tackles when hampered with a flat tire is exceptional. I thought Michael Bozeman, Jamarca Sanford, Nate Banks, Kelvin Robinson and Jayme Mitchell played well. Holding the fifth best running team in the nation, that came in averaging 251.9 yards per game, to only 89 rushing yards on 40 carries is an outstanding accomplishment. To the Rebels' disdain, the Hogs freshman quarterback, Casey Dick, grew up in the second half, completing 12-of-13 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Let's hope the Rebels can find one who can do that in 2006 and beyond.

Special teams play in the kickoff and punt return game was not effective yesterday. The Rebels returned four kickoffs and only got one past the touchback line, that was to the 21 yard line. On the other three, the Rebels started at their own 15, 14 and 17 yard line. The Hogs punter averaged 45.3 on six punts but didn't have to punt in the second half. The Rebels' punter averaged 37.7 yards on six punts. Arkansas had a slight advantage in the average starting field position for drives. On average the Hogs started at their own 28, the Rebels at their own 22. Both teams got the ball twice in their opponent's territory. Ole Miss scored a touchdown and field goal on their good fortune, Arkansas got a touchdown and fumbled once on theirs.

Turnovers were equal, Arkansas lost two fumbles, the Rebels had two interceptions. The Hogs' three scoring drives averaged 66 yards, the Rebels' two averaged 55 yards. Again the Rebels were one-of-two in field goals.

Yesterday's loss was a bitter pill to swallow. The Rebels have two games left with our most hated rivals, LSU and Mississippi State. Any player who cannot get up and give their best effort for those two games should seriously consider giving up playing football. I don't think that will be a problem. Records don't matter in these two games.

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