Hogs start early, finish late in win over UM

As it turned out, the Arkansas Razorbacks got all the points they needed at the start. The opening kickoff return for a touchdown would eventually prove to be enough in a 38-3 victory over the Ole Miss Rebels at Reynolds-Razorback Stadium before 73,445 mostly red-clad Hogs fans.

Razorbacks kick returner Felix Jones took the opening kickoff from the foot of Rebel Will Moseley, gathered it in about the 1-yard line (Arkansas sports information officials ruled it was officially at the goalline), and raced from one end of the football field to the other to give Arkansas all the points it would need in this one. Placekicker Jeremy Davis added the extra point to make it 7-0 before half the crowd had even arrived.

Jones was an All-American kick returner as a freshman last year when he finished second in the nation with a 31.9-yard average.

After Jones' return, the Arkansas defense immediately forced the Rebs into a three plays and punt situation, and the Razorbacks quickly moved out to a 14-0 advantage on Darren McFadden's four-yard run. Starting at their own 43-yard line following a Rob Park punt, the Hogs ran it downfield on several plays and were in position for a score.

On the Arkansas touchdown, McFadden lined up as the quarterback in the shotgun as Hogs quarterback Mitch Mustain moved wide right as a receiver. McFadden took the snap, kept the football, and ran it straight up the middle for the touchdown. Davis converted for a two-touchdown lead, and the game was slightly more than five minutes old.

The Rebels had a shot for points on their next drive as quarterback Brent Schaeffer hit Michael Hicks on a long pass at the 5-yard line of the Hogs. Hicks would have run into the end zone for a Rebel TD, but he appeared to simply drop what also appeared to be a catchable football. Ole Miss got no points out of the drive.

Arkansas expanded its lead to 21-0 in the second-quarter on a Peyton Hillis run of a yard and extra point kick by Davis. Ole Miss cut into the lead before halftime on a 27-yard field goal by Joshua Shene to make it 21-3 with 2:34 left before intermission.

The Razorbacks actually had a shot to kick a field goal of their own as the half expired. Davis was short and right on a 54-yard attempt as the horn sounded.

Arkansas added another touchdown on a screen pass from Mustain to McFadden, a 70-yarder that had the receiver tiptoeing down the Rebel sideline full throttle. The play was reviewed to make sure he was in bounds. The officials decided there was not enough evidence to overturn the verdict, and Mustain to McFadden stood. Davis made the PAT and it was 28-3 halfway through the third.

After a 44-yard field goal by Davis made it 31-3, backup quarterback Casey Dick, who led the Hogs to last year's win over Ole Miss in Oxford, came into the game and led UA for a fourth-period TD. Dick threw a beautiful pass of 45 yards to London Crawford who raced full stride into the end zone. Davis' point after completed the scoring on the day.

Rebels backup quarterback Seth Adams came in for his team late and almost led the Rebs into the end zone. On fourth and 9 at the Hogs 29, he overthrew a receiver that ended the threat.

Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron said the Rebels found the going tough from the get-go.

"It took us a while to get going," he said in the postgame press conference when asked if the opening kickoff took the wind out of the Rebels' sails. "I don't know if we had a lot of wind in our sails to begin with. We decided to let them have the ball first because I thought our defense would stop them and the kickoff team is supposed to be the attitude of our team. We just didn't start fast today."

Orgeron's 2-6 Rebels (1-4 in the SEC) face Auburn Saturday in another morning game at 11:30 a.m. on LF-TV in Oxford.

"Continue to work and continue to play our young guys, who are developing," Orgeron said of what the Rebels will do now. "We also have to develop some more consistency on offense and in our pass defense."

Arkansas led the statistical categories but not by a ton. In total offense, the Hogs led 346 yards to 245. The Razorbacks had 141 rushing yards to 102 for Ole Miss. UA had 205 passing yards to 143 for UM. The first downs were even closer as UA led 15-14.

Schaeffer was 11-for-30 for 118 yards and no touchdowns. He was sacked twice.

Mustain was 12-for-15 for 157 yards and a touchdown with one sack.

Dick finished 2-for-3 but one was for the touchdown to London.

Hicks was the Rebels' leading receiver, catching four pass for 88 yards. Hillis led UA in that department with six for 43. All-star WR Marcus Monk had just one catch for 15 yards.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 79 yards on 20 carries. McFadden led the rushing attack for Arkansas with 65 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.

Patrick Willis had 13 tackles for Ole Miss, while Rory Johnson had 11. Chris Bowers had the Rebs' lone sack.

Randy Kelly was UA's leading tackler with nine.

Arkansas is now 6-1 and 4-0 and hosts Louisiana-Monroe in Little Rock next Saturday.

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