Razorbacks run over and through Ole Miss

Published 12:17 am Sunday, November 20, 2022

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Quarterback KJ Jefferson returned. So did Arkansas’ offensive firepower. But Rocket Sanders grabbed the spotlight.

Sanders rushed for 232 yards and three touchdowns, including a 68-yarder on the opening drive of the second half, in a 42-27 rout of No. 14 Ole Miss on Saturday night.

“He played extremely well,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “Any running back that carries the ball for 100, 150 yards, they’ve got to have a break, most of the time, they’ve got to have one or two that’ll be a 30-, 40-yard pop. Certainly, that’s what he (got) tonight.”

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The Razorbacks had a 35-6 halftime lead, and the Rebels’ 21 fourth-quarter points made the game appear much closer than it was.

Sanders averaged 9.7 yards on 24 carries, helping Arkansas (6-5, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) snap a two-game skid and become bowl-eligible. He gained 153 yards in the first half.

Jefferson returned from an injury, going 17-of-22 passing for 168 yards and three scores. Matt Landers added two touchdown receptions for the Hogs.

Ole Miss (8-3, 4-3, No. 14 CFP) moved the ball and had chances early. But holding penalties nullified two touchdown passes from Jaxson Dart. The Rebels lost a fumble, were forced to settle for two field goals on promising drives and missed a field-goal try.

“Very discouraging, obviously,” coach Lane Kiffin said. “I didn’t feel we were flat. We were moving the ball. We just played really poor in the red zone. Two touchdown passes called back, and we didn’t tackle very well. It just shows you the value of turnovers. Give those guys credit. Senior night, they played really hard, ran the ball really well.”

The Rebels had two 200-yard rushers — Quinshon Judkins (214) and Zach Evans (207) — but still trailed by 36 points at one point. They finished with 463 rushing yards and a season-high 703 yards of total offense. The total yardage was the fifth-most in school history, and the rushing total ranks third. It’s also the first time Ole Miss has ever had two 200-yard rushers in the same game.

In the fourth quarter, Judkins scored on a 1-yard run, Evans had a 48-yard TD and Dart passed 13 yards to Malik Heath for a score. Dart went 21-of-36 passing for 240 yards.