Ole Miss rallies again to knock off Arkansas

Published 11:46 pm Saturday, October 7, 2023

OXFORD (AP) — Fourth quarter comeback wins are not the preferred game plan for No. 16 Ole Miss. However, as long as the Rebels keep getting it done, coach Lane Kiffin will remain satisfied.

Ulysses Bentley IV scored the go-ahead touchdown with 7:49 remaining as Ole Miss put together two consecutive fourth quarter scoring drives to rally to beat Arkansas 27-20 on Saturday night.

The latest win followed last week’s 55-49 victory over LSU, as the Rebels (5-1, 2-1 SEC) erased a nine-point deficit over the final eight minutes. This time, the Razorbacks held a 20-17 edge entering the final eight minutes.

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“We’re very pleased because traditionally Arkansas is a team we’ve struggled with,” Kiffin said. “We got down again and outscored them 10-0 at the end. Our defense got stops and we won the turnover battle 2-0. You want to win these kind of games.”

The Rebels got a decisive 75-yard, 12-play scoring drive, capped by Bentley’s 6-yard touchdown run. Bentley finished with 13 carries for 94 yards.

Ole Miss followed the late scores with defensive stops, including an interception by John Saunders, Jr. The stops sandwiched Caden Davis’ 22-yard field goal with 2:43 remaining to seal the win.

K.J. Jefferson led Arkansas (2-4, 0-3) with 25-of-39 passing for 252 yards, including touchdown passes of 3 and 17 yards to Ty Washington, who finished with seven receptions for 90 yards. The first scoring pass lifted Arkansas to an early 7-0 lead.

The Rebels answered with consecutive first quarter scoring drives, capped by a 27-yard field goal from Davis and a 1-yard scoring run by Quinshon Judkins. They added a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jaxson Dart to Dayton Wade for a 17-7 halftime lead.

The Razorbacks got field goals — a career-best 56 yards and 26 yards from Cam Little in the third quarter — and then Washington’s 17-yard scoring reception to take a 20-17 lead. The Rebels then scored the final 10 points.

Arkansas finished with 288 yards of total offense, with only 36 rushing. The Razorbacks had 10 penalties for 70 yards along with the two turnovers.

“It’s hard to win a game when you can’t run the ball,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “There’s way too much pressure on our quarterback. Our offense has got to find a way to run the football.”

Dart finished 16-of-25 passing for 153 yards, while Judkins added 18 carries for 65 yards. Ole Miss finished with 349 yards of total offense. Ashanti Cistrunk added a first quarter interception that set up a scoring drive.

“They ran all over us last year,” Cistrunk said. “This time we did a better job with the run and we made plays tonight.”

The win keeps Ole Miss in the race for the SEC West Division title and an open date could not come at a better time after back-to-back emotional comeback wins. The Rebels’ next game is Oct. 21 at Auburn.

“The week off is good. We have a lot of challenges coming up,” Kiffin said. “We have a lot of hard places to play. A lot of places where it’s hard to get a win.”