Little Rock, Ark. – Ole Miss (5-3) worked their two-minute drill to perfection on Saturday once for a halftime leading touchdown and then for a decisive 61-yard drive to set up a Bryson Rose game winning 31-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Razorbacks (3-5) 30-27 in Little Rock.
The game was a back and forth affair with five lead changes that kept fans on edge until the end of the game.
Arkansas jumped out to an early 10-0 lead, reminiscent of their game against Texas A&M, but fell flat offensively until the end of the second quarter when Tyler Wilson connected with backup tight end Alex Voelzke for a 6-yard touchdown pass to take a 17-14 lead.
Ole Miss responded to Wilson’s touchdown driving 75 yards in the final minutes before halftime ending in a Jeff Scott sweep right run around the end for a one-yard touchdown.
Bryson Rose was the difference for the Rebels kicking three field goals in the game including a 53-yard wind aided kick in the fourth quarter to give Ole Miss a 27-20 advantage.
Tyler Wilson had 196 yards passing at halftime but was held to 101 yards passing in the second half. Wilson finished with a game-high 297 yards passing on 24 of 43 attempts with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The preseason All-SEC quarterback did not look particularly sharp against Ole Miss throwing into double coverage throughout the game and repeatedly throwing behind his receivers.
Wilson did connect with senior tight end Chris Gragg, who returned from an injury suffered against Rutgers, for a 43-yard touchdown pass. On a play that appeared to be the exact same play he was injured on against the Scarlet Knights, Gragg was not able to complete the game after being hit low, in the same way he was hit against Rutgers, by a Rebels defender before halftime.
Dennis Johnson recorded a career high 161 yards rushing on 27 attempts breaking his previous best set against Ole Miss last season. Johnson tied the game at 27-27 in the fourth quarter on a five-yard gain after breaking back-to-back runs of 21 and 20 yards to set up the score.
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace picked the Razorback defense apart on the game winning drive completing passes of 12, 14, 9, and 12 yards then took off for a 13 yard run leading to the Rose 31-yard field goal.
The Razorbacks had moments of looking like a fundamentally sound team but then unraveled at times repeatedly shooting themselves in the proverbial foot. Bad penalties including an unnecessary roughness call against tackle Jason Peacock, false starts, and delay of game penalties arguably cost Arkansas the game.
Ole Miss took advantage of a lackluster punt protection team blocking a Dylan Breeding punt at the Mississippi 41 yard line returning the ball to the Arkansas 42. Four plays later backup quarterback Barry Brunetti scored on a one-yard keeper up the middle giving the Rebels a 14-10 second quarter lead.
Arkansas had one touchdown called back after the Hogs were called for an illegal formation penalty, and so goes the 2012 Arkansas Razorback season.
Bo Wallace led Mississippi’s offense completing 29 of 37 passes for 278 yards with one touchdown and one interception (Ross Rasner, 3).
Arkansas’ rush defense kept the Rebels in check throughout the game limiting the team to a total of 93 net rushing yards with a team-high 46 yards by Jeff Scott.
Razorback senior wide receiver Cobi Hamilton had a game-high, and career-high, in receptions with 12 for 146 yards.
The woes for Arkansas running back Knile Davis continued on Saturday. Davis left the game with an apparent ankle injury after two rushing attempts for three total yards.
Up next for the Razorbacks is Tulsa in Fayetteville while the Rebels travel Georgia to face the Bulldogs.