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Arkansas at Ole Miss - Pregame Analysis


FIVE KEYS TO TODAY’S GAME

1. Finish Drives

Arkansas moved the ball much better offensively last week, but had drives stall because of turnovers, penalties and a four-down failure at the goal line. The Razorbacks must find ways to finish drives to have any chance to win at Ole Miss.

2. Win Turnover Battle

The turnover troubles continued against Auburn. Arkansas committed three turnovers, forced none and it played a big factor in the loss. The Razorbacks are now minus-12 in turnover margin during conference games. It must stop.

3. Put Heat On Wallace

Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace has had a successful season, completing 62.7 percent of his passes for 11 touchdowns, 3 interceptions. Arkansas’ front must help its struggling secondary today. Rushing Wallace into early throws and mistakes is key to a win.

4. Tackle Well

The Razorbacks have had tackling troubles this season, allowing opponents to turn mistakes into big plays. Arkansas needs a sound effort against Ole Miss and its collection of skilled players today. Sloppy tackling will lead to another Arkansas loss.

5. Third-Down Success

Arkansas’ offense enjoyed success on third downs last week (9-for-16) and that type of effort must continue today. Meanwhile, Arkansas’ defense struggled to get off the field against Auburn (6-for-11). The Razorbacks must win third down on both sides.

TODAY’S KEY MATCHUP

Arkansas CB Tevin Mitchel (6-0, 180, Jr.)

Key Statistics: 46 tackles, INT, 5 pass break ups

Mitchel has one of Arkansas’ biggest defensive plays this season (the 26-yard interception return for a touchdown against Rutgers). But he’s been remembered lately for several gaffes. The latest came last week, when Mitchel misplayed the ball and it led to Auburn receiver Sammie Coates’ 88-yard touchdown catch. The Razorbacks’ most physical corner will be tested once again against Moncrief and the Rebels. His performance will play a big role in Arkansas’ defensive success today.

Ole Miss WR Donte Moncrief (6-3, 226, Jr.)

Key Statistics: 34 catches, 498 yards, 4 touchdowns

Moncrief entered his junior season as one of the SEC’s most dangerous receivers and hasn’t disappointed in 2013. While quarterback Bo Wallace has plenty of options to turn to in a talented receiving corps, Moncrief leads the Rebels in receiving yards, yards per catch and touchdowns this season. He also presents the biggest matchup problems because of his size. Moncrief caught 2 touchdowns passes the last time these teams met in Oxford in 2011 and will be looking for similar success today.

EDGE: Ole Miss WR Donte Moncrief

THE NUMBERS

OFFENSE

Passing Yds (NCAA Rank)

Arkansas 144.1 (117th)

Ole Miss 272.1 (34th)

Rushing

Arkansas 211.1 (24th)

Ole Miss 190.1 (45th)

Total

Arkansas 355.3 (100th)

Ole Miss 462.2 (36th)

DEFENSE

Passing Yds (NCAA Rank)

Arkansas 206.8 (24th)

Ole Miss 214.2 (31st)

Rushing

Arkansas 179.0 (81st)

Ole Miss 165.1 (66th)

Total

Arkansas 385.8 (54th)

Ole Miss 379.4 (47th)

POSITION MATCHUPS

Quarterbacks

UA’s Brandon Allen threw his first touchdown pass in 15 quarters against Auburn last week and has 9 this season; Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace ranks fifth in the SEC in total offense (266.2 yards) and fifth in passing (247.0 yards). He has 11 TDs, 3 INTs

Edge: Ole Miss

Running Backs

UA’s Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins enjoyed their best performance in weeks, combining for 196 yards against Auburn; Ole Miss leading rusher Jeff Scott’s status is uncertain. Backups I’Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton have 647 yards, 7 TDs.

Edge: Arkansas

Receivers

UA receivers Javontee Herndon, Keon Hatcher combined to catch 8 passes for 97 yards and a TD vs. Auburn. Julian Horton may play more today; Ole Miss freshman Laquon Treadwell has made an instant impact with 41 catches, 385 yards, 2 TDs

Edge: Ole Miss

O-Line

UA will start the same five (Swanson, Kirkland, Skipper, Hurd, Cook) for the fifth straight game. Swanson will earn his 48th straight start; Ole Miss’ Laremy Tunsil — the nation’s No. 1 OT prospect in 2012 — has started five straight at left tackle.

Edge: Even

D-Line

UA DE Chris Smith has 7 sacks this season and 20 ½ in his career. He’s five sacks shy of equaling Wayne Martin’s career record (25 ½); Ole Miss expect star defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche back from injury to provide depth for a solid group.

Edge: Arkansas

Linebackers

UA plugged freshman Brooks Ellis into the MLB role last week and he’ll remain there today. Braylon Mitchell leads Hogs with 63 tackles; Ole Miss LB Serderius Bryant leads team with 57 tackles in 6 games. He’s ranked 2nd in SEC in tackles a game (9.5).

Edge: Ole Miss

Secondary

UA’s secondary hasn’t collected and interception since Tevin Mitchel’s pick-six against Rutgers on Sept. 22, a streak that spans 23 quarters; Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt (48 tackles, 4 interceptions) is a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award.

Edge: Ole Miss

OVERALL: Ole Miss 34, Arkansas 24

— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau