Arkansas struggles against Ole Miss, falls 30-17

What a difference a week makes. After going toe to toe with the #1 ranked Florida Gators a week ago, Arkansas took a step backward on Saturday with a 30-17 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels.

The Rebels jumped out to an early 17-0 lead in the first half, and former Arkansas coach Houston Nutt’s ball control offense was able to keep the ball out of the hands of the Arkansas offense for long enough to hold on for the victory.

“That’s about as disappointing as it gets. They beat us in all phases. They beat us in defense. They beat our offense up. They won the special teams.” Bobby Petrino said after the game. “We didn’t match their intensity early. We didn’t come out and execute on offense. We had a hard time protecting the quarterback and running the ball.”

Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallet had a frustrating day on Saturday. Mallet completed only 12 of 34 passes for 254 yards, and battled dropped passes from his receivers and poor pass protection all game long. Mallet was sacked 4 times, and was pressured nearly every time he dropped back against the Rebels.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas defense didn’t sack Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead once. Snead finished with a career high 332 yards passing in the game.

Ole Miss running back and utility man Dexter McCluster also had a career day against the Hogs, personally accounting for 260 total yards of offense for the game with 123 on the ground and 137 receiving.

Arkansas finds itself at 3-4 on the season, and 1-4 in the SEC after the loss to Ole Miss, but after a brutal schedule to start the season this year, Arkansas has some very winnable games coming up over the next four weeks.

The Hogs will begin a stretch of four straight home games on Saturday, Oct. 31st with a Homecoming game against Eastern Michigan at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas will have to find a way to move forward after a disappointing step backward against Ole Miss.

“I speak for the team when I say we took a step back today,” Mallet said of the loss to Ole Miss. “We have to regroup and come back together and get it done next week.”