Preview: Ole Miss at Arkansas
Courtesy of the SEC, with staff contributions
October 22, 2008
Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)
LIVE TV: PPV
Houston Nutt is in his first season at Ole Miss and in his 16th season overall with a record of 114-74 (.606). He coached Arkansas from 1998-2007 and was 75-48. After a 50-48 triple-overtime victory at LSU in the season finale to finish the regular season 8-4, Nutt ended his Arkansas tenure and was announced the next day as the new head coach at Ole Miss.
Kent Austin serves as the offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator is Tyrone Nix.
Bobby Petrino was named Nutt's replacement on December 11 after serving 13 games as the head coach of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. Petrino in his sixth season as a collegiate coach and has an overall record of 47-22 (.681). The Razorbacks' offensive coordinator is Paul Petrino (Bobby's younger brother) and the defensive coordinator is Willy Robinson.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN OLE MISS HAS THE BALL
QB Jevan Snead is tied for the SEC lead in TD passes (10) and ranks third in passing average (209.1 ypg) and fourth in total offense (214.6 ypg). Shay Hodge is tied for the SEC lead in touchdown catches with five and ranks first in yards per catch (20.8) and fourth in receiving yards per game (62.3 ypg), just ahead of teammate Dexter McCluster in fifth (61.7). As a receiver, McCluster is fifth in the SEC in receiving yards per game (61.7 ypg) and sixth in receptions (4.0 per game).
Freshman LB Jerry Franklin leads the Arkansas defense with 54 total tackles, while junior DT Malcolm Shepard has posted 30 tackles with six TFL's, three sacks and six QB hurries. Elton Ford led the team with ten tackles at Kentucky, while also hauling in one interception. Ford is second on the team in tackles with 44. Adrian Davis has five TFL's and three sacks on the season.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN ARKANSAS HAS THE BALL
NT Ted Laurent leads the team and is tied for fifth in the SEC with 7.0 TFL's. In just four games, Greg Hardy has taken over the team lead in sacks with 3.5 and has 4.5 TFL's. DT Peria Jerry posted season highs of seven total tackles and three TFL's at Alabama. He also notched a sack, forced fumble and QB hurry. Jamarca Sanford ranks fourth in the SEC in tackles per game(8.7) and is the league's active career leader (266 total stops).
QB Casey Dick has completed 126-of-226 passes with six TD's and nine interceptions. Sophomore WR D.J. Williams has collected 28 passes for 315 yards and a pair of scores. Junior RB Michael Smith has garnered 144 of the team's 234 rushing attempts this year and has responded with an SEC-leading 791 yards (131.8 per game).
Mike Wallace is averaging 139.5 kickoff return yards per game over the last four games, and three of those performances ranked among the top-11 single-game totals in school history, including the best ever. K Joshua Shene was perfect on Saturday, converting both PATs and connecting on a 35-yard and 25-yard FG. He is 9-for-10 on field goals this year, missing only a 47-yarder against Vanderbilt.
Jeremy Davis is averaging 42.3 yards per punt, while landing ten inside the 20 yard line. His longest punt of the year covered 58 yards. Shay Haddock is 5-6 on field goals this season. Dennis Johnson has returned 25 kickoffs for a 21.8 yard average, while Smith is the leading punt returner at 8.8 yards per return.
Record: ARK, 30-23-1 • Last: ARK, 44-8 (2007 at Oxford)
This game will mark the 55th meeting all-time between Ole Miss and Arkansas dating back to 1908... Ole Miss records show the Rebels trailing the series 24-29-1, while Arkansas' records indicate a 30-23-1 advantage for the Razorbacks... Arkansas claims a forfeit victory in a 1914 game that Ole Miss won 13-7... The two teams met almost yearly from 1937-1969 before the series took a hiatus until 1981... The two schools have played yearly since then, and Ole Miss is 9-17-1 against Arkansas since the series resumed ...Arkansas holds a 10-6 edge since it joined the SEC in 1992 and have taken four straight.