LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – The University of Arkansas football team fell to Ole Miss 30-27 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Ark. in front of a crowd of 55,378.
The Razorbacks put together a tremendous fourth quarter drive to tie the game at 27 that hinged upon senior running back Dennis Johnson. Johnson carried the Razorback offense on his back to put up the game-tying score. Johnson had two rushes for 20 yards or more and his third rush of the drive tied the game as he punched it in the end zone on a five-yard rush. However the Rebels returned to the field with a drive of their own that resulted in a 31-yard field goal to win the game.
Leading the Razorbacks on the ground was Johnson with 27 carries for 161 yards, setting career-highs in both carries and yards. Johnson bested his previous career high of 160 yards by one, which he set in 2011 against Ole Miss.
Senior quarterback Tyler Wilson went 24-of-43 for 297 total yards and two touchdowns. Senior Cobi Hamilton recorded a career-high 12 receptions for 146 yards. Senior tight end Chris Gragg hauled in three passes for 55 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Razorbacks had numerous highlights starting with senior defensive tackle Jared Green recovering an Ole Miss fumble followed by senior safety Ross Rasner picking up his third interception of the year. Rasner also recorded a vital sack on third down to force the Rebels to settle for a field goal in the fourth quarter and keep the Hogs within one possession.
On Arkansas' first possession, a critical decision to go for it on fourth down and 11 on the Ole Miss 35 yard line proved successful as they converted off a 22-yard pass to Hamilton. The conversion allowed the UA to continue down the drive that resulted in a 22-yard field goal by junior kicker Zach Hocker, 3-0.
On the Razorbacks next possession, the offense put together a nine play, 85-yard drive that culminated in a 42-yard touchdown off a pass from Wilson to Gragg. The touchdown put the Hogs up 10-0 in the first quarter.
The Rebels answered the Razorback touchdown with one of their own, a four-yard touchdown pass to shorten the gap, 10-7.
A blocked punt by Ole Miss gave the Rebels possession on the 22-yard line. Ole Miss picked up the score off a one-yard touchdown rush to give the Rebels their first lead of the game, 14-10.
Arkansas responded with a 13 play, 95-yard drive to score on a six-yard pass from Wilson to redshirt freshman Alex Voelzke to give Arkansas back the lead, 17-14. During the drive the Hogs had another crucial fourth down conversion, as they faced fourth-and-three Wilson connected with Hamilton on a 28-yard pass play to keep the drive alive, as the Razorbacks improved to 2-for-2 on fourth down conversions during the game.
With 1:21 remaining in the first half, the Rebels gained possession and scored with 20 seconds remaining on a one-yard touchdown run to take the lead, 21-17, at the half.
A Wilson interception led to an Ole Miss touchdown as the Rebels split the uprights on a 27-yard field goal to lengthen their lead, 24-17 with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter. The Razorbacks returned to the field stringing together a 10 play, 51-yard drive in the fourth quarter that resulted in a 41-yard field goal by Hocker to shorten the Rebels' lead to four, 24-20.
The Rebels took to the field and put up three points of their own as they connected on a 53-yard field goal, 27-20. The Rebels settled for the field goal after a strong defensive showing that culminated in a huge third-and-13 sack by Rasner.
A three-and-out by the defense put the Arkansas offense back on the field swiftly as they took over with 3:07 remaining in the game. Trailing by seven, the Razorbacks put together a comeback drive led by Johnson. Johnson had consecutive rushes for 20 yards or more that put the Razorbacks on the five-yard line, where none other than Johnson pounded it into the end zone, electrifying the crowd and tying the game, 27-27.
However it was the Ole Miss Rebels who came away with the win after connecting on a 31-yard field goal as time expired to give the Rebels the win, 30-27.
The Razorbacks return to Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium to face nonconference opponent Tulsa next Saturday at 11:21 a.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.