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A history of Ole Miss and Arkansas in Little Rock — yes, in Little Rock

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The Rebels play better in Little Rock than in Fayetteville. All of it’s weird.

Mississippi v Texas Tech Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

If you’ve remotely paid attention to Ole Miss football over the years, you are very much aware of the destruction that awaits the Rebels when they travel to Fayetteville to play Arkansas. Since 1994, Ole Miss has vomited out a 2-9 record in their visits to the place that you reach roughly 27 hours after making that northward turn off the hellscape that is I-40.

However, this year the football gods have perhaps smiled upon Ole Miss, via Razorback fans not wanting to drive multiple hours, and assigned this game to Arkansas’ state capitol.

It’s seemingly good news for Ole Miss because in the history of the two schools exchanging blows, the Rebels have gone 8-6-1 in Little Rock, while their record in Fayetteville is 4-712-1*.

*While emotionally correct, the actual record for Ole Miss in Fayetteville is just 2-11.

Since the game is in Little Rock, perhaps Ole Miss can produce something that is non-trash, strictly based on the difference in the two records. While we await kickoff, let us relive the showdowns in the city that houses Arkansas’ legislative body.

So, year by year, or sort of:


1913/1914

Two games, two wins for Ole Miss. Say what you will about William Driver, head coach and head coach for two seasons only, but the man RAN LITTLE ROCK.

What brought about the end of the William Driver era? My first guess is World War I, but here are some notable losses from those two seasons:

  • VMI
  • Hendrix (8-6 loss, but I believe this is when touchdowns were worth a bushel and people were charged a nickel for attempting a forward pass, so I’m not sure how to interpret this loss)
  • Oauchita
  • Southwestern
  • Texas A&M (game was played in Beaumont, which should’ve resulted in people being thrown in prison)

1924

Under the direction of Chester Barnard, Ole Miss lost this game 20-0. But what’s really impressive is that he won his first two games, and then lost the next five by a combined score of 129-2. Though he rallied his team to win the last two games of 1924, clearly he was the HOUSTON NUTT OF 1924.

1952

Johnny Vaught’s visit to Little Rock as Ole Miss’ head coach, and he promptly tracked mud all through the house, didn’t bother using a coaster, and you better believe he left that toilet seat up in a 34-7 Ole Miss win.

1954/1956

Ole Miss lost both games by a combined score of 20-0, which included 1954’s 6-0 loss/punt orgy. I assume during both games it was raining, 33 degrees, and everyone in the stadium wished they had stayed home and watched it on the 64-inch ultra 4k radio.

1958

Ole Miss won 14-12, and I’m convinced it was because someone who was probably a mentor to Houston Nutt decided to go for two in the first quarter.

1960

Due to their generous spirit, Ole Miss gave Arkansas the gift of losing 10-7 to an eventual national champion. Somewhat related and because I am petty, I hope it was such an emotionally devastating loss that it is a never-ending source of lament for older Arkansas fans.

1982/1984/1986/1988

Whether it was Steve Sloan or Billy Brewer leading the Rebels into Little Rock, it went not great! Ole Miss was 0-3-1 during this decade, which, upon reflection, may have been part of a long con to convince Arkansas to keep playing Ole Miss in the state capital because since the 1988 loss, Ole Miss’ record in Little Rock is 3-0.

YOU SLY GENIUS, DOG BREWER.

(kisses fist, points to the sky)

1990

The 1990 version of this kinda-rivalry is one of the first Ole Miss games I can remember watching. It was also my first introduction to the soul-crushing feeling one gets when staring into the face of inevitable doom.

After Ole Miss took a 21-17 lead with 13:45 to play, a stalemate broke out, with Arkansas unable to score and Ole Miss most likely squandering chances to put the game away (I can’t remember if that happened, but it most certainly happened). On the last possession of the game, Arkansas had the ball at its own 36 with 59 seconds remaining.

Did the Ole Miss defense offer any resistance and make the Arkansas offense put in work? They did not!

The Razorbacks reached Ole Miss’ five-yard line with 12 seconds left and then this thing, which makes no sense even today, happened:

A couple of things to note here:

REC SPECS

Arkansas coach Jack Crowe going with the LETHAL short-sleeve dress shirt and tie combo.

DON’T HURT ‘EM, JACK.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention David Kellum’s confusion over who made the hit. Excited shouting paired with throwing darts as to who made the hit is radio gold. Pls unblock me, DK.

1992

Ah yes, 1992, the last hurrah of the Dog Brewer era. Ole Miss went 9-3 that season, which included a 17-3 win over Arkansas and a Liberty Bowl victory against Air Force. The following two seasons would produce a 6-5 and 4-7 records, respectively, and NCAA supermax prison probation.

FUN FACT: The cheatin’ that was going on in 1992 was essentially cited as a reason present-day Ole Miss should be sent back to NCAA supermax prison.

BONUS FUN FACT: If you think NCAA investigations are a collaborative effort between investigators and the institution in seeking truth and fairness, why do you still work here?

2012

You may recall a former Ole Miss head coach by the name of Hugh Freeze. If not, you probably know him best as the current offensive coordinator of the Arizona Hotshots.

In 2012, fresh off his first SEC win the previous week against a miserable Auburn team (a perfect 0-8 in the SEC that year), Freeze took his squad of young men who shouldn’t be slandered to Little Rock. It was a back and forth contest, with Ole Miss winning 30-27 on a last-second field goal.

Other than the field goal, the only thing I remember from that game is that at some point in the second half, Freeze called the exact same wide receiver screen play to Donte Moncrief (MIKE SHERIDAN STILL CAN’T BELIEVE BLACK PEOPLE ARE ABLE OWN NICE CARS WITHOUT GETTING SECRET PAYMENTS FROM WHITE PEOPLE) three straight times. When I say the exact same play, I mean the same formation and no attempt to make Arkansas think something different was going to happen.

The results were positive gains, maybe a first down or two, and Arkansas fans who have never been more livid about anything in their entire lives, which included 10 years of Houston Nutt. I can still hear their screams, and I weep because I was unable to bottle them for future consumption.

I have no idea what will happen tonight (other than assured CONSTERNATION), but I rest in the fact that it will probably be better than a four-touchdown loss in 40-degree weather with sideways rain in Fayetteville.