A true college football fan in the SEC knows the madness about to descend on Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium this evening.
The rivalry between Ole Miss and Arkansas is about as unbelievable as it gets at times. Just last year, Ole Miss won a 52-51 thriller as the Hogs went for a two-point conversion with the game on the line in Oxford only to come up short. In 2020, Matt Corral threw like 14 interceptions and the Rebels still had a late opportunity to win the game though Arkansas’ defense shored things up for a 33-21 win in Fayetteville.
And holy hell is Fayetteville a tough place for the Rebels to play. While there has been some games in Little Rock where Ole Miss prevailed (2018 - 37-33; 2012 - 30-27), the last time the Rebels won in Fayetteville was 2008 with head coach Houston Dale Nutt. Yes, the former Arkansas coach went back into the belly of the beast and came out with a win he probably enjoyed very deeply.
Prior to 2008, you have to travel back to 2000 to find the only other Ole Miss win in Fayetteville in this millennium. Even the fabled 2014 Rebels who shattered all kinds of ceilings for the program fell 30-0 in this swirling hate vortex of Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods employees who are Arky alums.
Amidst all the history though, the Rebels are somehow 2.5-point favorites in today’s road trip... in a night game... with sub-freezing temps. Throw in Mississippi native KJ Jefferson magically coming back from an injury today to try and get revenge on the local school that snubbed him out of North Panola High School, and there is no doubt in my mind this game is going to be highly emotional on both sidelines.
Ah, yes, Dexter McCluster and Ole Miss fans can all hone in on the way to win tonight against the Hogs - leaning on the run game to open up the rest of the playbook. Arkansas is going to load up to try and stop Quinshon Judkins and the Rebels rushing attack. If Ole Miss can be successful early and rush for some first downs, I think the Hogs pass defense is suspect (giving up 280 ypg).
Judkins is also chasing the single season rushing record at Ole Miss, and I would imagine he and Coach Kiffin want to smash through that if possible sooner rather than later. If Ole Miss can pile up rushing yards like it did against Auburn and Texas A&M, it should be win number nine for the Rebels.
How to watch
Where: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Ark.
When: 6:30 pm CT
TV: SEC Network
Online streaming: WatchESPN