by Zack Lambert
October 15th, 2020
Ole Miss at Arkansas
Spread: Arkansas (+1.5)
Moneyline: Ole Miss (-120); Arkansas (Even)
Time and Location: 3:30 ET, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Ole Miss (1-2)
Ole Miss and Alabama put on a show for the ages on Saturday, scoring a combined 111 points on 1,370 yards and 15 touchdowns. Ole Miss was very impressive on offense, as they usually are, but nearly scored 50 on Alabama which is close to impossible. Matt Corral is working very well at quarterback and has been very consistent, hitting 75% of his passes for 365 yards and two scores in this game. Kiffin’s system of setting him up for open throws is working wonders and Kenny Yeboah is turning into a monster at right end. The run game is explosive as well with Snoop Connor and Jerrion Ealy tearing up the field for 248 yards and four touchdowns combined. The offense has to feel great about themselves.
The defense probably doesn’t feel very good, nor should they, but I wouldn’t beat myself up too much were I in that unit. Mac Jones and Najee Harris tore that unit up but they’re both NFL caliber players. What I would be more concerned about is the number of big plays given up and the inability to stop Alabama at all. Alabama scored a touchdown every time they had the ball except for two drives, a punt from the 40 and a fumble at the one yard line. Ole Miss only stopped Alabama from gaining 41 yards on the evening and that’s a really bad sign. No one expected anything from this unit coming into the season but even this is an underachievement.
I have to admit I was flatly wrong about Arkansas to start the season and their progression this season is a lot better than I had assumed. Felipe Franks is working very well in the passing game and diced up the Auburn secondary for 318 yards and four touchdowns and a 73% completion rate. The run game is still struggling to find its feet, though. Trelon Smith didn’t have a great game against Auburn, but it was Auburn. I hope this week shows us that we can actually trust Arkansas when they’re handing the ball off.
I also hope we’re able to find out that we can trust the Arkansas playmaking. The Hogs were unable to force a turnover on Auburn last Saturday. Bo Nix wasn’t very good and they did get to him three times, but he wasn’t bad because of what Arkansas was doing. The run stop is pretty troubling in my eyes as well considering how well Auburn moved the ball on the ground. Arkansas gave up 259 yards on 41 carries and that’s just not good enough. The linebackers have been decent but the front seven have to really step up and plug holes if they want to win these types of close games.
Analysis and Pick
This game is probably going to end up pretty close, but not because Arkansas is a pretty good team. The reason I think it’ll stay competitive is because Ole Miss plays to the level of their opponent. Whether it be Kentucky or Alabama they always keep things close. But do I think it’ll be a one point game? No.
The Ole Miss offense is for real, and while their defense is as well, they’re a very intelligent and versatile attacking team. I expect to see a lot of passing again and a really good game all around. Arkansas will get their points and keep things close but they’re not going to be able to win this game. Take Ole Miss to cover the spread.