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Arkansas vs Ole Miss Box Score Breakdown: The Sound and the Fury

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Arkansas' defense continued its absolutely dominant performances, pitching a second straight shutout.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

As sweet as Arkansas' 30-0 win is, regular readers of this blog may find it slightly sweeter after Ryan Higgins' Q&A with Red Cup Rebellion (mostly the comments section) and the comments on my game preview showed this blog that Ole Miss fans grossly overestimated their own team, underestimated the Hogs, and were fairly annoying to deal with in general, to put it nicely.

They were, as Shakespeare put it, "full of sound and fury," a phrase borrowed by early 20th century author William Faulkner - the patron saint of the University of Mississippi - for his greatest work, The Sound and the Fury. The original Shakespearean soliloquy is worth a read, and the phrase can roughly be translated to "full of hot air" in today's terms.

Overestimating the loss of Laquon Treadwell stands out, as does claiming that Bo Wallace no longer has a turnover problem (he turned it over four times). That said, not even the most optimistic Hog fan had any idea the game would unfold the way that it did, so with that I'll stop harping on the Ole Miss fans - who have their own big game next week -  and get straight into the numbers:

Arkansas Ole Miss
43.33% Success Rate 28.57%
41.86% Rushing Success Rate 13.04%
2.8 Line Yards/Carry 1.8
47.06% Passing Success Rate 37.50%
9.09% Pass Downs Success Rate 8.33%
11.76% Sack Rate 10.00%
Own 43 Starting Field Position Own 22.5
1 Turnovers 6

Arkansas' two quarterbacks - Brandon Allen and Austin Allen - combined to have an extremely efficient day against the nation's best secondary. Most of this was, of course, an effect of having a fantastic run game. Jim Chaney called one of his best games as Arkansas' offensive coordinator, constantly putting pressure on the Ole Miss secondary. As soon as the Rebs got comfortable coming up to stop the run, Keon Hatcher, Hunter Henry, or Drew Morgan snuck behind them for a big play.

Here's how the Ole Miss offense's splits looked. NOTE: For the game splits, I only used plays up until Brooks Ellis' interception midway through the fourth quarter. The rest of the game was backups vs. backups.

OLE MISS
BY CALL Plays Yards Yards/Play Success Rt
Rushing 23 59 2.6 13.04%
Passing 40 209 5.2 37.50%
BY DOWN Plays Yards Yards/Play Success Rt
1st Down 31 189 6.1 35.48%
2nd Down 20 81 4.1 25.00%
3rd Down 10 12 1.2 20.00%
4th Down 2 -14 -7.0 0.00%
Totals 63 268 4.3 28.57%

The Ole Miss offense was almost completely dependent on first down. All of Ole Miss' drives that reached Arkansas territory were paced by first down success. An incomplete pass or a run for little to no gain was almost always a drive killer.

Here's the Arkansas offense, for comparison:

ARKANSAS
BY CALL Plays Yards Yards/Play Success Rt
Rushing 43 176 4.1 41.86%
Passing 17 136 8.0 47.06%
BY DOWN Plays Yards Yards/Play Success Rt
1st Down 25 167 6.7 44.00%
2nd Down 21 107 5.1 47.62%
3rd Down 13 37 2.8 30.77%
4th Down 1 1 1.0 100.00%
Totals 60 312 5.2 43.33%

Arkansas' running game once again didn't get much in terms of raw yardage (159 rushing yards, 3.2 yards per carry), but it was certainly efficient, posting a success rate of over 40 percent against a top-20 rush defense (in S&P+) for the second straight week. The passing game was extremely impressive. Note the yards per play. The Hogs hit four passes of 25+ yards (two by B. Allen and two by A. Allen) over the top of the Ole Miss defense.

Here's how the run- and pass-specific splits look:

ARKANSAS
RUSHING Plays Yards Yards/Play Success Rt
1st Down 23 114 5.0 39.13%
2nd Down 13 45 3.5 46.15%
3rd Down 6 16 2.7 33.33%
4th Down 1 1 1.0 100.00%
PASSING Plays Yards Yards/Play Success Rt
1st Down 2 53 26.5 100.00%
2nd Down 8 62 7.8 50.00%
3rd Down 7 21 3.0 28.57%
4th Down 0 - - -%

Arkansas ran well on first down and threw well on second down, a nice combination. Jim Chaney also called 23 runs and 2 passes on first down, which was great since - as I've written about plenty of times - first down passing has been a struggle for the Arkansas offense.

The one Arkansas did not do well was third down, especially after going 10 of 17 against LSU. I'm willing to give the offense a pass for this, as Arkansas was sitting on (at least) a three-score lead for over three quarters. With the backup quarterback in and a big lead, the Hogs were content to play ultra-conservative, run clock, and punt back to LSU. Obviously, if Brandon can't go against Mizzou and Austin has to take the reigns, the Hogs can't be quite as conservative, but for Saturday it was fine.

Reviewing the keys to the game

Key #1: Go +7 in points off turnovers.

STATUS: Success! The Hogs forced six in all, scoring 13 points off them. Rohan Gaines took an errant Bo Wallace pass 100 yards for a touchdown to effectively seal the deal in the third quarter, and the Hogs kicked field goals after recovering two fumbles, one by Bo Wallace and the other by backup DeVante Kincade.

Key #2: Run the ball at least 45 times for 200 yards.

STATUS: Satisfactory. Arkansas didn't quite make the 200 yards, totaling 177 yards on 46 called runs, but thanks to an early lead the Hogs could rely on the run game to churn the clock. It was a bit concerning to see the offense stuffed at the Ole Miss 1 repeatedly, but overall a run game like that, paired with this defense, gives Arkansas a great chance next week against Missouri and against whoever the bowl opponent is.

Key #3: Target the tight ends on at least 40 percent of attempts.

STATUS: Failed. Hunter Henry caught 2 of his 4 targets for 30 yards, including a 26-yard catch and run on a beautiful scramble-and-throw from Brandon Allen in the second quarter, but A.J. Derby failed to register a target. Instead, Drew Morgan stepped up to have the best game of his career, catching all three of his targets for 51 yards. Having another option to complement Hatcher will go a long way for the Hog passing attack.

Key #4: Record a havoc rate of at least 20 percent.

STATUS: Success! The Hogs forced six turnovers, two non-turnover sacks, four pass break-ups, and two other TFLs to finish with a havoc rate of right around 20 to 24 percent, depending on where you say the game was effectively over.

Key #5: No special teams disasters.

STATUS: Success! Adam McFain did miss a field goal, but given the wet conditions he gets a pass, especially considering he made his other three tries. Sam Irwin-Hill punted well (40.5 net per punt) and the coverage units did fine. Ole Miss cannot say the same, as a kickoff return man inexplicably caught a kickoff while going out of bounds at his own 1, helping flip the field and set up Arkansas' final first-quarter touchdown.

Up next is Missouri (9-2), a curious team with a middling offense that just keeps winning. Missouri's best win is probably Texas A&M, who has recently been in a state of collapse, but it will a very tough game nontheless as Missouri will win the SEC East with a victory.