As Eric put so well the feeling of impending doom lingered even with a significant lead late in the fourth quarter against Ole Miss. Ty Storey, Rakeem Boyd, and Devwah Whaley were all out and with 4:15 left the only punctuation needed on this game was a couple first downs.
The Razorbacks had just given up a 10 play 84 yard touchdown drive to Ole Miss to set the score 33-31 with 4:15 left to play. It was obvious the momentum dramatically shifted after that drive. The options were: be aggressive and risk a turnover setting Ole Miss up in scoring range, or try to pick up a couple first downs killing some time then take a shot down the field.
But before even taking the field the offense started backed up. This is really why teams don’t always just kick out of the back of the endzone every time. There is always the risk of a bobble or missed block. In this situation by kicking inside the ten yard line ole miss was able to pin the Razorbacks deep and put the pressure on an already shaky offense. A fair catch here or cleanly fielded ball would have given at least the 25 yard line to start and changed the play calling significantly.
- 1st & 10 at ARK 10
- (4:15 - 4th) Cole Kelley pass incomplete to La’Michael Pettway
Most teams have a script of drive opening plays and this was a solid call with poor execution at the WR position.
Backed up inside their own ten and needing at least 2 first downs to force Ole Miss to burn their timeouts and run the clock down.
This was the perfect play call, Ole miss lines up with a single high safety and press coverage on the outside. The OLB #17 dropping down to show blitz off the edge. Arkansas has a 2 TE look with the RB to the short side of the field.
Playaction brings the linebackers up and allowed Kelley space to throw over them on the inside route by Pettway. The protection up front was assisted by the two TEs and the RB staying in. Pettway turned up field too soon which ended up in a drop. This would have been a big play due to the coverage (man, cover 1) if not for the drop.
• 2nd & 10 at ARK 10
• (4:15 - 4th) Cole Kelley run for 2 yds to the Ark 12
Conservative play call here, but the point was to get the clock rolling after the drop on the previous play. Just a QB power with the RG pulling to open up space. Kelley picked up 2 yards, not much room with Ole Miss crashing inside playing run.
- 3rd & 8 at ARK 12
- (4:15 - 4th) ARKANSAS Penalty, false start (Johnny Gibson Jr.) to the Ark 7
Just shot themselves in the foot with a manageable 3rd and 8 turned into 3rd and longer.
- 3rd & 13 at ARK 7
(4:15 - 4th) Cole Kelley pass complete to La’Michael Pettway for 21 yds to the Ark 28 for a 1ST down
After the penalty Arkansas is back inside its own 10 with a 3rd and long situation. Out of a 2X2 formation against what looks to be pressure by Ole Miss from the left side. The LB drops on the snap and the corners press bail which looks like a Cover 3 “buzz” call by the defense. The read and play call set up perfectly for the comeback route to the outside and Kelley throws a bullet to move the chains. Great throw.
- 1st & 10 at ARK 28
(4:15 - 4th) Chase Hayden run for 4 yds to the Ark 32
Here Morris is looking to run more clock, with a split zone play out of 2 TE Wing look. Hayden chooses to bounce it to the outside and is able to pick up another 4 yards.
- 2nd & 6 at ARK 32
- (4:15 - 4th) Cole Kelley run for 1 yd to the Ark 33
- (2:18 - 4th) Timeout OLE MISS, clock 02:18
Once again just looking to run out the clock on this play the call is a QB power with a lead by Cantrell from the wing TE spot. I think on this series this spot would have been the best to take another shot downfield. Ole Miss was playing run, single high safety in MOF, and press which leads me to think it was Man or 3 buzz again.
- 3rd & 5 at ARK 33
(2:18 - 4th) Cole Kelley pass incomplete to La’Michael Pettway, broken up by Willie Hibbler
Arkansas lines up in a strange look with trips to the open field side and a single WR to the boundary (Pettway) They were looking to isolate him in single coverage but Ole miss has a defense called to take away anything at the sticks or sideline. Pettway runs a decent route at the sticks but the 2 deep 5 under zone of Ole Miss put their LB #17 in perfect position, it also did not help that Kelley locked on Pettway and stared him down from the snap.
Drive killer, and the clock stops.
- 4th & 5 at ARK 33
- (2:18 - 4th) Reid Bauer punt for 64 yds, downed at the Miss 3
As usual in the world of up and down Razorback fandom Reed Bauer punts the ball down inside the 5 yard line flipping the field and reviving hope that the Razorbacks would be able to get a stop.
- 1st & 10 at MISS 3
- (2:02 - 4th) Jordan Ta’amu pass incomplete to Braylon Sanders
Good coverage all around and runs the clock down to 2:02. Ole Miss has to notice that the ARK safety is cheating to the trips side, as they go back to the same formation on the next play.
- 2nd & 10 at MISS 3
- (2:02 - 4th) Jordan Ta’amu pass complete to A.J. Brown for 20 yds to the Miss 23 for a 1ST down
Ole Miss brings out a 3X1 set to the field against a four down look by Arkansas again. The coverage put nickel #36 on A.J. Brown running an in route. Ole Miss knew from the previous play that the safety was going to vacate the middle.
The inside WR draws Harris out of the MOF and vertical routes on the outside deepen Curl at the safety spot leaving empty space to pick up a big chunk of yards. Not exactly sure what the coverage was here if it was a form of split field but odd that Curl was on the opposite hash and not in the MOF to be in position on this play.
- 1st & 10 at MISS 23
- (2:02 - 4th) Jordan Ta’amu pass incomplete to Braylon Sanders, broken up by Jarques McClellion
Ole miss goes with another trips to the field formation and Arkansas also has the same look. This time Agim puts pressure on Ta’Amu as Brown is coming open again over the middle forcing him to scramble. McClellion makes a good play on the outside to force 2nd down.
- 2nd & 10 at MISS 23
- (2:02 - 4th) Jordan Ta’amu pass complete to Dawson Knox for 48 yds to the Ark 29 for a 1ST down
Ole Miss flips the same formation with trips to the short side and Arkansas sticks with the same look but the Nickel and LB run with the WR on the In route leaving Knox uncovered underneath. Ole Miss ran the same play three times in a row with slight changes to get into scoring territory.
- 1st & 10 at ARK 29
- (1:30- 4th) Jordan Ta’amu run for 15 yds to the Ark 14 for a 1ST down
Ole Miss runs hurry up out of the same formation they have been in the whole drive, and Arkansas gets a blitz call in sending 6. This puts the secondary in man coverage. Poor rush lane integrity lead to an opening for Ta’Amu to pick up another big chunk of yards and further gas the exhausted Arkansas defense.
- 1st & 10 at ARK 14
- (2:02 - 4th) Scottie Phillips run for 9 yds to the Ark 5
At this point it would have almost made sense to call a timeout with the defense gassed and the clocking ticking down inside a minute.
- 2nd & 1 at ARK 5
- (0:42 - 4th) Scottie Phillips run for 5 yds for a TD, (Two-Point Conversion failed )
Two straight runs and Ole Miss punches it in to go up 37-33, but can not get the 2 pt conversion to stretch it to a 6 point lead.
On the ensuing kickoff Arkansas gets a big return from Warren out to the 43 yd line that is negated by a late hit moving them back to the 28.
1st & 10 at ARK 28
0:35-4th Cole Kelley Intercepted by Zedrick Woods
Out of a 2x2 formation with reduced splits on the QBs right side Arkansas ran a combo route with OGrady and Woods in what looked to be option routes based on the coverage. Kelley made a bad read and overthrew Woods as he settled inside. Not the best call in that situation and was a fitting end to a fourth quarter collapse.
The safety showed a robber look presnap and then bailed into quarters where he was sitting on top of the only two routes that Kelley even attempted to look at. In the future this team has to execute something better in a critical situation time ticking away. A throw to the sideline, a screen, deep ball against the best matchup, something better than a two man route into triple coverage.
Arkansas played well enough to win, except on 3 rd downs where neither Storey nor Kelley could convert. The defense must find a way over the next few weeks to play better in the secondary against trips where a nickel is matched up on a good WR. It has been a rough season and this loss added to this failures but there is still time to gain some momentum to close out strong.