|Date of game: 11/22/2014
Recap: Arkansas vs. Ole Miss
Fayetteville, AR (SportsNetwork.com) - Rohan Gaines' 100-yard interception return touchdown highlighted a banner day for the Arkansas defense, which stifled a mistake-laden Ole Miss in a resounding 30-0 victory over the No. 8 Rebels.
Gaines' big play was one of six turnovers forced by Arkansas (6-5, 2-5 SEC) in the resurgent Razorbacks' second consecutive shutout over a ranked opponent. The Hogs halted a 17-game losing streak in SEC play with last week's 17-0 blanking of then-No. 20 LSU.
"It's big time for us defensive players, to put up those type of numbers and stop some pretty good teams from getting in the end zone," said Razorbacks defensive end Trey Flowers.
Bo Wallace was responsible for four of the miscues, tossing two interceptions and losing a pair of fumbles on a forgettable afternoon for the Ole Miss offense, which mustered just 63 rushing yards in the third straight conference loss for the sliding Rebels (8-3, 4-3).
"You can't turn it over the number of times that we did and expect to win," Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze remarked. "I just kept hoping we could get something good going and cut that thing to a score or two and I think our defense would have played well enough to give us a chance, but we never did."
Wallace finished 16-of-31 for 235 yards before being yanked early in the fourth quarter.
Alex Collins rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries for Arkansas. Quarterback Brandon Allen went 5-for-10 for 87 yards and a touchdown before leaving in the second quarter with a hip injury and being replaced by his younger brother, Austin.
The Rebels entered Saturday's showdown having yielded an FBS-best 11.9 points per game, but had their season average eclipsed during a first quarter that was completely dominated by the Razorbacks.
Arkansas' defense set the tone by inducing a three-and-out on the opening drive, and the offense needed just three plays to jump out to a quick 7-0 lead.
Collins broke off a 15-yard run deep into Ole Miss territory on the second snap of the Razorbacks' initial series, then Keon Hatcher beat his man on the next play to haul in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Allen less than three minutes in.
Wallace had the ball knocked loose by Martrell Spaight on the ensuing possession and Flowers recovered for Arkansas at the Ole Miss 29. The turnover led to Adam McFain's 22-yard field for a 10-0 Razorbacks' lead midway through the first quarter.
The Rebels again failed to make progress on their next drive, and Arkansas marched down to the opposing 1-yard line after getting the ball back near midfield. Jonathan Williams fumbled on 4th-and-goal to give Ole Miss a brief reprieve, but the Rebels were offside on the play and Collins leaped over the goal line on the second-chance attempt to increase the margin to 17-0.
Wallace temporarily left the game in the second quarter after hurting his right ankle on a sack in which he lost a fumble. He returned after missing two series to connect with Quincy Adeboyejo for a 40-yard gain to the Arkansas 13, but was intercepted in the end zone by Tevin Mitchell shortly thereafter to thwart the Rebels' best scoring chance of the half.
The mistakes didn't end for Ole Miss following the break, as Wallace was sacked by Flowers for a 14-yard loss on fourth down to begin Arkansas' second third-quarter possession near midfield. A 33-yard completion from Austin Allen to Hatcher later on positioned McFain for a successful 31-yard field goal.
Wallace responded by hitting on three straight throws on the following sequence to bring the Rebels inside the Arkansas 20. However, he lofted a ball for Adeboyejo in the end zone two plays later, and Gaines snared the pass before sprinting down the sideline and following his blocks all the way down the field to extend the Razorbacks' lead to 27-0 with 3:38 to go in the third quarter.
"I was just being patient," said Gaines. "Film study allowed me to play that route. I saw it on film so I remembered it and just played it. The crazy thing is, I was kind of out of gas (at the end)."
McFain capped the scoring with his third field goal of the game, an 18-yarder with 11:42 left that was set up when Rebels backup quarterback DeVante Kincade had the ball slip through his hands while dropping back to pass, with the Razorbacks recovering on the Ole Miss 1-yard line.
Brooks Ellis recorded the Razorbacks' sixth takeaway with an interception of Ryan Buchanan in Arkansas territory with less than 6 1/2 minutes to go.Game Notes
The back-to-back shutouts were the first by Arkansas against league opponents
since a pair of 31-0 wins over Texas A&M and Rice in the Southwest Conference
in 1965 ... Gaines sat out the entire first half on suspension after
committing a targeting penalty during the LSU game ... Brandon and Austin
Allen became the first set of brothers to play quarterback at Arkansas in the
same game since Casey and Nathan Dick did so against LSU in 2008 ... Williams
ran for 81 yards on 20 carries to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the
season... Adeboyejo led Ole Miss with 73 receiving yards on six catches.