Quinshon Judkins ran for 65 yards and a touchdown, Jaxson Dart threw for 153 yards and a score, and No. 16 Ole Miss held off Arkansas for a 27-20 victory on Saturday night.
The Rebels (5-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) bounced back from a 42-21 loss to No. 1 Alabama last week, but it wasn’t easy. The Razorbacks (2-4, 0-3) rallied from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie the game in the final minutes.
Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson, who threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns, led his team to the Ole Miss 19-yard line with 1:42 left. But on fourth-and-10, he was sacked by Sam Williams for a loss of nine yards, ending the Razorbacks’ comeback bid.
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Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin praised his defense for making the crucial stop.
“That was huge,” Kiffin said. “We’ve been struggling on defense all year, but we came up big when it mattered most.”
Ole Miss took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on a 31-yard field goal by Caden Costa and a 23-yard touchdown pass from Dart to Dayton Wade. Arkansas cut the margin to 10-7 in the second quarter on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jefferson to Ty Washington.
The Rebels extended their lead to 20-7 in the third quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Judkins and another field goal by Costa. Ulysses Bentley IV added a 9-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to make it 27-7.
Arkansas didn’t give up, scoring two touchdowns in less than three minutes. Jefferson connected with Washington again for a 14-yard score, and then Raheim Sanders returned a fumble by Dart for a 22-yard touchdown.
But that was as close as the Razorbacks would get, as Ole Miss ran out the clock after Williams’ sack.
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said he was proud of his team’s fight, but disappointed with the result.
“We came here to win, not to make it close,” Pittman said. “We made too many mistakes and missed too many opportunities. We have to get better.”
Ole Miss will host No. 14 Tennessee next week, while Arkansas will host No. 2 Georgia.