Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Big game earned Jefferson some respect
Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) scores on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 during the fourth quarter of a football game at Vaught Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss.
A week of everyone saying the SEC had Georgia, Alabama and then everyone else died Saturday night in College Station, Texas.
When the Texas A&M Aggies found a way to beat Bama, with a field goal as time ran out, the improbable had happened.
Nick Saban being undefeated against former assistants was no more. He’s now 24-1.
The only undefeated teams in the SEC are Georgia and Kentucky, both are 6-0 and are in the Eastern Division.
The Aggies were 0-2 in SEC play, having lost to both Arkansas and Mississippi State, and are now tied for fifth — or last depending on on how you look at it — in the West.
Ole Miss beating Arkansas was not an upset, but it was a crazy game that would have seemed better played on Halloween if the Razorbacks had converted a two-point play to win 53-52.
That was the score in 2015, the Hunter Henry Heave game, that Arkansas won in the overtime after Brandon Allen passed 9 yards to Drew Morgan for a touchdown and then pushed into the end zone for the two-pointer.
Last Saturday’s game was a wild and crazy one in which a lot of holding calls by both teams were ignored — makes you wonder why targeting and holding calls that took up much of the first weekend seem to have disappeared — that obviously could have gone either way.
Unlike the Aggies’ win, the Hogs won most of the statistics except the one on the scoreboard.
Matt Corral, the Rebels’ quarterback, should have helped his Heisman Trophy stock by passing for 287 yards and rushing for another 94.
Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson had a slightly better game, but his name won’t be mentioned in connection with college football’s most prestigious award until next season.
Jefferson passed for 326 yards and ran for 85, paying notice he is an SEC quarterback.
In the final quarter, he hit 10 of 14 passes for 139 yards. Corral hit 4 of 7 but for 148 yards.
It was not a morale victory for the Hogs to lose by one on the road in front of a harsh crowd, and that’s a good thing.
That means the days of Chad Morris are gone and forgotten.
Of course, the big question is what happened to Arkansas’ defense that gave up 324 yards rushing and 287 in the air.
The Razorbacks came into the game allowing just 129.8 passing yards per game and 153 on the ground.
Georgia had scored the most on them with 37 points, and the Hogs had allowed just 59 combined in the first four games.
One reason was Corral was the best quarterback they had faced all season.
The rest of it is on the Arkansas defense, which broke down on three passes that accounted for 190 of the Rebels’ yards.
Arkansas probably had more missed tackles than it had in the first five games combined.
It was frustrating and had to play into Sam Pittman’s thinking when he decided to go for two on the final play of the game.
The called play has been questioned by some, but Ole Miss defended it perfect.
On the elevator at the parking deck with a family of Rebel fans — complete with two little girls dressed like Ole Miss cheerleaders — their dad saw the media pass and asked where I worked.
As the doors opened and they were getting off, he said, “I’m just glad that quarterback didn’t run it.”
Lot of people felt that way, and it may not be as much questioning the play call, but having a new-found respect for Jefferson’s ability to run.
There is absolutely zero doubt Auburn’s coaches are working hard to come up with a game plan to stop the redshirt sophomore quarterback, if they can.
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