Quarterback Matt Jones (108 yards passing with 2 touchdowns, 126 rushing yards with another TD), running back DeCori Birmingham (31 rushing yards and a TD), flanker Steven Harris (4 receptions, 25 yards), defensive end Jeb Huckeba (5 tackles, including a sack), defensive tackle Arrion Dixon (2 solo tackles), guard Gene Perry (starter on a line that dominated), defensive end Elliott Harris (3 tackles), kicker David Carlton (booming kickoffs) and outside linebacker Marcus Whitmore (solo tackle) all played key roles in the Hogs’ 35-3 win against Ole Miss on Senior Day.
Though he didn’t register any stats, noseguard Titus Peebles played lots.
“Tremendous effort by everyone, and a great way for our seniors to go out,” said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. “This senior group has won a lot of games for us, guys. They’ve had some down times the last few weeks (four consecutive losses), but they laid it all out on the line.”
Defensive end Anders Akerstrom, tight end P.J. Hickey and split end Michael Young comprise the last three of Arkansas’ 13 seniors and they were dressed out Saturday. Akerstrom even got some fourth-quarter plays.
Arkansas freshman running back Peyton Hillis scored his seventh touchdown of the season (sixth rushing) on a 1-yarder to cap the Hogs’ opening drive.
It was the first touchdown for Hillis since the Alabama game on Sept. 25, a 27-10 Hogs win that was their last victory before Saturday.
A 6-2, 240-pounder, Hillis broke three transverse processes in his back at Florida on Oct. 2. He was expected to miss 6-8 weeks, but returned for the Georgia game on Oct. 23.
Hillis had 64 yards and the TD on 18 carries Saturday.
“We were going to get him some more carries, but we got him more when De’Arrius (Howard) went down (with a slight concussion),” Nutt said.
“He’s only going to get better. Only getting better. Getting better every single week.”
Arkansas junior tight end Jared Hicks snagged his first career touchdown pass when Jones hit him over the middle for a 2-yard score with 9:30 left in the second quarter to give the Hogs a 28-0 lead.
With Jones under pressure, Hicks, a 6-foot-6, 270-pounder who has battled shoulder problems, used his body to shield a defender.
On a third-and-2 with 7:13 left in the third quarter, Jones hit Hicks in stride at about the Ole Miss 2-yard line and Hicks bulled his way in for the 23-yard score and 35-3 lead.
“My last touchdown I’ll ever throw here will be a touchdown to Hicks,” Jones said. “So that was pretty cool to be able to leave that way, being one of my best friends on the football team.”
Hicks had just 5 receptions this season and 10 for his career. He had 3 catches Saturday for 42 yards.
“Jared did some good things,” Nutt said. “He caught some good balls and he’s feeling better. He’s been banged up all year and he’s just fighting through it. I think he did it for those seniors. I really believe that.”
Ironically, Hicks, along with Peebles, was featured on the cover of the Razorbacks Game Day program.
Think you’ve seen it all? Think again.
During Ole Miss punter Cody Ridgeway’s 54-yard punt late in the first quarter, Arkansas freshman cornerback Matterral Richardson was whistled for two penalties – offsides and holding.
After Birmingham’s 7-yard return, Ole Miss took the holding penalty, a 10-yarder, planting the Hogs at their 13-yard line.
Didn’t much matter as the Hogs scored on the drive on Jones’ dazzling 72-yard sprint for 21-0.
Members of Arkansas’ 1954 Southwest Conference championship team were introduced at halftime.
Called the “25 Little Pigs,” those Razorbacks were 8-3 under Bowden Wyatt and finished the season at No. 10 in The Associated Press poll.
On Friday night, a reunion dinner was held for team members in the ‘A’ Club on the east side of Razorback Stadium.
Looking at the startling score, one wondered: Is Ole Miss that bad or is Arkansas State that good?
Ole Miss beat ASU 28-21 in Oxford on Oct. 2 thanks to two second-half turnovers converted into 15 points.
After Arkansas’ 35-3 shellacking of the Rebels, we think we know the answer to the above question.
Ole Miss leads its series against Arkansas State 20-1-2.
According to Arkansas folks, the Hogs lead the series 27-23-1.
However, Ole Miss disputes the series record, scripting it as a 26-24-1 Arkansas advantage.
The difference is the 1914 matchup in Little Rock, won 13-7 by the Rebels. Arkansas called foul, claiming an ineligible Ole Miss player participated, so the Hogs count it as a forfeit. Ole Miss discounts that and none of the players involved in the game are living.
The Hogs are 7-1 vs. Ole Miss here, and no one can dispute that.
Howard and fullback Brandon Kennedy both suffered slight concussions, Jones had a slight hamstring pull (not related to the recent groin muscle injury) and center Kyle Roper has a strained back.
Linebacker Michael Robinson had the most serious injury – a strained quad – and will be further evaluated this week.
The rest are expected to return to this week’s practices in preparation for Saturday’s game at Mississippi State.