OXFORD, Miss. (WCBI Sports/Ole Miss Athletics) – The Ole Miss offense threw for a season-high 419 yards, including a career-high 407 yards from junior quarterback Bo Wallace, and the Rebels (6-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) defeated Arkansas 34-24 Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Wallace, who recorded the fifth-highest single-game passing total in school history Saturday, led Ole Miss to its sixth victory of the season, allowing Ole Miss to gain bowl eligibility for the second straight year under head coach Hugh Freeze.
“We’re very excited to be bowl eligible with three games remaining,” Freeze said. “We knew this would be a tough game for us. It’s good to get guys healed up during an off week, but it seemed we played a little sluggish. It’s a great sign for our program in year two that we’re able to win an SEC football game and not play our best.”
Junior wide receiver Donte Moncrief hauled in a season-high seven receptions for a season-high 149 yards and one touchdown. Joining Moncrief in the century club was senior wide receiver Ja-Mes Logan, who had five catches for 110 yards and a touchdown, highlighted by a career-long 75-yard reception in the third quarter that helped break the game open for the Rebels. It was the first time Ole Miss had two receivers with more than 100 yards receiving in a game since 2003.
“I haven’t had receivers to this level at others schools,” Freeze said. “I’ve followed Ole Miss football for a long time, and our group could arguably be one of the top receiving corps throughout history.”
After each team exchanged field goals on their opening drives of the game, Ole Miss took the lead on a 1-yard run up the middle by senior quarterback Barry Brunetti. Brunetti’s touchdown plunge, his fourth of the season, capped off an impressive 12-play, 82-yard drive for Ole Miss.
Taking over with 2:43 left in the first half and leading 13-10, Ole Miss marched down the field quickly to regain a 10-point advantage at 20-10 thanks to a beautiful 14-yard pass from Wallace to freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell in the end zone.
The Razorbacks (3-7, 0-6 SEC) gained momentum early in the third quarter. Following an interception of Wallace on the Rebels’ opening drive, Arkansas drove 46 yards in 2:35 to pull within three at 17-20.
Perhaps the defensive play of the game came on the Razorbacks’ next offensive drive. With Arkansas already down to the Ole Miss 39-yard line, the Rebels’ Landshark defense sniffed out a potential halfback pass by Arkansas and tackled the Razorbacks for a 9-yard loss, eventually forcing Arkansas to punt.
“Obviously, Jonathan Williams, who we know can throw the football, threw a couple to the same side and a sweep play,” Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said. “We wanted to throw a throwback to Brandon (Allen) and obviously it didn’t break or execute as clean as we wanted.”
Ole Miss regained whatever momentum it had previously lost in a 3:06 stretch in which Wallace found Logan for a 75-yard touchdown, and then Moncrief for a 52-yard touchdown, giving the Rebels a 34-17 lead.
“To be bowl eligible each of the first two years, we are ahead of schedule,” Freeze said. “I did expect to be bowl eligible this year after last year, but my plan when I first came in was to get to a bowl in year three.”
Ole Miss will face Troy on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 11 a.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPNU and can also be seen on WatchESPN.