HOGS end another skid, pick off Ole Miss
FAYETTEVILLE - Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Matt Corral arrived in Fayetteville as the national leader in total offense. He departed as one of the national leaders for most interceptions in a game.
Arkansas (2-2) intercepted six Corral passes and corralled Corral’s fourth-down fumble on one of two successful goal-line stands in beating the Rebels 33-21 and ending an SEC 12-game home losing streak dating to 2016.
Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom’s crew frustrated last week’s hottest quarterback just as it did in its 21-14 victory over Mississippi State by frustrating MSU quarterback K.J. Costello after Costello threw for 623 yards at LSU.
“That kid Corral had one interception going into today,” Pittman said. “We picked him six times, so that's coaching and that's players learning and being able to get it done. Barry Odom is awesome.”
Arkansas, with a bye week before its Oct. 31 game at Texas A&M, logged three interceptions alone from redshirt freshman walk-on cornerback Hudson Clark, another by nickel back Greg Brooks and two pick sixes, the first returned 35 yards by safety Jalen Catalon and the other by Grant Morgan, which sealed the game.
Ole Miss rallied from down 20-0 at half to trailing only 26-21 before Morgan’s pick and 23-yard TD return, and A.J. Reed’s PAT with 3:07 left in the game.
Playing without injured linebacker Bumper Pool, Morgan logged a career high 19 tackles, including a sack, and he broke up two passes against an Ole Miss offense that last week amassed 647 yards and 48 points in a wild, 63-48 loss to No. 2 Alabama.
Since injuring his elbow in the season’s second game, Morgan has practically played one-armed, not even practicing the past two weeks before playing against Auburn and Ole Miss.
“You saw him holding that elbow on a play late in the fourth quarter, and it didn’t stop him from picking a pass and running it back for a touchdown,” Pittman said, noting toughness runs in the Morgan family (older brother and former UA receiver Drew Morgan). “He is Arkansas. That’s what he is.”
Pittman continued praising.
“Cat (Catalon) took that early one back for a touchdown,” Pittman said. “And Hudson Clark, three interceptions, that’s incredible.”
And to think nobody had heard of Clark until starting cornerback Montaric Brown was injured against Mississippi State.
“Well, they've heard of him now,” Pittman said. “Three times at least."
Offensively, UA sophomore receiver Treylon Burks of Warren, too injured to play in last week’s controversial 30-28 loss at Auburn, caught 11 Feleipe Franks passes for 137 yards, the longest catch of 55 yards on Arkansas’ first touchdown drive. In the fourth quarter with the Hogs up just 20-14, Burks delivered a highlight reel 7-yard touchdown catch on third-and-1 with one hand in the end zone corner.
“Treylon,” Pittman said. “What a great catch! Huge. He’s just a leader. I love him. He’s a very physical guy. He made some big plays out there. You could see the rust on him a little bit, too, from not being healthy the last couple of weeks. But he’s a competitor.”
Burks not only was the game’s leading receiver but Arkansas’ second-leading rusher with four carries for 46 yards. “We need to get him the ball as much as we can,” Pittman said.
The goal-line stand, also including big plays by Morgan, set the first-half tone by spoiling Ole Miss’ first possession.
Aided by a running into the kicker penalty, Arkansas then drove 95 yards and scored on Rakeem Boyd’s 1-yard run, the Razorbacks first rushing TD of the season in their first SEC home victory since 2016.
Clark’s first interception set up the first of two A.J Reed second-quarter field goals, sandwiching Catalon’s pick-six for the 20-0 halftime lead.
Ole Miss owned the third quarter but scored just once, denied again on fourth-and-goal from the Arkansas 1 in their second-half opening drive before scoring at 4:35 on Corral’s 7-yard TD pass to Elijah Moore.
As Arkansas’ offense sputtered against an Ole Miss defense that was gashed last week for 700-plus yards by Alabama, Corral’s second TD pass cut the Arkansas lead to 20-14.
Burks’ touchdown catch, followed by a failed 2-point conversion attempt, appeared to put the Hogs in good shape with Ole Miss forced to punt on fourth-and-10 from its 27.
Except the Rebels didn’t punt. Instead, Mono Sanogo took a short snap and stunned Arkansas by running 47 yards. Ole Miss running back Jerrion Early, 23 carries for 112 yards, tallied the 1-yard TD at 5:30.
The Rebels got the ball one last time until Morgan took it back and the game.
“I told the team, if I'm a running back, I might be a little bit worried (about keeping my job),” Pittman said of Morgan’s nifty pick-six. “Because Morgan, he took that back to the house.”