FRIDAY FLASHBACK: Ole Miss - Arkansas 1992

Cassius Ware

Oct. 5, 2012

FRIDAY FLASHBACK rewinds to some of the memorable Ole Miss games from the past. This week features the last time the Rebels faced a brand new SEC team, which was a 17-3 win over Arkansas in 1992.

Ole Miss defense shuts down Razorbacks

By Phil Stukenborg
Memphis Commercial Appeal

October 18, 1992

LITTLE ROCK - One week after a stunning upset of nationally ranked Tennessee, the University of Arkansas came up short of miracles, yards and eventually a victory.

Held to 26 yards through the first three quarters-and 161 overall- the Razorbacks were methodically beaten by Ole Miss, 17-3, Saturday night in a Southeastern Conference game before 53,513 at War Memorial Stadium.

"Today was a big step for our football team," said Ole Miss coach Billy Brewer. "Anytime you beat a team after what they did last week, it is something special."

Tailback Cory Philpot led the Rebels (4-2, 3-2) with 123 yards rushing and Marvin Courtney and Dou Innocent scored on short touchdown runs. But it was the Ole Miss defense that baffled the Razorbacks, beaten for the third straight time by the Rebels.

The Razorbacks were held to 13 yards rushing on 32 attempts.

"We were consistent, aggressive, and confident," Brewer said.

Arkansas quarterback Barry Lunney Jr., who was sacked five times, said the Rebels came with their patented blitzing attacking defense, but disguised the look.

"It took us the whole first half to adjust," Lunney said.

"We knew they were going to bring the whole house, but we didn't expect it with that package."

Arkansas, playing without two starting offensive lineman- left guard Ray Straschinske and right tackle Bryan Cornish- had 10 yards at half time.

The Razorbacks (2-5, 2-3) who take Saturday off before playing Oct. 31 at Auburn were caught off guard by the Rebels' tactics.

"We took our two inside guys (Dewayne Dotson and Cassius Ware) and moved them outside," Brewer said. "Then we took our outside guys and moved them in. I think that caused Arkansas some confusion."

Ole Miss, which plays at Western Division leader Alabama Saturday, got two sacks from Dotson and one from Ware. Arkansas's rushing total was it's lowest since the Razorbacks gained 39 yards against Texas A&M in 1983.

"In the first half we put ourselves in a hole," said Arkansas interim coach Joe Kines. "We did not adjust at all. We challenged our offensive team at halftime. In the second half we got a little more done, but not enough."

The Razorbacks, trailing 10-3 at the half, had an opportunity to make a game of it in the second half after an interception by cornerback Dean Peevy. Peevy cut in front of Ole Miss's Eddie Small at the Rebel 44 and returned the ball to the 18. But the offense stalled and kicker Todd Wright misfired on a 30-yard attempt.

The Razorbacks never put together another series threat until late in the game.

Ole Miss has a time-consuming 14-play scoring drive that ended with Innocent's 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

"At the point when... we got the interception, I thought we had the momentum to turn the game around," Kines said. "We didn't take advantage of that opportunity and it hurt us."

Unable to solve Ole Miss's aggressive defense in the first half, the Razorbacks were held to 19 yards in the first quarter and minus-9 yards in the second period.

"What they did really didn't surprise us," said Arkansas running back E.D. Jackson. "In the first half, we weren't there, we were non-existent. We had our opportunities and we just didn't cash in."

A gift from the Rebels accounted for Arkansas's only points of the half. A 23-yard field goal by Wright came five plays after Arkansas's Tony Travis recovered a fumble by Ole Miss punt returner Germaine Kohn at the Rebel 14.

So confused were the Razorbacks in the first half that one series saw them suffer consecutive losses of 5, 8 and 11 yards, including back-to-back sacks of Lunney.

"That's the kind of defense they run- blitz, blitz, blitz," Jackson said. "They do it on first down. They do it on second down. They do it on third down. They live and die by it."

Ole Miss scored twice in the first quarter, on a 1-yard run by Courtney and a 40-yard field goal by Brian Lee. Courtney's leap into the end zone capped an 11-play, 65-yard drive that included a key conversion on third-and-12 from the Arkansas 24. On the play, Russ Shows hit tight end Thomas McElish for 12 yards.

Razorback receiver Ron Dickerson said he was disappointed that Arkansas didn't take advantage of it's limited opportunities.

"We were down close two times and didn't score," he said. "That's 14 points. That's a tie game."

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