GAMEDAY PREVIEW: Rebels Look To Slow Down Arkansas

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Nickolas Brassell
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Nickolas Brassell
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Oct. 22, 2011

OXFORD, Miss. - Another difficult task awaits the Ole Miss Rebels, as they take on their second consecutive top-10 opponent in an SEC showdown against No. 10 Arkansas and head coach Bobby Petrino's high-powered aerial attack.  

Kickoff is slated for 11:21 a.m. from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.  The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

After spending 10 years in Fayetteville as the Razorbacks' head coach, Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt faces his former team for the fourth time since taking over at Ole Miss, holding a 2-1 record.  

Arkansas holds a 30-26-1 advantage in a series that dates back to 1908 and has seen games played in six different cities.  Ole Miss is 6-3 in games played between the two in Oxford.  The Razorbacks are 11-8 against the Rebels since joining the SEC in 1992.

Junior quarterback Tyler Wilson leads one of the nation's most potent offenses into Oxford.  The Razorbacks rank eighth nationally in passing offense, averaging 336.8 yards per-game through the air.  Wilson is completing 64.9 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,779 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first year as the starting signal-caller.  

"I think we are facing the best quarterback in the SEC in Tyler Wilson," said Nutt.  "He is an excellent quarterback and is very accurate.  He can throw every ball and has excellent receivers."

That group of receivers is led by the dynamic senior trio of Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, and Greg Childs.  Wright, the SEC's leading receiver, has accounted for 554 yards and six touchdowns on 33 receptions.  

A banged-up Ole Miss defense will be called upon to slow down Wilson and the Razorback attack.  The Rebels lost two senior starters for the season against Alabama last week, in defensive end Wayne Dorsey and cornerback Marcus Temple.  Dorsey was among the SEC's leaders in sacks, while Temple was the top cover man for the Rebels and had picked off two passes this season.

"We will miss those guys because they were great leaders for us. Wayne and Marcus were playing their best football.  Marcus was playing the secondary better than he had his whole career. That hurts."

Gerald Rivers, Kentrell Lockett, and C.J. Johnson will all be expected to step up in Dorsey's absence.  Defensive tackle Uriah Grant may also see action at end.

True freshman Senquez Golson is expected to get the start at cornerback in Temple's place.  Two-way player Nickolas Brassell saw increased action at cornerback last week in addition to his usual duties at wide receiver.  The freshman posted a career-high five tackles in limited time on defense.  Safety Charles Sawyer, who ranks sixth in the nation in interceptions, may periodically move to his old position on the corner, as well.  

"It helps that they will play this weekend, especially Brandon Bolden," said Nutt.  "That gives us a lift."

Bolden, along with starting running back Jeff Scott, have accounted for eight of the Rebels' 12 offensive touchdowns this season.  Scott is averaging 4.8 yards per-carry and has rushed for six touchdowns and returned a punt for a score, as well.  The Rebels are 0-4 when they fail to rush for 100 yards in a game.

Last week, the Rebels saw the emergence of a potential star in speedy freshman receiver Nickolas Brassell.  Brassell became the first Ole Miss receiver to post a 100-yard game this season, amassing 101 yards on four catches.   

Special teams could play a major factor, as two of the nation's best punt returners will be featured in Ole Miss' Scott and Arkansas' Adams.  Scott ranks third in the nation in punt returns with a 20.1-yard average, while Adams ranks seventh at 18.1 yards.

For Nutt, getting his young team to execute and keep mistakes to a minimum will be the key. 

"The way we played the first half of the Alabama game is a positive," said Nutt.  "There have been a few bright spots when we execute and play hard on offense, defense and special teams.  When we do that we look like a football team. A lot of young people are playing hard and making a lot of plays for us. To me that is what gives you hope."

New for fans in 2011 is the "Rebel Fanfare," sponsored by Baptist Hospital of North Mississippi. It opens three hours prior to kickoff and is located off All-American Drive, across the street from the Starnes Center. Admission is free for all ages. "Rebel Fanfare" includes inflatables, interactive games for kids, food vendors and the pre-game radio show which begins two hours prior to kickoff. It will also feature appearances by former players, cheerleaders, Rebelettes and Rebel.

Rebel fans will have a chance to meet the Ole Miss men's basketball team today prior to the game.  The team will be signing autographs and handing out posters and schedule cards from 9:45-10:45 a.m. at the Rebel Fanfare.

Visit OleMissFB.com for all the information you need about Ole Miss gamedays this fall, and follow @RebelGameday on Twitter for the most up-to-date news and info each Saturday.




Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • 'The New Normal' on Defense

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      ATLANTA -- Boise State had been the highest scoring team in the nation, averaging 40.2 points per game dating back to the 2000 season.  Highlighted by four interceptions, eight tackles for loss and big hits by several different players, the... read more

    • Second-Half Surge for Rebel Offense

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      ATLANTA -- After an up-and-down first half, which included a touchdown and three interceptions, senior quarterback Bo Wallace and the Ole Miss offense found their stride in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter. Leading 7-6 early in the... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Boise State Motivational

      Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs Boise State Official Team Motivational '14 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Boise State

      Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as Ole Miss opens its 2014 season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against Boise State from Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Contrast in Experience Boise State has one of the youngest teams in the country with 67 freshmen... read more

    • Volleyball Opens Steven McRoberts Era

      Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Volleyball

      Here are three pieces to keep in mind as we look ahead to the Ole Miss volleyball team's season-opening weekend in Buffalo, New York, starting with Canisius on Friday morning, the first of four matches over three days at the... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 1

      Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 1 (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Dome, Sweet Dome for Atlanta Area Rebels

      Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - Football

      For high school football players in Georgia, all roads lead to the Georgia Dome and the state championships.  For a handful of Rebels, those roads lead home, as Ole Miss opens the 2014 season against Boise State in the Chick-fil-A... read more

    • VIDEO: Forward Together Construction Update

      Monday, August 25, 2014 - Athletics

      read more

    • Relentless is the Word on Defense

      Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Football

      ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy asked each of the 65 coaches from the Power Five conferences to describe their team in one word.  Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's word? Relentless. The same can be said of the Ole Miss defense.  And... read more

    • McCormick, Defense Shine in Win

      Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Soccer

      After playing 110 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Georgia on Friday night, Ole Miss responded with a gutsy 1-0 win over Iowa State on Sunday afternoon. The defense, led by senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick was the story of the... read more

    • Rebels Battle to Draw on Historic Night

      Friday, August 22, 2014 -

      Big time crowd for @SECNetwork live sports event debut. Record attendance of 1,823 for @OleMissSoccer Let's finish strong.-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August 23, 2014 Ole Miss kicked off the 2014 season in thrilling fashion, rallying to a 1-1 draw with... read more

    • Kiffin Pleased with Defensive Line Progress

      Friday, August 22, 2014 - Football

      Like defensive coordinator Dave Wommack, defensive line coach Chris Kiffin has been pleased with his players throughout fall camp, particularly the depth bolstered by the return of junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and the addition of sophomore Fadol Brown and... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Volleyball Day One

      Friday, August 22, 2014 - Volleyball

      THE SEASON: Volleyball - Day One from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Rebels Kick-Off Season on National Stage

      Friday, August 22, 2014 - Soccer

      Three things from Ole Miss soccer head coach Matt Mott, previewing the season opener against Georgia on Friday night. Rebels Look to Take Next Step Ole Miss made history this past season, not only setting a school record for wins,... read more

    • Nkemdiche Headlines Retooled D-Line

      Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - Football

      The return of junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and additions of sophomore Fadol Brown and freshman Marquis Haynes have changed the face of the defensive line, but freshman All-American Robert Nkemdiche remains front and center.  With a season of experience... read more