Like it is

Henry Heave cost Ole Miss more than game

Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry prepares to lateral a football during a game against Ole Miss on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss.
Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry prepares to lateral a football during a game against Ole Miss on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss.

There should be no depression and no hangover about Saturday's 49-30 loss to Alabama.

Ole Miss should have been the focus from the time the Arkansas Razorbacks woke up Sunday until kickoff this Saturday in Fayetteville.

No doubt the No. 12 Rebels will be gunning for the Hogs, and there will be no calling off the dogs. Media outlets in Mississippi are calling it revenge week and calling for the Rebs to crack the code.

Arkansas has beaten Ole Miss the past two seasons, a span in which the Rebels went 19-7 overall, including sweeps of arch rival Mississippi State, Alabama and Texas A&M. They also had wins at Auburn and over LSU.

They could have -- and should have -- beaten the Razorbacks last season, except for a lack of discipline that allowed the Henry Heave land in Hog Heaven instead of the loss column.

A quick recap: Ole Miss had used three running plays to take a 52-45 lead in overtime. A delay of game and sack pushed the Hogs back to the 40, where after an incompletion they faced fourth and 25.

Hunter Henry, the last option on the fourth-down play, caught a pass 11 yards short of the first down but had the smarts to heave the football backward, making it a live ball.

Dan Skipper tipped it; Alex Collins fielded it like it was a bounce pass from Dusty Hannahs; Collins juked and cut for a first down, but he didn't know the Razorbacks could get a first down, so he put the ball on the ground; and Dominique Reed recovered at the Ole Miss 11.

After a 2-yard run by Kody Walker, quarterback Brandon Allen passed for 9 yards to Drew Morgan for a touchdown, and Bret Bielema already had made up his mind, no more overtimes, not on the road in front of a very hostile crowd.

It appeared the Hogs were stopped on the two-point conversion as the Ole Miss sideline, including Coach Hugh Freeze, celebrated. Who could blame them, or the instant silence when they saw the yellow flag.

Face mask on the Rebels.

Allen, who threw six touchdown passes, then carved his initials into the history books when he bulled into the end zone for two points and the 53-52 win.

Ole Miss had a week to recover and closed the season with wins over LSU, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.

But the loss to Arkansas proved bigger than expected.

It was the Rebels' second conference loss, and as it turned out, beating Arkansas would have given them a tie for the SEC West, and they owned the tiebreaker with a victory over Alabama.

The Rebels would have played for the SEC championship instead of the Crimson Tide, who went on to win the national championship.

Ole Miss wants this game, and that's part of the reason it wasn't a surprise that immediately after it hit the news that Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly had to be restrained at his brother's high school football game last week that Freeze said Kelly would play this weekend.

In last year's game, Kelly lit the Hogs up for 368 yards and 3 touchdowns on 24 of 34. For good measure, he added 110 yards rushing and three more touchdowns.

Kelly, who is most likely a first-round NFL pick in the next draft, has completed 115 of 174 passes for 1,596 yards and 13 touchdowns while rushing for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Dual-threat quarterbacks have presented the Razorbacks defense with problems again this season, and he and the Rebels have had an extra week to prepare for this game.

It can be called revenge week, break-the-code time or whatever. The truth is that game in Oxford last season was a huge loss for the Ole Miss Rebels, and they haven't forgotten.

Sports on 10/12/2016