An amazing crowd on an awful day saw a 1-5 University of Arkansas team lose to Ole Miss 37-33 when the Rebels drove 97 yards in just 1:20 on seven plays.
At one time, the Razorbacks -- dressed in their Ball State uniforms -- led 27-10, but the offense was taking too many hits.
The Hogs lost starting tailback Rakeem Boyd when they were leading 17-10. When Boyd went down, he had 109 yards on seven carries. He had not been tackled for a loss.
They lost his backup Devwah Whaley when they led 30-24. Whaley had 67 yards on 12 carries.
Then leading 33-24, the Razorbacks took the hit that cost them the game. That's not an excuse, just a statement of fact.
That was when starting quarterback Ty Storey was knocked out of the game for good on a vicious, but legal, hit. He was 12-of-16 passing for 122 yards and a touchdown, plus he had rushed 9 times for 70 yards. He was managing the game.
The junior quarterback got slobber-knocked to get 2 extra yards and a first down. After several seconds, he got up, took a couple of steps and went down again. He is in concussion protocol, and his status for Saturday is up in the air.
That drive ended up netting another 23 yards, and the next drive did the same.
Meanwhile, the Rebels were running wild.
They needed 2:54 to drive 84 yards in 10 plays, then the game-winning drive happened so fast it was almost unbelievable.
It was an all-too-familiar sight for the Razorbacks Nation. Since 2012, the Hogs have blown 15 games in which they led by 10 or more points. The Razorbacks have lost 49 total games in that span. Alabama has lost eight games total since 2012.
As for Saturday, take nothing away from the Rebels. They had 611 yards of offense, and quarterback Jordan Ta'amu threw for 387 yards and ran for a game-high 141 yards.
His 528 yards topped Arkansas' team total of 476 by 52 yards.
And yet, if Boyd or Whaley and Storey hadn't been knocked out of the game, chances are the Razorbacks would have been celebrating in the rain Saturday night.
Most of the brave and loyal crowd stayed around to see it. They came to see the new beginning. The second half of the season was going to be better than the first half, and in a few weeks there might even be talk of a bowl game.
Now there are just more questions about pressure, missed tackles and missed assignments. Discussions of play calling have gone to a new level after the Razorbacks ran 48 times and passed just 22. Not that they weren't successful on the ground -- they rushed for 299 yards, an average of 6.2 yards per carry -- but that's not left lane, hammer down.
The stats look odd when Cole Kelley has more runs, seven, than passes attempted, five. His running packages used to be called "Steamboat," not "Jet Ski."
Obviously, a small percentage of what is happening now is the current staff's fault. The majority of the problems came from Bret Bielema's lack of understanding about the need for speed.
It was as obvious as the rain that Ole Miss was faster at every position.
Chad Morris knows he needs speed, and he's recruiting it as fast as he can. In fact, he's recruiting as hard as anyone has in the history of Arkansas football.
If all the commitments sign, the Razorbacks are on track to have the No. 17 class in the country. Although that is No. 8 in the SEC, it is still an improvement, and they are going to sign as many as seven more.
The first step in protecting leads is don't get outrun.
Sports on 10/16/2018
Print Headline: Ole Miss too fast for banged-up Arkansas