FAYETTEVILLE – Ole Miss Rebels quarterback Matt Corral arrived in Fayetteville as the national leader in total offense.
He departed Saturday lamenting he’s likely the 2020 national leader for throwing the most interceptions in a game.
Arkansas intercepted six Corral passes and corralled Corral’s fourth down fumble on one of two successful Arkansas goal-line stands while rejecting the Rebels 33-21 in Saturday’s SEC West game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom’s crew frustrated last week’s nation’s hottest quarterback just as it did in its earlier, 21-14 victory over Mississippi State frustrating MSU quarterback K.J. Costello for first-year Coach Sam Pittman’s Razorbacks the week after Costello threw for 623 yards upsetting 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 obviously being able to get it done as well. Barry Odom is awesome.”
Arkansas, 2-2 with a bye week buffering the Oct. 31 game at Texas A&M in this entirely SEC 10-game season, logged three interceptions alone from redshirt freshman walk-on become starting cornerback Hudson Clark, another by nickel back Greg Brooks and two pick sixes, the first returned for a 35-yard TD by safety Jalen Catalon during the second quarter of Arkansas’ 20-0 first half following Catalon corralling Corral’s first-quarter fumble at the Arkansas five losing four on fourth and goal at the one.
The Razorbacks’ fifth pick, by Grant Morgan, the fifth-year senior linebacker from Greenwood, 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 fellow starting linebacker Bumper Pool, Morgan logged a career high 19 tackles, one a sack, and also broke up two passes helping frustrate an Ole Miss offense that only the previous week amassed 647 yards and 48 points losing a wild, 63-48 game to nationally No. 2 Alabama.
Since injuring his elbow in the season’s second game, Morgan has practically played one-armed, not even practicing during the weeks before playing the last two games 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 recalling older brother and former Razorbacks 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, Razorbacks sophomore receiver Treylon Burks of Warren, too injured to play in last week’s controversial, 30-28 loss at Auburn, helped doom Coach Lane Kiffin’s Rebels to a 1-3 start. Burks caught 11 Feleipe Franks passes for 137 yards, the longest catch of 55 yards on Arkansas’ first touchdown drive that had stalled until Ole Miss ran into Razorbacks punter Reid Bauer for an Arkansas first down, and tallied a highlight reel third and one 7-yard touchdown catch basically one-handed deftly staying inbounds 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, 4 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 spoiling Ole Miss’ first possession.
Aided by the running into the kicker penalty, Arkansas drove 95 yards scoring on Rakeem Boyd’s 1-yard run, the Razorbacks first rushing touchdown 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 only scored once, denied again on fourth and goal from the Arkansas one in their second-half opening drive before scoring at 4:35 on Corral’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Moore.
As Arkansas’ offense sputtered against an Ole Miss defense gashed for 700-plus yards by Alabama, the previous week, Corral’s second TD pass drew the Rebels to down only, 20-14.
Burks’ touchdown catch, followed by a failed 2-point conversion attempt, appeared to have the Hogs headed home victorious with Ole Miss forced to punt on fourth and 10 from its 27.
Except the Rebels didn’t punt. Instead of the punter, Mono Sanogo stunned Arkansas running 47 yards. Running back Jerrion Early, 23 carries for 112 yards, tallied the 1-yard touchdown at 5:30.
The Rebels defense got the ball one last time until Morgan took it and the game.
“I told the team, if I’m a running back I might be a little bit worried about it,” Pittman said of Morgan’s pick-six. “Because Morgan, he took that back to the house.”