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Rebels meet Hogs in Southeastern Conference clash

Ole Miss will travel to Little Rock, Ark., this Saturday to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in a Southeastern Conference clash with bowl implications for both teams.
Phillip Waller/The Daily Mississippian

 
Heading into year one in the Hugh Freeze era, there were relatively low expectations for the play on the field, but coming off their bye week, the Ole Miss Rebels (4-3, 1-2 SEC) will make the trip to Little Rock, Ark., to face the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-4, 2-2 SEC), as they look to take another step forward in their quest to become bowl eligible. 
 
This weekend’s matchup will be the 59th meeting between the two teams, with Arkansas leading the overall series 31-26-1. However, the Rebels hold the advantage in Little Rock with a 7-6-1 record in War Memorial Stadium.
 
“We’re very excited about coming off of the open week,” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said in his weekly press conference Monday. “We’re trying to go get ready to play Arkansas in Little Rock. We’re just excited to get back on the field. That is a place that is very difficult to play, and they’ve been very, very good there. They’re playing with great confidence right now. They’re coming off of two wins, both of which both sides of their ball and special teams played really well.”
 
The Rebels will be faced with a big test in trying to stop a high-powered Arkansas offense that is loaded with NFL-caliber weapons, including senior quarterback Tyler Wilson, who leads the SEC in passing yards per game (326.2 ypg), and senior wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, who leads in receiving yards per game (107.7 ypg).
 
“He can read coverages,” defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said of Wilson. “He can understand what you’re trying to do with your defense. He knows where to go with the ball, and he has great presence on the field. I don’t think he gets flustered.”
 
Arkansas, however, will be without senior linebackers Alonzo Highsmith and Tenarius Wright, who are out with injury. Highsmith led the team with 54 tackles and Wright added 28 of his own before being injured. Despite the losses, Freeze believes the Razorback defense will provide a tough test.
 
“Any time you lose leaders, there is some transition that happens,” Freeze said. “But they seem to have really rallied around each other in that time and no question they have improved the last few weeks.”
 
The Rebels will be led by sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace, who ranks eighth in the SEC in passing yards per game (195.9 ypg), and junior running back Jeff Scott, who ranks fourth in rushing yards per game in the SEC (93.7 ypg). 
 
Although the matchup appears favorable, offensive coordinator Dan Werner knows that adjustments will have to be made mid-game for the Rebels to continue to move the ball on offense.
 
“We always try to find things,” Werner said. “They are sound and well-coached, so it’s not like we say, ‘Hey, we know we are going to be able to do this.’ As the game flows, you hopefully run a few plays and see this guy is cheating this way, so we come back with something else, but it is a constant chess match during the game.”
 
The Rebels and Razorbacks will kick off Saturday at 11:21 a.m., and the game will be televised on the SEC Network. 
 
For continuing coverage of Ole Miss football, follow @thedm_sports and @SigNewton_2 on Twitter.