LITTLE ROCK, Ark.— Dennis Johnson did his best to will Arkansas’ rally on Saturday.
Even the running back’s career-best 161 yards rushing and late game-tying touchdown weren’t enough, however, for the Razorbacks to avoid a 30-27 defeat to Mississippi.
The loss put a halt to a two-game winning streak and left Arkansas (3-5, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) once again searching for answers in its first season after former coach Bobby Petrino’s firing in April.
The Razorbacks were a preseason Top-10 pick before plummeting from the rankings after a loss in War Memorial Stadium to Louisiana-Monroe, a setback that started a four-game losing streak. They rebounded in recent weeks with wins over Auburn and Kentucky, but Rebels kicker Bryson Rose hit a 31-yard field goal as time expired Saturday to bring that streak to a halt.
The kick came minutes after Johnson tied the game at 27-27 and left the Razorbacks once again searching for answers to their season-long slide.
“We fought back and battled, battled and battled,” Arkansas interim coach John L. Smith said. “We just didn’t make quite enough plays.”
While the Razorbacks’ free fall continued, Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2) continued its rebirth after finishing a combined 1-15 in the SEC the last two seasons. The Rebels rebounded from an early 10-point deficit Saturday — thanks in large part to quarterback Bo Wallace — and closed in on the school’s first bowl berth since 2009.
The win is Ole Miss’ second straight in the SEC after snapping a 16-game losing streak against Auburn.
Arkansas outgained the Rebels 464-355 in total yardage, and Wilson finished 24 of 43 passing for 297 yards, but it couldn’t stop Ole Miss when it needed to the most.
“We still have a lot of games to play, and there’s a lot this team can accomplish and salvage," Wilson said. "I think we can do it. We're getting better; we just have to do the little things right.”