Brandon Allen threw his sixth touchdown pass and then ran for a 2-point conversion to lead Arkansas to an improbable 53-52 overtime win over No. 19 Mississippi on Saturday.
Arkansas (5-4, 3-2) pulled off the victory thanks to two wild plays in overtime that left Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in stunned silence – except for jubilant Arkansas players and coaches who flooded the field in the aftermath.
The Razorbacks kept the game alive on fourth-and-25 when Allen completed a pass to Hunter Henry, who flung the ball backward and Alex Collins picked it up on the bounce and then ran it for a 31-yard gain. He fumbled at the end of the play but teammate Dominique Reed recovered.
After Arkansas scored its overtime touchdown, its first attempt at the 2-point conversion failed but Ole Miss’ Marquis Haynes was called for a face mask penalty which gave the Razorbacks another chance.
Allen threw for a career-high 442 yards and then added the 2-point conversion at the end for good measure, leaping over an Ole Miss defender and into the end zone for the game-winner.
“I’ve never had a game like this before,” Allen said.
Ole Miss (7-3, 4-2) lost despite three passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns by Chad Kelly.
Even before that play, it was a crazy game that featured eight straight scoring drives at one point. Arkansas finished with 605 total yards and Ole Miss had 590.
Arkansas has built its reputation as a power running team, but was very good through the air against the Rebels.
The Razorbacks have thrown more than usual this year – Allen came into the game as the league’s third-leading passer – but they really kicked it up a notch against a flat-footed Ole Miss secondary.
Allen was nearly flawless in the first two quarters, completing 15 of 19 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Kelly was pretty good, too, with 142 yards passing and an 11-yard touchdown run.
Arkansas took a 17-14 lead with 43 seconds left in the first half on a 45-yard field goal by Cole Hedlund, but Ole Miss drove right down the field and – aided by an Arkansas pass interference penalty – responded with its own 37-yard field goal by Gary Wunderlich to tie it at 17.
The scoring continued in the third quarter with two touchdowns for each team. Kody Walker’s 3-yard touchdown run for Arkansas tied the game at 31 late in the third.
Ole Miss looked like it might take control when Kelly hit Quincy Adeboyejo for a 17-yard touchdown to give the Rebels a 45-38 lead with 4:55 remaining. But Arkansas responded with its own 17-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Reed with 53 seconds left to tie it at 45.
Ole Miss took a 52-45 lead on Kelly’s 8-yard touchdown in overtime, but it wasn’t enough. Kelly finished with 368 passing yards and a career-high 110 yards rushing.
Arkansas made the bold call to go for the conversion in the first overtime and it worked out, leading the Razorbacks to their second straight win in the series.
SOURCE: The Associated Press