KJ Jefferson and Rocket Sanders are a deadly duo, and Arkansas showed them at their highest level on Saturday night.
They combined for over 400 yards and 6 touchdowns in a rout of Ole Miss, 42-27, as the Razorbacks clinched a bowl berth with their sixth win of the season.
Apart from a rough night on defense, Ole Miss had several costly errors, including 2 touchdowns in the first half that were called back on penalties. The Rebels couldn’t have written a worse script for Ole Miss. Arkansas, on the other hand, could not come up with a better plan and it already started in the first half.
After a punt on the first possession, Jefferson led Arkansas to 3 consecutive touchdown drives on 7, 8, and 7 plays as he started 14-for-18 passes for 164 yards and 3 touchdowns, including 2 touchdown passes to Matt Landers. Jefferson also added 6 carries for 51 yards.
Jefferson was limited by a shoulder injury in recent weeks and while playing in the loss to Liberty, Jefferson was ruled out against LSU and replaced by Malik Hornsby. With Jefferson back, the Arkansas offense delivered his best performance of the season.
The Razorbacks’ attack seems to be on all cylinders against Ole Miss. Arkansas scored 72 points in the last 2 halves against Ole Miss. The Razorbacks had 37 points after halftime last year in Oxford.
—???? @???????? (@FTBeard7) November 20, 2022
This is not kick-catch interference
From pee to the NFL
Just a horrible night for this SEC crew.
It’s the first quarter. pic.twitter.com/lf4zbEhrPF
— Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) November 20, 2022
Fans and media on both sides noticed multiple calls going in the direction of Arkansas as Ole Miss trailed 35-6 at halftime. That kind of play continued in the second half, because every time Ole Miss made a big play, a flag apparently came right behind.
Referees raise flags for Arkansas. Very friendly crew tonight. They are always welcome here.
— Josh Bertaccini (@RedZone921) November 20, 2022
At what level of football is this not pass interference? Come on man! pic.twitter.com/dL4QQLdn47
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) November 20, 2022
Rocket wasn’t the only Sanders to deliver a big play either, Drew also delivered a first half interception to stop Ole Miss’s offense.
Drew Sanders was wide open!!!! pic.twitter.com/5AZe275J68
— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) November 20, 2022
But just as Ole Miss was trying to get back on track, the second half seemed to get worse before it got going. The Rebels saw Rocket Sanders deliver a 68-yard touchdown run, his third of the game to increase his average per carry to 12.3 yards per rush. Then Quinshon fumbled Judkins on the next Ole Miss drive from his own 30-yard line, and Dwight McGlothern recovered.
By the time Judkins and Zach Evans scored touchdowns in the fourth quarter, it proved to be too little, too late. Even as impressive as Judkins’ scoring run was as it went 9 plays and covered 96 yards in 2:42.
It was Sanders, who joined Darren McFadden as the only 2 players in the past 25 seasons to rush for at least 200 yards and score 3 rushing touchdowns against a ranked opponent.