Arkansas passes 14th Ole Miss behind Sanders’ 3 touchdowns

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Quarterback KJ Jefferson has returned. So does Arkansas’ offensive firepower. But Rocket Sanders caught the eye.

Sanders rushed for 232 yards and three touchdowns, including a 68-yard rush in the second-half opener, in a 42-27 rout of No. 14 Ole Miss on Saturday night.

“He played extremely well,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “Any ball carrier who carries the ball 100, 150 yards, needs to have a break, most of the time he needs to have one or two that will be a pop from 30, 40 yards. Certainly, that’s what he (got) tonight.

The Razorbacks had a 35-6 halftime lead, and the Rebels’ 21 points in the fourth quarter made the game closer than it was.

Sanders averaged 9.7 yards on 24 carries, helping Arkansas (6-5, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) snap a two-game skid and become bowl-eligible. He gained 153 yards in the first half.

Jefferson returned from injury, passing 17 of 22 for 168 yards and three scores. Matt Landers added two touchdown receptions for the Hogs.

Ole Miss (8-3, 4-3, No. 14 CFP) moved the ball and had chances early. But holding penalties nullified two Jaxson Dart touchdown passes. The Rebels lost a fumble, were forced to settle for two field goals on promising drives and missed a field goal try.

“Very disheartening, obviously,” coach Lane Kiffin said. “I didn’t feel like we were flat. We were moving the ball. We just played very badly in the red zone. Two touchdown passes called up and we didn’t tackle very well. It just shows you the value of turnovers. Give these guys credit. On senior night, they played very hard, ran the ball very well.

The Rebels had two 200-yard rushers — Quinshon Judkins (214) and Zach Evans (207) — but still trailed by 36 points at one point.

Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders completed a Dart pass, setting up Sanders’ 8-yard run just before halftime for the 35-6 cushion.

In the fourth, Judkins scored on a 1-yard run, Evans had a 48-yard touchdown, and Dart passed 13 yards to Malik Heath for a score. Dart passed 21 of 36 for 240 yards.

TAKE AWAY

Ole Miss: The Rebels were outclassed following a tough 30-24 loss to Alabama, but they can’t let the setback linger as bitter rival Mississippi State looms.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks looked like a different team, especially on offense, after being upset by Liberty and losing a close game to LSU.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY

Ole Miss will almost certainly fall out of the Top 25.

NEXT

Ole Miss: Hosts Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl on Friday.

Arkansas: visits Missouri on Saturday.

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This story has been corrected to show Mississippi is ranked 14th in the AP Top 25.

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