Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 7, 2001
Is the game over? You know I’m referring to the Arkansas-Ole Miss game that lasted one game and seven overtimes last Saturday before the Razorbacks prevailed 58-56. It was an endurance test won by the Hogs, but it was also a game for the books for all time.
It came down to a lot of things, but mainly it came down to the solid work of backup Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones’ heady direction designed for overtime. A big, strong man, Jones kept his head and pressured Ole Miss’ defense with his calm execution and crisp running.
About the time I felt like I saw a little light for the Rebels, Arkansas fullback Mark Pierce broke the hour and 15-minute head-to-head battle when he fought into the end zone from two yards out. Mandatory two-point time once again, and Jones delivered when he hit Decori Birmingham past Ole Miss’ frantic defense.
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Eli Manning and Company time once again, No. 7. Eli was a record-setter himself for the Rebs, but in the end it was Doug Zeigler’s goal-line-minus two-yards effort for the possible tying points. Seemed like a shame, but they played until someone won. Arkansas kept hittin’ in there, Ole Miss finally miss hit.
Credit coach Houston Nutt’s team with having the wherewithal to hang in there. Eli’s school-record six touchdowns – five in the seven overtimes – was about as good as could have been done. Another career-high mark was the 312 passing yards he fashioned on a 27-for-42 night.
But the Razorbacks simply hung a little tougher in the war of two evenly-matched Southeastern Conference West Division teams (Actually, Ole Miss still leads Arkansas in the division, 2-2 to the Hogs’ 2-3). It required a 58-56, seven-overtime triumph to do it, but do it the Hogs did. Memorable game, that’s all.
Ole Miss has an open date before playing at home again, against Georgia. Ole Miss oughta be able to handle a week off. I believe one thing: Eli Manning is a star in the making.
Mississippi State meantime edged dangerous Kentucky 17-14, snapping a five-game losing streak. The Bulldogs ain’t through, no sir – not in my book, although Alabama may not be ripe for State’s second win in a row.
You know something, though, I have a hunch coach Jackie Sherrill’s Bullies will upset Alabama in Alabama this Saturday.
It’s fun to talk about college football in these United States, don’t you agree?! I like to yak about the game, although I realize readers so often disagree with my slant on different games and teams and players. Just fun we’re having, though. Agreed?
Quickly: How about LSU’s 35-21 slashing of Alabama? Watch them Tigers, now.
HURRIED HASH: Ann and James Huff are parents of a pretty famous son. The Natchez couple’s son Jimmy once pitched a perfect game while toiling for Belhaven College in 1963…Now the ultimate has happened for the fine athlete of yesteryear – he has been inducted into the Belhaven Athletic Hall of Fame. Congratulations, Jimmy, on your Oct. 26 HOF induction.
And I’m a little frizzy on something that happened for Harry Mullins recently: Harry, brother of Leroy, he of Ole Miss athletic manager’s fame, has also been inducted into the Belhaven College Athletic Hall of Fame, I’m told. If I don’t know anything else about the Mullins brothers, I know what great workers they’ve always been. Atta way, Natchez natives!
Hey, it’s good to be back in front of this old Underwood Five. Talkin’.
Glenvall Estes is a long-time columnist for The Natchez Democrat.