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Nothing worked for then-No. 8 Arkansas at No. 2 Georgia last week in the humbling 37-0 loss.
The Razorbacks were not all quite awake for the 11 a.m. kickoff at 92,746-seat Sanford Stadium as the Bulldogs took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, and the top 10 pairing that ESPN’s College GameDay visited was over.
No. 13 Arkansas (3-2, 1-1 SEC) has another 11 a.m. kickoff on ESPN Saturday at No. 17 Ole Miss (3-1, 0-1), which is coming off getting humbled a week ago as well as it fell, 42-21, at No. 1 Alabama. Vaught-Hemingway seats only 64,038, but it can very loud, too.
“I think everybody saw – we just weren’t ready for the grand stage yet,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “And that’s all of us. The College GameDay atmosphere, the 93,000. There were a lot of kids after the game who said it was the loudest crowd. They had never been in anything like that before.”
Pittman and staff had tried to simulate the crowd noise during practice the previous week with sound piped in. That didn’t work.
“Obviously, we didn’t have it turned up loud enough,” he said.
Where is that 11 on the dial when you need it, courtesy of the 1984 rock classic spoof “This Is Spinal Tap”?
“It’s not 10,” Spinal Tap lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel, played by Christopher George, explains to the documentarian, who was not Ken Burns, while showcasing a new amplifier. “What we do, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Eleven, exactly. One louder.”
Or you could just make 10 louder, Tufnel was told.
“These go to 11,” Tufnel said.
Arkansas needed about a 15, maybe.
“This is going to be a big stage, too,” Pittman said. “Just trying to learn from the experience we just went through. We’re still thinking about what we might do on Saturday to change that up.”
Eliminating penalties will be a start. Arkansas had 13 for 101 yards and committed false starts on its first two plays from scrimmage. The Hogs faced a first-and-20, soon a third-and-24, and that’s about how it went the rest of the day.
“I know it intimidated us, and part of it was because of the crowd. Certainly, it had something to do with the false starts,” Pittman said.
“It really hurt our pride. It didn’t hurt us physically. Georgia’s in the past. We’re moving on to Ole Miss,” said wide receiver Treylon Burks, who had three catches for 10 yards.
“We’ve got to get the Georgia bad taste out of our mouth,” said sophomore quarterback K.J. Jefferson, who threw for just 65 yards and ran five on eight carries around four sacks. “We’re just putting them in the past and moving forward.”
Jefferson will feel more at home at least. He is from Sardis, Mississippi — 29 miles west of Oxford.
“Feeling pumped. Got a lot of family members coming to the game to watch me play that have never been to a game,” he said.
“We’re onto Ole Miss,” linebacker Bumper Pool said. “All spirits are high. We’re ready to go to Oxford. We both have a lot to play for.”
And Arkansas did collect six interceptions from Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral in a 33-21 home win last year, and all four players who had interceptions are back.
Sophomore cornerback Hudson Clark had three, while sophomore strong safety Jalen Catalon, junior cornerback Greg Brooks Jr. and senior middle linebacker Grant Morgan each had one. Catalon returned his 35 yards for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead in the second quarter, and Brooks iced the game with a 23-yard pick six for the 33-21 lead with 5:30 to go.
Otherwise, Corral completed 20 of 38 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin liked the drop-eight pass defense of Arkansas so much, he switched to it.
“We’re looking for his best effort,” Pittman said of Corral. “But he’ll probably have a little bit more on this one because of last year.”
Maybe up to 11.