Corral leads Ole Miss past Arkansas 31-17 in an SEC opener

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Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral (2) passes against Arkansas during the first half of their NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Oxford, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

By CHRIS BURROWS Associated Press

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Matt Corral threw for 246 yards, including a pair of touchdown passes to Elijah Moore, and Mississippi defeated Arkansas 31-17 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams Saturday night.

Corral finished 16-of-24 passing, with Moore accounting for scoring receptions of 2 and 46 yards, as the Rebels (1-1, 1-0) rolled up 483 yards of offense. Scottie Phillips added a scoring runs of 1 and 26 yards and finished with a game-high 143 yards rushing. The defense had 13 tackles for loss, including three sacks, led by Jacquez Jones with 13 tackles.

Arkansas (1-1, 1-0) stayed within striking distance at 17-10 in the third quarter on a 69-yard fumble return for a touchdown from Kamren Curl. Quarterback Nick Starkel, who replaced Ben Hicks in the second half, had a 6-yard touchdown pass to Koilan Jackson in the final two minutes.


Arkansas: It was a disappointing continuation of SEC woes. The Razorbacks have lost 12 consecutive conference games and are 1-17 since November, 2016, the final season under former head coach Bret Bielema. The defense, highlighted by Curl’s brilliant individual play, wore out in the final quarter. The offense took a huge step backwards and had only one trip to the red zone while the issue was in doubt, capped by a 36-yard field goal by Connor Limpert.

Ole Miss: After closing last season with five consecutive SEC losses, winning the league opener was crucial. A roster filled with newcomers and underclassmen, along with two new coordinators – Rich Rodriguez on offense and Mike MacIntyre on defense – appears to be meshing as coach Matt Luke predicted. The new-look units may not be ready to challenge the SEC heavyweights yet, but the encouraging conference win indicates the Rebels are trending up in a drive for bowl eligibility.


Arkansas: The Razorbacks play the next three games at home, beginning with Colorado State on Saturday.

Ole Miss: The Rebels host Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday in the second game of a three-game home stand.