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Smith Column: Mallett no longer the only threat for Arkansas

November 21, 2010

Danny P. Smith
Sports Editor

The Arkansas Razorbacks just know how to come into Mississippi and win an overtime game.
It was in 2001 when Arkansas visited Ole Miss in Oxford and earned a 58-56 win in seven extra frames.
On Saturday night, the Razorbacks found themselves locked into another OT battle, this time with the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
After MSU's Derek DePasquale kicked a 25-yard field goal to tie the game and forced free football viewing for the fans, the two teams battled through one overtime before Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to running back Knile Davis to complete a 38-31 victory at Davis-Wade Stadium.
"This is just a real tough team," Davis said about the character of the Hogs. "It goes all of the way back to summer. We were grinding when the camera was not there and nobody is watching. We won this game in the summer."
It was a great effort by the Bulldogs to rally from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to get the game even, but the Razorbacks had enough playmakers to pick up a Southeastern Conference win on the road.
"We grew up (on the road this year)," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "It's not easy that's for sure. I'm proud of our team and we just battled."
The Razorbacks have become one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the SEC now that they have a running game to go along with one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.
Davis rushed for 187 yards and went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
Mallett is going to get his yards through the air and had 305 yards against MSU, but when Davis adds his production for a total offense of 488, all I can do is borrow a word Petrino used in his postgame remarks, "wow."
Davis and Mallett are going to be a tough combination for the LSU Tigers to see and whoever Arkansas plays in a bowl game.
Even though the Bulldogs were never really out of the game, there was no way they could expect to come out on top giving up those kind of numbers.
The potential the Hogs have shown in their running game lately has been something I have heard about over the last several weeks.
When individuals asked my opinion on what MSU needed to do in order to beat Arkansas, the answer was simple. The Bulldogs couldn't concentrate solely on Mallett and let the Arkansas running game hurt them.
Well, it did.
The Bulldogs have to regroup in a hurry before playing their final regular season against the Rebels next week.
Ole Miss has a pretty decent running back themselves in Brandon Bolden and don't think the Rebels won't look at the Arkansas game film to see where the holes were.
MSU doesn't want to enter a bowl game on a three-game losing streak, but it could very well happen if the defense doesn't find a way to plug some holes that have been exposed in the last two games.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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