Rebels defense hopes to slow hard-running Hogs
By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
Oct. 21, 2003
OXFORD A vastly improved Ole Miss defense will face its biggest challenge thus far on Saturday when it matches up against the Southeastern Conference's best rushing attack.
Led by offensive tackle Shawn Andrews, Arkansas has averaged an incredible 225 rushing yards per game more than 20 yards better than anyone else in the SEC.
Andrews, a 6-foot-5, 371-pound junior, anchors an offensive line that has helped running back Cedric Cobbs pile up 728 yards for the 4-2 Razorbacks.
Facing the second high-profile running back in as many weeks, the Rebels hope to contain Cobbs as well as they did Alabama's Shaud Williams. Williams, the league's top rusher, was held to only 63 yards on 18 carries against Ole Miss on Saturday.
Both the Rebels' running prowess and their ability to defend the run have improved this season. In 2002, Ole Miss opponents gained an average of 160 yards per game by running the football. This year, the Rebels have given up only 87 per game.
The league's worst rushing offense a year ago, in their first seven game,s the Rebels have already eclipsed last year's total rushing yardage.
The resurgence has Ole Miss running the ball better than it has in years, according to Cutcliffe.
That in turn has made the job much easier for quarterback Eli Manning, the SEC's leading passer.
Cutcliffe knows that duel threat will be key in the Rebels are to remain undefeated in league play.