Rebs not looking past underdog Ark. State
By By Joey Vaughn / special to The Star
Oct. 12, 2002
OXFORD Arkansas State presents one last non-conference roadblock for No. 25 Ole Miss Saturday before the Rebels enter a grueling six-game Southeastern Conference season-ending stretch.
David Cutcliffe's challenge this week has been to bring his team off Cloud Nine after beating Florida and get them ready to face a team the Rebs are used to beating.
Cutcliffe hopes to tap into that proximity to keep his players heads in the game. It'll help that the Indians have won three straight and come into the contest at 4-3.
Arkansas State has struggled offensively this year, ranking in the 100s nationally in scoring offense, total offense and passing. The Indians are led on the ground by Danny Smith, a senior who averages 86.7 rushing yards per game. Elliot Jacobs is 69 of 138 through the air this year for 932 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Although Arkansas State has surrendered 30.3 points per game, Cutcliffe says they've got talent.
They're some tough experiences and have gotten better. You can certainly see
that they can move their feet, and a lot of explosion and speed on defense."
One of Ole Miss' main goals will be to reestablish the running game. After
starting the season well, the Rebs have not consistently run the ball, hitting a low last week with 37 net yards against Florida. If Ole Miss is to be successful down the SEC stretch, those numbers won't cut it. Cutcliffe said no one factor has kept his squad from running consistently.
opponent credit, that's part of it. You just have to be truly fundamentally sound to be successful against real good football players. Whether it's steps, base, footwork, body angles, hand placement, or hat placement. It's not any little one thing. You just say fundamentally we have to be as sound as we can possibly be against real good players. Assignment wise, you can't afford not to be correct 100 percent of the time. All it takes is one breakdown."
Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. There will be no television coverage.