In a week where exactly zero of the focus on the Ole Miss side leading up to Saturday was on the game, the Rebels got handed a 42-27 loss on the road at Arkansas. It was a tough pill to swallow, as they were down 42-6 at one point, and the game never really felt like any other outcome was even a remote possibility. Arkansas came ready to play, and Ole Miss didn’t.

Let’s take a dive into what happened and the two people most to blame for Ole Miss’ 42-27 loss at Arkansas.

2. Chris Partridge

A week after calling one of his best games as defensive coordinator against Alabama, first-year play caller Chris Partridge followed it up with one of his worst. 456 yards of total offense is not something that you want to see, neither is a running back with 200+ yards and three touchdowns. It doesn’t matter that his own offense had 701 yards of total offense and two running backs over 200 yards rushing, the defense still gave up 42 points.

On the broadcast, Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman was grabbed for a quick interview in the first half, and he said they had pretty much figured out the Ole Miss defense in the first quarter. Combining that with my own eyes, no adjustments had been made on the Ole Miss defense. The second half was much better, allowing only 7 points compared to 35 in the first half, but by then the game was out of hand anyway.

1. Lane Kiffin

Let’s get the elephant in the room noticed by everyone here. All week, there’s been speculation about Lane Kiffin and the vacant head coaching position at Auburn. Auburn reporters have heard things, Ole Miss reporters have heard things, it doesn’t really matter how much of it is accurate right now. What matters is that Kiffin’s players at Ole Miss absolutely saw it. They heard it. They let it sit on their minds.

What Kiffin may or may not have told them is up for debate between other people. The rumors all week took his players’ minds off the game at hand. This was an Arkansas team playing for bowl eligibility, and they had their minds switched on for the full seven days leading up to this game. Ole Miss didn’t.

It is incredibly difficult to win in the SEC if you’re not fully focused, and the Rebs weren’t. Blame for that lies squarely at the feet of Lane Kiffin. Whether he’s parlaying Auburn’s interest in him into a better deal and more NIL commitment from Ole Miss, or whether he actually plans on taking the Auburn job doesn’t matter, because it’s affecting his locker room right now.

There’s going to have to come a point this week where Kiffin makes a firm decision one way or the other, lest this spill over into the Egg Bowl and history repeat itself. The last thing Ole Miss fans would accept is a loss on Thanksgiving to Mississippi State.

Reports suggest Ole Miss has placed an offer on his desk with a base salary of $9.5 million and incentives that put him in the range of $11 million. That’s in the top five in the country for head coaching salary. Reports also suggest Ole Miss’ NIL collective has somewhere between $6 million and $7 million on hand to spend on football for the 2023 season. We’ll just have to see if both of those things are enough to keep him around.