Arkansas entered the game with a 9-1 record and #3 national ranking. Ole Miss, led by Johnny Vaught, entered at 7-3. The two neighboring states had developed a rivalry, with a yearly series ending in 1961. The two clubs also met in the 1963 Sugar Bowl.
The Razorbacks were making a return trip to the Sugar Bowl, following up a victory in the 1969 Sugar Bowl. Starting 9-0, the Razorbacks ended the regular season with a loss to the Texas Longhorns in The Game of the Century. This loss to the #1 Longhorns cost the Hogs a SWC Championship and a chance at the national championship.
Ole Miss running back Bo Bowen scampered 69 yards to open the scoring, with Archie Manning adding another 18-yard TD run. Down 14-0, Arkansas responded with a 12-yard TD run by Bill Burnett, but the extra point was missed, and after a Rebel field goal and Archie Manning 30-yard TD strike, were down 24-6. Before halftime, Chuck Dicus hauled in a 47-yard pass from Bill Montgomery, but the two-point conversion was incomplete, and the Rebels took a 24-12 halftime lead.
The third quarter produced a field goal from each team, and in the fourth quarter fullback Bruce Maxwell caught a six-yard strike from Montgomery to cut the lead to five, but the rally fell short, the Hogs losing by a 27-22 final.
Though Archie Manning's sons Peyton and Eli later became star quarterbacks in the SEC, neither played in the Sugar Bowl.