The Missouri Tigers (6-5) look to keep their winning streak alive versus the Arkansas Razorbacks (4-7) this Friday. Kickoff is at 2:30 EST from Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The game can be found on CBS.
Arkansas football is in a state of turmoil. The only thing to look forward to is the potential arrival of current Auburn coach Gus Malzahn after Bret Bielema is fired.
QB Austin Allen has been anything but special this year in SEC play. He has only 49 completions combined in four conference games, and three touchdowns to two picks. Fellow QB Cole Kelley had been getting a lot of playing time too, but has near-matching numbers. Most of the offense they’ve found has come in the form of the running game.
RBs David Williams (5.5 YPC) and Chase Hayden (5.3) have come along as prime options on the ground behind Devwah Whaley, who has the most carries but less yards than Williams.
Missouri has a trio of reliable backs, with senior Ish Witter (822 yards, 6.2 YPC) leading the way. But that’s merely one-half of what has spiked the Missouri offense over the last month-plus.
The other reason is QB Drew Lock and his pair of big-time receivers. The quarterback has 38 touchdown passes, which leads all of college football. He’s not always as accurate (58%) as they come, but he is incredibly dangerous. Equally hazardous for opposing defenses are WRs J’Mon Moore (857 yards) and Emanuel Hall (22.8 YPR), who are incredible deep threats.
Missouri will be on the road, but will also be 11½-point favorites.
Missouri has been tearing it up the last five weeks. The Razorbacks are on the same level as some of those teams the Tigers have played. Given the fact they’ve outscored their opponents 260-83 in that span of time, they probably will keep on trucking despite earning their bowl eligibility last week.
They haven’t played in an environment over that stretch quite like the one they’ll face in Fayetteville, but it shouldn’t be much of a bother. Their offense is too in sync right now to get flustered by the crowd. They have 851 yards rushing in just the last three games. Lock has 21 passing touchdowns in the last five, and only three interceptions in that span.
The Razorbacks offense, one that used to churn up yardage on the ground and rely on Brandon Allen at QB, is no longer functioning accordingly. Austin Allen has not found his groove in his brother’s shoes, and the running game wasn’t even productive last week. 221 yards of total offense against Mississippi State shows just how far they’ve fallen, and how much Bielema needs to go.
Keep in mind, Missouri dominated Vanderbilt last week in the trenches, and did the same to Florida two weeks before that. They haven’t given up more than 17 points in a game in each of the last four matchups. They’ve forced seven turnovers over their last pair of contests, and are on a seven-game winning streak ATS.
Everything is working in their favor right now, and that’s nothing Arkansas’ 84th-ranked defense is going to stop.