The Missouri Tigers (5-6, 1-6) need a win to try and get bowl eligible as they travel to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks (6-5, 4-3) in a SEC matchup Friday afternoon. Missouri has won two of the three matchups between the schools since 2003; that includes a 21-14 win at home as a 2 point underdog on November 28, 2014 in the most recent matchup.
Missouri has dropped five of their last six games as they were knocked off 19-8 at home Saturday. Arkansas lost a heartbreaker as they were beaten 51-50 at home by Mississippi State in a wild shootout Saturday. Kickoff from Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas is scheduled for 2:30 pm ET and the game will be televised nationally on CBS. Arkansas is currently a 13.5 point favorite in this contest.
Missouri was held to 13 points or less for the sixth time this season as Tennessee shut them down and kept the Tigers off the scoreboard until the final quarter. The Tigers were outgained 337-223, lost the first down battle 19-10 and lost the time of possession battle 36:18 to 23:42 in the contest. In addition, Missouri committed a pair of turnovers and failed to record a takeaway in the loss. Field position played a major role in the game as Tennessee had four scoring drives, all of which ended in field goals, that covered 35, 36, 27 and 32 yards.
The Tigers are 111th in the nation in passing offense (173 yards per game) and 118th in rushing with an average of 117 yards per contest. Missouri is scoring only 14.1 points a game which is tied for last in the FBS but they are 7th in scoring defense as they allow 15.1 points per contest. The now dismissed Maty Mauk hit 51.8 percent of his throws for 654 yards with six touchdowns and four picks while adding 135 yards and a score on the ground. Drew Lock is hitting only 50.8 percent of his throws as a freshman (120 of 236) for 1,249 yards with four touchdowns and seven picks. Ish Witter leads the Tigers with 120 carries for 485 yards and a score as he’s filling in for the injured Russell Hansbrough, who has 106 carries for 422 yards plus a score. Nate Brown is tied for the team lead on the Tigers with 27 receptions for 326 yards and four scores while J’Mon Moore is tied with Brown with 27 grabs for 323 yards and three touchdowns; Sean Culkin chips in 16 catches for 139 yards and a score while Witter has 15 receptions out of the backfield. Andrew Baggett has hit all 15 extra point attempts and 15 of 19 field goals this season with a long of 41 yards.
Arkansas had a chance late in their shootout loss but had a field goal attempt that could have given them the lead with just over a minute to play blocked. The Razorbacks led 42-31 after three quarters but couldn’t hold on to the lead. Arkansas was outgained 631-479 and gave up 32 first downs while picking up 24. The Razorbacks did win the time of possession battle 32:09 to 27:51 and forced three Mississippi State turnovers while not committing one themselves. Brandon Allen tossed seven touchdowns passes in a losing effort.
The Razorbacks are 29th in the nation in passing offense (279 yards) while they are 42nd in the nation when it comes to running the ball (191.2 yards) per contest. Arkansas averages 35.8 points per game while they are currently 87th in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 30 points per contest. Brandon Allen is the quarterback; he has hit 213 of 327 passes for 3,023 yards with 29 touchdowns and six interceptions while ranking fourth on the team with 118 yards plus a score on the ground. The Razorbacks do miss Johnathan Williams, who was the yin to Alex Collins’ (218 carries, 1262 yards, 14 TD) yang; Rawleigh Williams (56 carries, 254 yards, TD) and Kody Walker (65 carries, 261 yards, 4 TD) are next in line. Drew Morgan leads Arkansas with 52 receptions for 723 yards and 10 touchdowns; Hunter Henry (44 grabs, 619 yards, 3 TD) and Jeremy Sprinkle (23 catches, 308 yards, 5 TD) are other prime time targets for the Razorbacks to work with. Cole Hedlund has hit all 48 extra points and 8 of 13 field goal attempts on the year with a long of 45 yards.
Arkansas is 7-1 ATS in their last eight after allowing at least 280 yards through the air, 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games, 7-2 ATS in their last nine after an ATS loss, 8-3 ATS in their last 11 after a straight up loss and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 in November. Missouri is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 overall, 1-4 ATS in their last five conference games, 0-4 ATS in their last four on fieldturf, 0-8 ATS in their last eight after scoring less than 20 points and 0-5 ATS in their last five after throwing for less than 170 yards.
The Tigers have really struggled this season on the offensive side of the ball and this could well be the finale for Gary Pinkel if they don’t get the win. Arkansas put together a great performance against Mississippi State but came up a point short in a shootout. Don’t expect that sort of issue here; Missouri’s defense keeps it closer than it rightfully should be but Arkansas is the better team and gets the win.