This season has been the tale of two halves for Mizzou. On October 15th, things couldn’t have looked worse. Five straight losses, needing a miracle to salvage the season…
And after 5 straight wins, the miracle isn’t over yet. Sitting at 6-5 Mizzou is bowl eligible and is looking to beef up their value by facing an Arkansas Razorbacks team that has been depleted with injuries and poor play all season.
MISSOURI- QB Drew Lock leads the SEC with 3,247 yards passing and leads the nation with 38 TD’s while only throwing 10 interceptions. He will be going up against an Arkansas team that places 12th in the conference in pass defense. Missouri has 3 receivers in top 10 in the SEC in receiving yards. Against a bad Arkansas defense, it’s safe to say they will receive a lot of touches. Mizzou averages almost 300 yards through the air per game while Arkansas only throws for 195 on average.
ARKANSAS – For the Razorbacks, the turn to senior Austin Allen. Allen was plagued with a shoulder injury causing him to miss 4 games this season. On the year he has 1114 yards passing with 8 TD’s and 4 interceptions. After leading the SEC in passing a year ago, one could argue that if healthy he would be having a similar year in terms of productions. Arkansas only returned one of their top wide-outs from a year ago in the form of Jared Cornelius, who was lost to an Achilles injury back in September. They face the Missouri defense which ranks 13th in pass defense, but a lack of weapons for Allen doesn’t give the Hogs much hope.
ADVANTAGE – MISSOURI
MISSOURI- Mizzou again leads the Razorbacks when it comes to offensive production in the run game. The lead tailback for the Tigers is Ish Witter who has 822 rushing yards on the season. He has eclipsed the 100 yard mark 3 times with one instance eclipsing 200. He has the chance to break 1000 yards with a good games against the Hogs and their bowl games coming up later this year. The Tigers also have RB Larry Rountree III who has been splitting carries with Witter the latter part of the year. He put up 151 yards rushing against Tennessee on November 11th. They will be going up against an Arkansas defense that has been shredded on the ground that ranks 11th in the SEC in rushing yards allowed this season.
ARKANSAS- The bread and butter of the Arkansas offense used to be a ground and pound run game that set up play action pass. This season it has been hard to find a solid run game causing the QB’s to take more chances downfield. Arkansas doesn’t have that typical main back, causing 2 RB’s to split most of the carries. David Williams and Devwah Whaley both have just over 500 yards rushing on the season with 6 TD’s. The Razorbacks only have 3 guys with 100 yard games this season. Against better opponents, this group hasn’t been able to find much running room, no thanks to a mediocre offensive line.
ADVANTAGE – MISSOURI
Looking at the numbers side by side, both defensive fronts are atrocious. Mizzou ranks last in the SEC with 423.4 yards allowed and the Razorbacks sit right behind them giving up 414.8. There isn’t much to say about it. If the Arkansas offense clicks, this could be a high scoring affair for both teams.
ADVANTAGE – TIE
4. SPECIAL TEAMS – KICKING
MISSOURI – Local kid Tucker McCann had a rough season for the Tigers in 2016 hitting only 6-12 on his field goal attempts, but has since turned it around going 12-14 so far on the season while going 44-46 on extra point attempts. His long so far this season has been 43 yards.
ARKANSAS – It started off pretty bad in the kicking department for the Hogs. After a terrible start Cole Hedlund was benched and Connor Limpert won the job. They seem to have struck gold with Limpert who has shown good signs since winning the job. He is 7-8 on field goal attempts and 27-28 on extra points. He doesn’t have as much of a sample size as McCann does but has shown he can do the job when called upon. He has a long of 48 yards.
ADVANTAGE – ARKANSAS
FINAL THOUGHTS – PREDICTION
This game seems to be one sided in my opinion. Missouri opens as a 9 point favorite on the road and for good reason. They have a dynamic offense going up against a mediocre defense. While the Mizzou defense isn’t any better, they will have a much easier task trying to keep the Arkansas offense at bay. In the end I think Missouri will be rolling early and Arkansas won’t have a chance to catch up. Drew Lock is going to have a field day against the Hogs secondary.
Missouri Tigers 38 – 17 Arkansas Razorbacks