Missouri closed out its regular season with its fourth straight win against Arkansas, retaining the Battle Line trophy and improving to 8-3 in the all-time series with a 24-14 win against the Razorbacks.
The Tigers entered the game after receiving some disappointing news from the NCAA, which denied the school’s appeal for postseason eligibility thereby eliminating the chances for Friday’s win — its sixth of the season — to punch a team’s ticket to a bowl game. That didn’t stop Barry Odom’s squad from bringing the fight to Arkansas, a team that has its own ongoing saga off the field following the dismissal of coach Chad Morris earlier this month.
Neither team’s offense was particularly dominant in the affair, but the best unit on the field was unquestionably the Missouri defense. Arkansas was limited to just 242 total yards of offense and 4 of 13 on third down attempts, which helped considering the Tigers were without starting quarterback Kelly Bryant. Things got even worse for Missouri at the quarterback position when Connor Bazelak, starting in Bryant’s absence, suffered a knee injury and had to be replaced by Tyler Powell. Powell completed 8 of 14 passes for 105 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the win as the offense leaned heavily on Larry Rountree III and the ground game to move the ball.
While Missouri won’t get a chance to go to a bowl game, the win was big for Barry Odom as affirmation for the work that the team put in this week. The NCAA ruling and multiple injuries could have easily squashed the Tigers’ competitiveness, but responding with a win to go 6-6 on the year is a good sign for the big-picture direction of the program.