By: Doran Grieshaber, Sports Writer
The Missouri Tigers football team traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas this past Friday to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in their annual “Battle Line Rivalry”. Mizzou was looking for their sixth win in a row to close out a regular season in which they had started with a miserable 1-5 record. The Tigers kept their winning streak alive with a late-game comeback, and quarterback Drew Lock also made Southeastern Conference history during the game.
Mizzou found themselves in a hole early against Arkansas, who came into the game with a record of 4-7. At the end of the first quarter, the Razorbacks found themselves up 21-7 with two touchdowns from quarterback Austin Allen and a 16-yard run by running back David Williams. Mizzou’s one touchdown came from senior running back Ish Witter when he pushed through a one-yard run on the goal line. The Tigers came back in the second quarter, as Drew Lock caught fire and threw three touchdown passes, along with a field goal from kicker Tucker McCann. Arkansas added another touchdown as well to make the score 31-28 in Mizzou’s favor at halftime. The only score in the third quarter was a 28-yard run by Arkansas running back Devwah Whaley. The two teams battled back and forth in an exciting fourth quarter which was started by Drew Lock’s fourth touchdown pass of the game. Austin Allen countered Lock with a 24-yard pass of his own to retake the lead for Arkansas. Lock threw his fifth touchdown pass to give the Tigers a 45-42 lead with eight minutes remaining in the game. Arkansas kicked a field goal to tie it up with five minutes left, but this proved to give Mizzou too much time to drive down the field and win. Lock helped drive the team down the field with a few key passes, and Ish Witter gave the team some crucial first downs to allow Mizzou to kill the clock while also getting into field goal range. With five seconds remaining in the game, kicker Tucker McCann made a 19-yard field goal to win the game, 48-45. Drew Lock ended up with five touchdowns and 448 yards in the game. His touchdowns also gave him sole possession of the SEC passing touchdown record. The Tigers’ leading receiver was J’Mon Moore, who had 10 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. Ish Witter was the leading rusher, with 170 yards and a touchdown. Witter also racked up 39 total carries, the most of his career.
Mizzou now waits to see what bowl game they will be selected to play in, while Arkansas’ season is now over. The Razorbacks finished the season at 4-8, and fired head coach Bret Bielema moments after the loss. Mizzou is the first team in SEC history to finish at 4-4 in the conference after starting out 0-4, and finished tied with Kentucky for third in the SEC East. After starting the season 1-5, ending with a bowl win and a record of 8-5 would be a dream come true for the Tigers and second-year head coach Barry Odom. Mizzou will hope to carry the momentum into next season, as with all of the coaching turmoil currently happening in the conference, they could have a chance to reestablish themselves as one of the top teams in the SEC.