By Harrison Vapnek
COLUMBIA — Missouri and Arkansas’ Battle Line Rivalry has met every year since 2014, but fans had never seen as wild of a finish as the one on Saturday in Columbia.
Missouri (5-3) rallied back to defeat Arkansas (3-6), 50-48, on a Harrison Mevis game-winning 32-yard field goal with no time remaining to win their third straight game and sixth straight victory against Arkansas.
“What a tribute to our seniors on Senior Day,” Missouri head coach Eliah Drinkwitz said after the game. “It is all about finding a way to win and we did that today.”
Missouri started out strong, jumping to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter after a Larry Rountree III wildcat TD run. Arkansas answered back with a KJ Jefferson TD pass to Blake Kern to cut the lead to 10-6.
The turning point of the first half was when, the game tied at 20, Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton was called for targeting on a hit on Arkansas WR JD White. The targeting resulted in Bolton getting ejected from the game and Arkansas scoring seven plays later on a Jefferson quarterback sneak to give the Razorbacks their first lead going into the locker room, 27-20.
“I think it’s the right call based on what the definition of targeting is,” Drinkwitz said. “There was no intent to harm by Nick, he just got caught in that scenario and they reviewed the penalty and upheld it and that means it was. It’s just adversity and so we have to face it and handle it.”
Arkansas ran the ball well in the second half, led by their junior RB Trelon Smith, who ran for 172 yards and 3 TD, including one early in the fourth quarter to give Arkansas a two-score lead.
Down 14 with 12:41 remaining, Tyler Badie broke free for a 46-yard TD run to put the Tigers back within a score. After a defensive stop, Missouri was able to tie the game on an 8-play, 82-yard drive capped off by Badie’s second TD of the quarter.
Tied with 6:13 to go, Mizzou marched right down the field in just four plays capped off by Larry Rountree III’s third TD of the game, to take the Tigers’ first lead since the 3:39 mark of the second quarter.
“Me and [Tyler] Badie complement each other well and coming on and off the field we talk to each other and it just shows that the run game is consistent, and we can rely on it when we need to,” Rountree III said.
Arkansas then went 13 plays in 75 yards, including converting two third downs and a fourth-and-one, ending on a TD pass from Jefferson to Mike Woods. After calling a timeout, Arkansas elected to go for a two-point conversion in which Jefferson rolled left, back pedaled, and threw a floating pass into the end zone that was deflected by Missouri’s Jamal Brooks right into the hands of Mike Woods to give Arkansas a 48-47 lead with 43 seconds remaining.
With the game on the line, Connor Bazelak and the offense moved the ball 60 yards in just seven plays, including a critical 18-yard completion to Barrett Banister, to set up Mevis at the 15-yard line for the winner.
“I was just trying to stay calm like always,” Bazelak said about the last drive. “It doesn’t matter about the stats or anything, I just need 40 seconds, three timeouts to get a field goal and go win the game.”
Arkansas will look to pull off an incredible upset next Saturday at home against No. 1 Alabama, as Missouri will have the chance to win their fourth-straight SEC game, hosting Georgia. You can hear the game right here on KCOU 88.1 FM.
Edited by Emma Moloney