MISSOURI ENDS SEASON WITH BIG WIN AGAINST ARKANSAS
By Greg Gibson
On Friday, the Missouri Tigers (4-8, 2-6) closed out their 2016 season with a 28-24 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks (7-5, 3-5).
Missouri trailed 24-7 at the half, after a 1st half that saw the Tigers squander a pair of scoring opportunities.
But in the 2nd half, Missouri scored 21 unanswered points.
Missouri took the second-half opening kick-off and drove 63 yards on 9 plays, with Nate Strong taking it in from 2 yards out to pull the Tigers to within 24-14.
Arkansas kept the football for much of the remainder of the 3rd quarter, but with the Hogs facing third and goal from the 3-yard line, Aarion Penton blitzed from the outside and after he chased Austin Allen across the field, he got enough of him to force Allen's pass attempt to flutter into the hands of Cale Garrett at the goal line.
Backed up at their own 7-yard line, and facing fourth-and-seven, the Tigers executed a fake punt to perfection, with Anthony Sherrils picking up a first down at the Missouri 21-yard line.
That virtually desperate and surprising call and its perfect execution stoked the fire of momentum that was turning toward the Missouri side of the field.
"I thought it was important that we try to gain some momentum there," Coach Odom later explained. "When we lined up, they gave us the look that we wanted, and our guys did a great job of executing it."
Two plays later, after a completion to Dimetrios Mason had netted a first down at the Missouri 33-yard line, Drew Lock found Johnathon Johnson in stride running down the left seam for a 67-yard TD. Missouri had all the momentum, and trailed 21-24 with 2:07 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Arkansas went three-and-out, and Missouri had the football heading into the 4th quarter. The Tigers put together a 9-play 81-yard drive that resulted in a Nate Strong TD from 1 yard out. The big play on this drive was a 49-yard completion from Lock to J'Mon Moore on third-and-five from the Missouri 38-yard line. Missouri led 28-24 with 12:48 remaining.
From there, Missouri managed to hang on for the win, with the aid of 11 tackles-for-loss, including 4 sacks, and 4 more QB hurries. Marcell Frazier played a big role in harassing the Arkansas QB, as he finished with 4 TFLs, including 3 sacks, and also had a QB hurry.
Throw in a pair of interceptions, including the one by Garrett, and another big one by Penton in the end zone on a fourth-and-goal from the Missouri 5-yard line.
Drew Lock had one of his better days, 16-26-0 for 268 yards and 1 TD.
Moore played one of his better games, and finished with 6 receptions on 10 targets for 135 yards, to put himself over 1000 yards receiving for the season.
Strong played more extensively in this game, with 52 yards and 2 TDs rushing on 17 carries, more carries than he had all season coming into this game.
There was a lot to like about the way that Missouri bounced back in the 2nd half of this game, after nearly giving it away in the 1st half. There's also a lot to like about the young Missouri offense that will return 10-of-11 starters.
"I'm so glad that our seniors got to walk out of here with a win," said Odom.