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Recap and Reflection: Hogs Handle Missouri 34-17 In Record Breaking Day

NCAA Football: Missouri at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Arkansas Razorbacks put away five years of misery behind themselves as they defeated Missouri for the first time since 2015.

Things started off well for the Razorbacks including a 49 yard run into the redzone by KJ Jefferson. Then, a false start by Dalton Wagner pushed the Hogs back before having to settle for a field goal to make it 3-0.

Rocket Sanders scored from one yard out in the second quarter to push the Razorbacks to a 10-3 lead.

How about the Razorback defense? Until a late fourth quarter Missouri touchdown drive they didn’t allow anything but three field goals.

Missouri has a special weapon at kicker with Harrison Mevis. His three made field goals were from 41, 46 and 49 yards.

The red hats have played well outside of three games this season. Their three senior linebackers played their hearts out. Especially Hayden Henry who ran around the field with his hair on fire and recording 10 tackles.

Bumper Pool led the Razorback defense with 13 tackles in the game. In what could be his final game in Razorback Stadium, Pool gave fans a fine performance on his way out. Yes, he does have an option to come back next season for a fifth year as 2020 didn’t count towards his eligibility. Pool also broke into the school’s top 10 in all-time tacklers with 344.

Arkansas needed every single one of those tackles from their senior wrecking crew in order to stop Missouri running back Tyler Badie. In the past the Tigers have been able to gash the Razorback defense with stretch plays and they called that one a lot on Friday for Badie. He rushed 41 times for 219 yards and one touchdown. Badie’s performance against the Razorbacks was his fifth 200-yard game of the season on the ground.

The story was Arkansas’ defense holding Missouri to just 65 passing yards, the Tigers’ fewest since Oct. 18, 2014, against Florida (20 yards).

Arkansas’ pass defense hasn’t held an opponent to less than 70 yards since the Texas Bowl where they held Texas to 57 passing yards on Dec. 29, 2014

As slow of a first half performance for Arkansas’ offense it was the exact opposite in the second. The Hogs scored 24 points and were able to outgain Missouri by over 100 yards.

Trelon Smith started the scoring spurt from four yards out for a touchdown in what could be his final game in Razorback Stadium. Treylon Burks caught a 52-yard pass from KJ Jefferson. Speaking of Burks he also broke the single season school record for 100-yard games with six. Burks passed a pair of Anthony’s in Eubanks (1997) and Lucas (1998) to break the record.

Cam Little tacked on another field goal early in the fourth quarter to push the Razorback lead to 27-9. He was 2-2 on field goals and 3-3 on PAT’s.

Sanders would finish the Razorbacks scoring output on a wild touchdown where Burks flipped him the ball by the sideline to score from seven yards out to make it a 34-9 game.

GOING BOWLING

Where will Arkansas play this postseason? From the sound of it they could be heading for their first Florida bowl game since 2007 when they played Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.

Who do they play? If Clemson takes care of business against South Carolina they could possibly be a matchup for Arkansas in the Gator Bowl.

Another possible destination for Arkansas could be Nashville, Tenn. for the Music City Bowl against Penn State. The two program have never met before.

SEASON REFLECTION

Before the season I predicted that the Razorbacks would finish the season 8-4 (4-4 SEC). They indeed got there but did it a little differently than I expected. Heck, Arkansas was nine points away from winning the SEC West. How crazy is that?!

If you had told me that Arkansas would’ve actually finished 8-4 two seasons removed from finishing 2-10 in consecutive seasons during the Chad Morris tenure I’d have called you nuts. I thought I was nuts for picking that. Fans even called me out for thinking it could happen. But it did and I’m dang proud to see it.

This covering Razorback football has not been very easy but the rejuvenation that Sam Pittman has given this program is something unexpected. It was a dang miracle, folks. He took a program that was a step away from being taken off life support, to being competitive again and then winning meaningful games.

It doesn’t fall only under Pittman though he did play a part in it. Be put together an incredible staff that was able to coach these players up, a lot of walkon’s, to playing over their heads. Playing with the heart of a Razorback. Something that has been missing for many seasons.

The eight wins is the most since Arkansas won 10 in the regular season in 2011.

The offense scored 30 or more points in eight games during the 2021 season. That is also the most since they did so in 2011 (9).

For the first time in school history, the Razorbacks won all three trophy games in the same season (Southwest Classic, Golden Boot, Battle Line).

Don’t forget the absolute beat down of the Texas Longhorns!

This is just the beginning of the revival of the Razorback. They will indeed lose quite a few seniors, 29 to be exact. However, there is still quite a few young players, a potential Heisman contender in KJ Jefferson, a legion of running backs and a coaching staff that will mot give up!