Missouri holds off Arkansas 29-27 to reach bowl eligiblity
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Brady Cook threw for 242 yards and a touchdown while running for 138 yards and another score, and Missouri’s defense stuffed Arkansas when it mattered in the fourth quarter, allowing the Tigers to become bowl-eligible with a 29-27 victory over the Razorbacks on Saturday.
Cody Schrader added 97 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Tigers (6-6, 3-5 SEC), who avenged a loss to their border rival last year and have now qualified for a bowl game in each of coach Eli Drinkwitz’s first three seasons
Arkansas (6-6, 4-4) had the ball twice with less than 8 minutes left and a chance to drive for a go-ahead field goal, but the Tigers forced three-and-outs both times and all but ran out the clock on their first league win in a month.
The Razorbacks’ KJ Jefferson threw for 205 yards with two touchdowns and an interception while also running for a score, though he was constantly harassed by Missouri’s defensive front. Raheim Sanders, the league’s second-leading rusher, was held to just 47 yards with a touchdown reception.
Missouri actually scored on each of its first four drives yet still trailed at halftime.
That’s because the Razorbacks were better at reaching the end zone.
While the Tigers got touchdown runs from Schrader and Cook to cap long drives, they also had to settle for a pair of field goals from Harrison Mevis, including a chipshot after a drive stalled at the Arkansas 10 late in the first half.
The Razorbacks were forced to punt twice, thanks to Missouri’s ferocious pass rush, but they also got a short TD run from Jefferson and his touchdown pass to Matt Landers. And when the Razorbacks got the ball back with 5 1/2 minutes before the break, they breezed 75 yards down field and Jefferson hit Sanders out of the backfield for a 21-20 lead.
Missouri regained the lead in the third quarter when Luther Burden III caught a short pass, put a move on the Razorbacks’ Quincey McAdoo, and reached the end zone from 23 yards out. And after Jefferson was picked off moments later, Mevis hit his third field goal to give the Tigers a 29-21 advantage.
The Razorbacks had a chance to retake the lead in the fourth quarter, after they’d closed to within 29-24, but they couldn’t get into the end zone after first-and-goal at the Missouri 2 and coach Sam Pittman settled for another field goal. That wound up being the difference in the game.
Arkansas simply made too many mistakes to beat anyone in the SEC. The offensive line gave up seven sacks, penalty flags flew at costly times and Pittman’s conservative play on fourth down may have cost the Razorbacks the game.
Missouri’s defense made stops when it mattered the most, particularly in the fourth quarter. They stuffed Arkansas at the goal line, then forced consecutive three-and-outs in the waning minutes to essentially run out the clock.
Both teams await bowl destinations with the Tigers possibly jumping the Razorbacks in the pecking order.
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