Mike Kelly (@mikekelly1120) November 29, 2014
Mizzou beats Arkansas in inaugural Battle Line Rivalry
It's the fifth division title in eight seasons for Missouri (two in the SEC and three in the Big 12), which also reached 10 victories for the fifth time in 14 seasons under coach Gary Pinkel.
The victory improved Pinkel’s program to a remarkable 25-7 in November since 2007
Sounds like Maty Mauk and Josh Henson are on the same page and it shows on the field.
Sophomore QB Maty Mauk On having success on third down: "We came out here and we looked at what type of plays they were running on second and third down and they were pretty consistent. Coach Henson called great plays and we really focused on second and third downs in practice. It worked. Our guys found open areas."
Missouri defensive end Markus Golden might have been the only person at Memorial Stadium to see it slip free from the hands of Arkansas running back Alex Collins. Golden did the only thing that came naturally, even if no one in the sold-out Memorial Stadium crowd seemed to notice. "He got his big ol’ mitts in there and pulled that ball out," defensive end Shane Ray said. "If I get my hand on the ball," Golden said, "nine out of 10 times you ain’t getting it back from me."
Conversions: Let's delve a bit deeper into those conversions for a second, shall we? In the five games preceding Arkansas, Missouri had let up only 31.5 percent conversions on third down. The last team to convert more than half the time? Georgia. So it was a troublesome sign when Arkansas went 5 of 7 in the first half. The five conversions came from an average distance of 4.6 yards. Then, in the second half, the Razorbacks' seven tries came from an average of 5.9 yards. And they didn't get any of them. Missouri, meanwhile, was consistent throughout the game: 5 of 11 in the first half, 4 of 8 in the second. And, once in each half, they erased a failed third down with a converted fourth. Missouri has converted 11 of 13 fourth downs this season. So they're aggressive, yes, but they're also smart about picking their spots. And they get it done.
Missouri ran 11 times for 90 yards -- and threw one incomplete pass -- to drive down the field on a gassed Arkansas defense and score the go-ahead touchdown on a 12-yard spinning run from Marcus Murphy. The Tigers had 57 yards on 26 carries THE WHOLE GAME before that drive.
Remember this, too: Missouri and Georgia both went 2-0 against the mighty SEC West. The rest of the East went 0-10 against the West. But if winning the watered down SEC East were so easy, the blueblood programs in Athens, Gainesville and Knoxville would be celebrating a championship this morning. Instead, Missouri’s packing its bags for a second straight trip to Atlanta.
"It's huge. It's huge for this program," linebacker Michael Scherer said. "I think people will finally start seeing Mizzou as a top tier program. No one can make excuses about a team winning back-to-back titles."
Mizzou wins the SEC East, again
We're probably going to hear about Pinkel and Saban and Kent State a lot this week
The obvious storyline in Atlanta is Gary Pinkel and Saban’s relationship. They were teammates at Kent State in the 1970s and both launched their careers working under legendary coach Don James.
Pinkel also got his first head-coaching job at Toledo in 1991, after Saban spent a year with the Rockets before leaving to become the Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator.
With 9 seconds left in the first half, Baggett trotted out for a 50-yard try, which he missed wide left, but he got a reprieve thanks to Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who had called a timeout. Baggett appreciated the opportunity to practice. "It’s a free play," he said. "You take that risk when you call a timeout, trying to ice the kicker. If I do miss, I get a free look, so I just aimed a little more right and it was right down the middle."
"I don't know what happened," Pinkel said. "I have no idea where that came from. But I'm glad he told me. We don't do that (not shake hands)." Pinkel said he would deal with the issue internally. However, his captains said the incident was just a misunderstanding.
↑This is a dumb controversy, so of course some people are all over it
With the strong fourth quarter, Missouri out gained Arkansas 423-288. In the final fifteen minutes, Missouri ran the ball 16 times for 112 yards. In the same span, Arkansas ran the ball three times for seven yards.
Though the Tigers defense gave up two scores, that shouldn't damper the tremendous game they played to keep Mizzou in this one -- it was their offense that let them down. Prior to Missouri's game-tying score, the offense had managed just six points and 217 total yards.
Finally, if you haven't seen this picture
This is the kind of scene players must dream about when they commit to Mizzou