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Missouri offense finds consistency to end the season sending the Tigers to .500

Missouri beat Arkansas 24-14, winning the Battle Line Rivalry, ending the year on a winning note even if it didn’t mean much

Missouri v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

With little to play for, Missouri showed some pride, continued to score and won the Battle Line Rivalry.

Coming into the game injuries were piling up on both sides of the field, and that continued throughout the game. The Razorbacks had multiple players missing the game due to an outbreak of the mumps. Meanwhile for the Tigers, Kelly Bryant continued to battle a hamstring injury and did not take the first or second team reps at quarterback despite suiting up. Receiver Johnathon Johnson and defensive back DeMarkus Acy also missed the game.

On the very first offensive possession with freshman quarterback Connor Bazelak at the helm, Barry Odom made the decision to go for it on fourth and one at the Tiger’s own 39 yard line. With no bowl game in the picture, it made sense to take the risk so early in the game. The young quarterback fumbled the snap, unable to even make an attempt at a quarterback sneak. It was a sad but almost expected outcome to the Tigers first possession. The play, just like the game, wasn’t pretty, but the Tigers settled in and pulled off the win.

Arkansas struck first with Jack Lindsey leading the Razorbacks down the field on their second offensive drive. With a free play after the Tigers jumped offsides, Lindsey rolled right and found Trey Knox in the back of the endzone to take the lead, 7-0.

Connor Bazelak showed poise on his second drive after an ugly ending to the first drive. It was the Bazelak-Banister connection as the pair went for 39 yards on four completions setting Larry Rountree III up for a five yard rushing touchdown.

Bazelak suffered a right knee sprain on a 2nd quarter scramble which sent the freshman to the locker room and Fayetteville native Taylor Powell to the field. He went 3-5 in his first drive putting the Tigers in field goal range, with Tucker McCann converting a 26 yard kick through the uprights.

The injury bug continued to plague the Tigers as Bazelak, Jalen Knox, Kam Scott and Case Cook all left the game with leg, knee and foot injuries in the first half. And though Missouri was running out of wideouts, Banister carried the offense the first half. The redshirt sophomore and former walk on showed out in the return to his hometown with six catches for 60 yards in the first half alone. Rountree received the bulk of the backfield touches going for 49 yards on 12 carries as Missouri carried a 10-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.

On the very first play of the second half, Taylor Powell threw an interception to Arkansas corner Greg Brooks Jr. who was waiting for the pass as though he knew it was coming. Three plays later, Jack Lindsey found a wide open Grayson Gunter in the endzone for the Razorbacks to take the lead up 14-10.

The Tiger offense cleaned up their act and pieced together a drive to respond with a touchdown of their own. Powell and Badie marched the ball downfield putting the Tigers within striking distance so that Badie could run it in for a three yard rushing touchdown. Powell threw for 26 yards on the drive connecting with Jonathan Nance and Daniel Parker Jr.

The fourth quarter saw a back shoulder touchdown pass from Powell to Nance on a free play due to defensive offsides from the Razorbacks.

With Arkansas down ten points with two and a half minutes to go, the Razorbacks were in desperation mode. Jordan Elliott was able to cap off the drive on fourth down by knocking the ball high in the air as it fell incomplete and the Tiger defense held off Arkansas to win the Battle Line Trophy.

The Missouri Tigers finished the season at .500 going 6-6 (3-5) beating the Arkansas Razorbacks 24-14 and sending the seniors off on a winning note.