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The Good, Bad and Ugly: Arkansas

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Examining everything good, bad, and ugly from Missouri’s win over Arkansas.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Good:

  • Harrison Mevis. That’s the tweet. Seriously though, there’s not much more that can be said about Mevis other than he is a fantastic college kicker, and Missouri simply doesn’t win this game without him. He buoyed their scoring total while the offense was in flux and seemed a little lost. He hit from every level. Short, intermediate, and another 50+ yard bomb which, in my opinion, could have been good from 60. He was perfect on Saturday, and I am so damn happy that he is going to be a Missouri Tiger for the foreseeable future.
  • Connor Bazelak had a sensational performance again. Bazelak was cool, calm and collected, per usual. He finished above three hundred yards again, and made timely throws all game. He avoided turnovers (HUGE) and gave his guys plenty of chance to shine. They were a little inaccurate with the deep ball early in the game, but as the game progressed, Bazelak settled down and put a couple of deep balls in perfect spots downfield for completions. Every week he shows us something new. This week, it was his toughness. He took numerous big hits in the pocket and didn’t even flinch. This is a checkpoint game for him. *Check*
  • The duo of Larry Rountree III and Tyler Badie has been so unbelievably fun to watch over their careers, and Saturday really just added another moment for us to remember. The two combined for 284 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns, all on the ground. Another area of the game that I thought they provided a boost in was in pass protection. Both did a really good job of stepping in and handling blitzes and taking on blocks, which was so important when Missouri decided to expand the offense and use deeper routes. They both did awesome and showed a lot of skills that prove that BOTH are suited to play on Sundays.
  • This season, I’ve been really disappointed in both of the grad transfer wide receivers in Keke Chism and Damon Hazelton. They’ve struggled with drops and general inconsistency, but in this game, they showed up in a major way. Hazelton finished with 5/98 and Chism with 6/113, but aside from the statistics of it, they came up with multiple big catches downfield. They both gave the Tiger offense a downfield element that helped open up run lanes Rountree and Badie. This season hasn’t gone the way either one of them had probably hoped, but they’ve been good soldiers, and on Saturday got to flash some of the ability that they have, which is a lot. Here’s to these two guys continuing to make plays throughout the next two games.
  • Hand in your Trajan Jeffcoat fan club applications ASAP. The bandwagon is filling up fast. Seriously though, he’s been such a pleasant surprise this year. Jeffcoat has been consistent and showed a variety of moves that makes me believe he has a lot of room to grow. Also, he’s tied for second in the SEC in sacks with five. The leader has six, so that’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on the rest of the way.
  • Another week, and another impressive performance by the offensive line. They weren’t perfect, but they at times really imposed their will, particularly in the run game. Bazelak was kept upright for the most part, and as a unit, they handled blitzing linebackers pretty well. Like I said last week, when this unit is healthy and whole, they are usually good.
  • He’s not technically a offensive lineman, but Daniel Parker Jr. definitely blocks like one. I want to highlight one play in particular where he is absolutely MAULING guys:

Those are some grown man blocks.

The Bad:

The secondary was exposed this week. Period. I’m not sure if that was because of the last minute starter change or what, but it was ugly. They were undisciplined with their eyes and weren’t always communicating the best amongst themselves; you could see numerous times where they were getting calls in late.

The Tiger secondary struggled in different varieties of coverage throughout the day, but specifically in man coverage. Of the three passing touchdowns, all three came while the Tigers were in man. This play specifically showcases some of the worst of it:

Aside from the secondary, the defensive line came out and started the game as if they had a private party at Fieldhouse the night before that went until 5am. They looked sluggish and slow to start the game. They weren’t getting set, and you could tell that the tempo of Arkansas was really bothering them. They got pushed around a lot, and also couldn’t create a whole lot of pass rush. It was a problem, and was part of the reason they gave up 48 points. Like the secondary however, they clamped down later in the second half and did some nice things to help get Missouri back into the game in the fourth quarter.

The defense - all three levels of it - really struggled against Arkansas. I mentioned in last week’s edition of Three and Out that if Missouri couldn’t communicate well and make tackles that Trelon Smith would give them problems. He did exactly that. The communication in general didn’t seem to be all the way there on the defense with a lot of guys moving last minute and being caught out of position. The familiarity and tempo of Arkansas probably had something to do with that, but that just means you may need to be faster getting the plays into the defense.

The Ugly:

This isn’t just ugly. This is putrid. This is vile.

Nick Bolton didn’t launch himself. Nick Bolton didn’t lead with his helmet. Nick Bolton didn’t even lower his helmet. Nick Bolton laid a hitstick on a receiver who came over the middle to catch a pass. That is his job. He was essentially ejected for playing football. What’s even worse is that these officials were given a chance to review this play and still couldn’t come away with the correct call. That is unacceptable, especially from what is supposed to be the conference where “It just means more.”

As a former player, I’m all for protecting players and eliminating senseless hits from the game. I think the Targeting rule comes from a sincere place. However, when you start ejecting players for hits like that, it makes me wonder:

Why not just play two-hand touch?

Follow me on Twitter @iAirDry