The biggest key to Arkansas beating Missouri was their ability to find explosive plays, and Missouri not being able to find any of their own. For the most part, the Missouri defense came to play. They made numerous stands, applied occasional pressure on KJ Jefferson, and forced a turnover as well. However, when Arkansas needed to find a little bit of a spark to score points, they were able to get it from many different sources including Jefferson, and Treylon Burks.
All week, we talked about Treylon Burks and his ability to make a difference in this game. I mentioned how he needs to be accounted for at all times and here there’s a miscommunication in the secondary that allows him to get free. It looks like they had their eyes in the backfield, and looking towards the flat and even a half second of poor technique is all it takes for Burks to get by. Unfortunately, this led to a touchdown a few plays later.
This is a simple zone read, and Missouri actually plays it well. The end tackles the running back and stays outside, and the safety fills the gap to make the tackle on KJ Jefferson. Only problem? The tackle is missed, and Jefferson makes them pay with a long run. Credit to Kris Abrams-Draine and Allie Green for staying with the play and preventing the touchdown. They were able to hold them to a field goal, and if the game would have been a bit closer, perhaps we’re looking at this as a turning point for Missouri.
It was obvious where Arkansas was going as soon as they motioned Burks out, and saw Mizzou was in man to man coverage. We talked about Darius Jackson last week as someone who was a standout in the win against Florida. He was awesome, but he’s still a true freshman and Arkansas was trying all day to isolate Burks on him because of that.
Here, they finally got their chance and once Jackson bit on the double move, it was over. Jefferson drops the ball in a bucket and gives Burks a chance to run after the catch and he scores rather easily.
The Missouri defense was far from the biggest issue on the day. They weren’t great, but they weren’t bad either. You can argue that the pressure of having to support an offense that was struggling all day, really was working against them. That said, there were far too many explosive plays for Missouri to be successful on defense. On the flip side, if Missouri’s offense could’ve provided some explosion of their own, no telling what could’ve happened. This was a tale of one offense who could find explosive plays, and one that couldn’t. It helped Arkansas put themselves in an easy position to score, while Missouri had to nickel and dime their way down the field. When Missouri has to do that, with the way this offense is constructed, it’s going to be difficult to score occasionally.