Boyd's next move uncertain
University of Arkansas running back Rakeem Boyd (5) celebrates a first down during the Battle Line Rivalry game against the University of Missouri Tigers at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock on Friday November 29th 2019.
Running back Rakeem Boyd might have played his last game for the University of Arkansas on Friday.
Boyd finished his junior season with 184 carries for 1,133 yards after rushing 21 times for 95 yards in Missouri's 24-14 victory over the Razorbacks in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. He also had 19 catches for 160 yards this season.
Numbers like those in the SEC will get the attention of NFL teams.
So Boyd, who has played through injuries to both shoulders in his two seasons with the Razorbacks, has a decision to make about whether to return to Arkansas for his senior season or enter the NFL Draft.
Boyd said he's not sure what he'll do, saying he'll talk to his family and also rely on the advice of running backs coach Jeff Traylor.
"Coach Traylor is like a father figure to me," he said.
Barry Lunney Jr., the Razorbacks' interim coach, said he hopes Boyd will be back at Arkansas next season.
As a sophomore after transferring to Arkansas from Independence (Kan.) Community College, Boyd rushed 123 times for 734 yards and had 23 catches for 165 yards.
"He's been a great running back for this program," Lunney said. "He's just matured and matured, and I think he's on the right track.
"I think he needs to be back here carrying the ball for the Razorbacks again. He's just been really steady. He's gotten better each of the two years.
"I think he's got a lot of football in front of him. He's got a high ceiling that is not anywhere close to being reached. I think it would be really beneficial for him to be wearing that Hog uniform again."
The announced crowd for Friday's game was 33,961, which was tickets distributed.
That was the second-smallest crowd in War Memorial Stadium since Arkansas joined the SEC in 1992. The smallest crowd was 22,329 against LSU in 1996.
But Razorbacks interim Coach Barry Lunney Jr. was full of praise for the fans considering Arkansas had lost eight games in a row coming into Friday's matchup and has now suffered consecutive 2-10 finishes.
"First of all, I've just got to say I can't thank Little Rock, our fans, enough," Lunney said to open his postgame news conference. "You saw today what our fans and our people are made of.
"They showed up in an incredible fashion and gave our team fuel and energy like lots of teams over the years have experienced. I'm so grateful for how our fans rallied around our team despite the circumstances. It was very moving for me and our football team."
Lunney said the crowd felt like 53,000.
"They were into it from the Hog walk, from the moment we took the field," he said. "That's our people. I know however many there were at [the game], we had that many more people rooting us on from home [watching on television] and listening on the radio.
"That's the beauty of this state, is that on [game days] we can come together in the fall and get behind the Razorbacks. It's a unique thing across this country.
Other recent games in Little Rock had announced attendances of 51,438 for Ole Miss last season; 36,055 for Florida A&M in 2017; 46,988 for Alcorn State in 2016; 49,591 for Toledo in 2015; 54,959 for Georgia in 2014; 47,358 for Samford in 2013; and 45,198 for Mississippi State in 2013.
100 times 3
Arkansas senior linebacker De'Jon Harris had 11 tackles to give him 101 this season. It's the third consecutive season he's had more than 100 tackles, including 115 in 2017 and 118 last season.
In 48 career games, including 36 starts, Harris made 371 tackles to rank fifth on the Razorbacks' all-time list.
"He's a warrior," Coach Barry Lunney Jr. said. "He's just been a fantastic Razorback. He doesn't say much, just kind of epitomizes walking softly and carrying a big stick.
"He's got a future in football, there's no doubt."
Missouri receiver Jonathan Nance, a graduate transfer from Arkansas, had 3 catches for 38 yards against his former team, including a 10-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Powell that extended the Tigers' lead to 24-14 with 8:47 left.
Powell, a redshirt sophomore from Fayetteville, came off the bench to complete 8 of 14 passes for 105 yards.
Missouri receiver Barrett Banister, also a redshirt sophomore from Fayetteville, led the Tigers with six catches for 60 yards.
"It meant a lot to me," said Banister, who began his Missouri career as a walk-on. "It was a lot of fun.
"It's something that I will remember for the rest of my life. This game is marked on my calendar every year."
Missouri has two junior defensive linemen from Arkansas with Akial Byers (Fayetteville) and Markell Utsey (Little Rock Parkview). Byers had 2 tackles and 1 quarterback hurry Friday, and Utsey had 1 tackle.
Tigers linebacker Joe Britton, a redshirt sophomore from Rogers who played at Bentonville, played on special teams.
"I know what it is like to go back and play your home school," said Tigers Coach Barry Odom, who is from Ada, Okla., and as a linebacker for Missouri played against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. "I'm proud of the effort [of the Tigers from Arkansas]. I'm proud of the focus. It isn't easy to handle those things some of the time. I think they all played really well."
In the Rock
Friday's game marked the end of Arkansas playing at least one game in Little Rock for 88 consecutive seasons, including every season since War Memorial Stadium opened in 1948.
Arkansas has played in Little Rock every season since 1932, beginning with a 20-6 victory over Baylor.
The Razorbacks will play their spring game in 2020 in War Memorial Stadium, but not another regular-season game until they face Missouri on Nov. 27, 2021.
Arkansas dropped to 168-69-5 all-time in Little Rock with Friday's loss and is 151-62-4 in War Memorial Stadium.
The Razorbacks have lost five consecutive SEC games in Little Rock since beating Mississippi State 44-17 on Nov. 19, 2011.
Since then, Arkansas has lost SEC games in Little Rock to Ole Miss 30-27 in 2012; to Mississippi State 24-17 in overtime in 2013; to Georgia 45-32 in 2014; and to Ole Miss 37-33 last season.
Senior defensive end Jamario Bell, redshirt junior quarterback Jack Lindsey and sophomore safety Myles Mason all made their first career starts.
Bell started in place of true freshman Mataio Soli, who had started 10 consecutive games since Dorian Gerald suffered a season-ending neck injury in the opener. Mason started for junior Kamren Curl, who was ill.
Redshirt sophomore cornerback Montaric Brown was back in the starting lineup after missing last week because he was ill.
When the Razorbacks took a 7-0 lead with 6:49 left in the first quarter on Jack Lindsey's 19-yard touchdown pass to Trey Knox, it marked the first time they had scored first since Rakeem Boyd's 74-yard touchdown run in the first quarter at Kentucky on Oct. 12 put them ahead 7-0.
Kentucky beat Arkansas 24-20, rallying from a 13-0 deficit.
Missouri beat Arkansas for the fourth consecutive year to improve to 8-3 against the Razorbacks.
Since the Tigers joined the SEC, they're 5-1 against Arkansas. The Razorbacks' only SEC victory over Missouri was in 2015 when Arkansas won 28-3.
Missouri is 2-0 against Arkansas in Little Rock, where the Tigers won 7-6 in 1963.
Senior Day II
Arkansas' seniors were introduced and ran through the "A" formed by the Razorback marching band before their final game for the UA.
The seniors also were introduced and honored in a pregame ceremony with their family members on Nov. 10 when Western Kentucky beat Arkansas 45-19 in the Razorbacks' final game in Fayetteville this season.
Arkansas junior receiver De'Vion Warren played after missing the previous three games because of an ankle injury he suffered at Alabama.
Sports on 11/30/2019
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