Like It Is:

Hogs couldn't overcome 43 seconds

By: Wally Hall Wally Hall's Twitter account
Published: Sunday, December 6, 2020
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman is shown during a game against Missouri on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Columbia, Mo.
( Walt Beazley, Arkansas Razorbacks )
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman is shown during a game against Missouri on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Columbia, Mo.

All credit goes to the Missouri Tigers.

With just 43 seconds to play and down 48-47, they found a way to drive 60 yards for a 32-yard field goal and a 50-48 victory over the University of Arkansas.

It was a crazy game in which the teams combined for 1,219 yards of offense.

Arkansas had 566 of those yards and 48 points without starting quarterback Feleipe Franks, who sat out with an injury, or running back Rakeem Boyd, who quit last week to prepare for the NFL Draft.

There is more to the story about Boyd quitting with just two games left than anyone who is not on the coaching staff will ever know.

The Razorbacks missed those players, but KJ Jefferson stepped up big in Franks place and looked more like the Hogs’ future than he had in previous limited action.

The redshirt freshman completed 18 of 33 passes for 274 yards and 3 touchdowns in only his second start. His biggest throw came with 43 seconds to play after Arkansas had pulled within 47-46.

The Razorbacks had been outscored 21-6 since holding a 40-26 early in the fourth quarter, but there they were an extra point away from a tie.

Coach Sam Pittman decided to give his offense a vote of confidence instead. He agreed to let them go for two and the lead.

Jefferson rolled left with the same confidence Franks has shown all season. Just before he ran out of ground, Jefferson fired into the end zone, through two defenders who looked like they should have intercepted the pass, and into the hands of Mike Woods for a 48-47 lead.

Just 43 seconds stood between the Razorbacks and a hard-earned victory.

But the Tigers did what they had been doing ever since linebacker Grant Morgan, Arkansas’ leading tackler, was lost to an injury in the second half.

They attacked the middle with great success.

That’s how the Hogs’ lead slipped away. A lead that had been surprising but hard-earned.

Trelon Smith stepped into Boyd’s shoes and was like a bright Florida sunrise.

The redshirt sophomore transfer from Arizona State played like a starter, rushing for 172 yards and 3 touchdowns on 26 carries.

He ran hard inside and out.

He blocked and ran decoy routes.

He did whatever he could to help, and it was enough to give the Razorbacks a chance for a road victory.

There were so many Hogs who laid it on the line down after down it would be impossible to mention them all, but if the Razorbacks have a first team All-SEC player this season, it is Treylon Burks.

The sophomore from Warren had 10 catches for 206 yards and 3 carries for 14 yards, including a dive on fourth and 1 on the Hogs’ final drive where he managed to extend the ball for a first down by an inch.

One play later, Jefferson threw 14 yards to Woods for the touchdown before the two-point conversion gave Arkansas the lead.

There was a play late in the first half that left no doubt the Hogs were going to leave it all on the field.

On fourth and 5 from the Missouri 25, the Razorbacks lined up for a field goal, but Jack Lindsey — the holder and a reserve quarterback, cradled the snap and ran like a first down wasn’t on his mind.

He wanted more.

The senior got 20 yards and a first and goal at the 5 that led to Jefferson scoring on a touchdown run that gave the Hogs a 27-20 lead at halftime.

Missouri and Arkansas kicked off Saturday’s football schedule with a game that seemed to go down to the wire twice, but the last time it was the Tigers with the ball and the ability to kick a game-winning field goal.

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