Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Injured Razorbacks put hurt on Mizzou
Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson looks to pass during a game against Missouri on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Fayetteville.
From the medical tent to the end zone.
Bruised and banged-up quarterback KJ Jefferson and wide receiver Treylon Burks helped the Arkansas Razorbacks give Missouri some payback by the tune of 34-17.
Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz, in just his second year, said it couldn’t be a rivalry unless the other team wins once in a while, and even though he missed four of those losses, he was on the sidelines as Jefferson hit 15 of 19 passes for 262 yards including a 52-yard touchdown to Burks.
Burks, who like Jefferson had to visit the medical tent during the game, had seven catches for 129 yards.
The Arkansas defense held the Tigers to 316 total yards, three field goals and one touchdown that came with just 1:25 to play.
Of Missouri’s total yardage senior Tyler Badie had the majority of it it rushing for 219 yards on 41 carries and the lone touchdown.
Arkansas finishes the regular season 8-4 and 4-4 in SEC play and will find out next Sunday which bowl it is playing in. Two of the possibilities are in Florida, the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville and the Outback Bowl in Tampa.
Twice in the past five seasons, the Hogs let games with Missouri slip away in the second half. But head coach Sam Pittman, who picked up a $250,000 bonus for winning eight games, wasn’t going to let this one get past him.
Pittman had three quarters of million-dollar bonuses in his contract for winning six, seven and eight games.
Arkansas also won all three of its trophy games, beating Texas A&M 20-10 in the Southwest Classic, LSU 16-13 for the Golden Boot and Saturday’s decisive win over Missouri in the Battle Line Trophy.
The Tigers had a game plan but couldn’t execute it against the aggressive Arkansas defense which showed numerous fronts.
There’s a cadence when soldiers march, “Your left, your left, your left, right, left.”
In the first half, Missouri was like a boot-camp rookie who forgot the right.
It became so obvious that the CBS announcers commented, “And again the Tigers went left,” and they did for about 160 of their first 187 yards, but the Razorbacks gave up no touchdowns and just two field goals, one of those following an Arkansas fumble that Missouri recovered at the Razorbacks’ 39.
The Hog defense held them to just 11 yards on seven plays, that consumed 3:53 of clock, for a 45-yard field goal.
In the second half, the Tigers tried to mix it up, but it was mostly in 18:28 of the first half and a total of 35:11, to try to get it to the fourth quarter where they have a habit of beating the Razorbacks.
Also in vain.
Arkansas outscored the Tigers 24-11 in the second half.
The Razorbacks opened the game like they left off a week earlier against Alabama, driving 67 yards that was highlighted by a 49-yard run by Jefferson, and kicking a 36-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Then they spit and sputtered on offense, going three and out twice and fumbling once, but late in the second quarter the Razorbacks returned to form and drove 76 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. Of the yards, 52 came through the air from Jefferson to Burks who had three catches in the drive.
Hard to believe he’s playing hurt, but it was obvious on his 43-yard catch when the guy, who has the balance of a ballerina, couldn’t get his feet under him and fell at the 7.
The Tigers added another field goal to make it 10-6 at the half and still on course to reach their goal of keeping it close until the final quarter when a tired Arkansas defense would have to keep them out of the end zone.
The Razorback defense never seemed winded and gave up only 129 yards in the final two quarters.
Like the old days, hey hey, ho ho, Arkansas is in a bowl.
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.