COLUMBIA, Mo. — After surrendering the lead in the most excruciating way possible, Missouri drove the field in the final 43 seconds and beat Arkansas 50-48 when Harrison Mevis made a 32-yard field goal as time expired.
The Tigers (5-3) erased a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to take the lead, only to give it up in the final minute. Arkansas quarterback K.J. Jefferson threw a touchdown pass to Mike Woods to cut Missouri’s lead to 47-46. Coach Sam Pittman elected to go for a 2-point conversion, and Jefferson’s pass bounced off the chest of linebacker Jamal Brooks and landed in Woods’ arms.
Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said his only reaction after the bizarre 2-point conversion was to tell Bazelak: ‘Let’s go win the game.’
Bazelak quickly dissected Arkansas’ reeling defense and set up Mevis for his fifth field goal of the day. The Razorbacks (3-6) called two timeouts to try to ice Mevis, but he wasn’t fazed.
It just gives me more time to think about the kick and what to do right,’ Mevis said of the timeouts. ‘Advantage me.’
Larry Rountree rushed 27 times for 185 yards and three touchdowns, and Tyler Badie added six carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Bazelak completed 32 of 49 passes for 380 yards. Keke Chism caught six passes for 113 yards.
Jefferson started in place of the injured Feleipe Franks and completed 18 of 33 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another touchdown for Arkansas (3-6). Treylon Burks caught 10 passes for 206 yards and touchdown. Trelon Smith carried 26 times for 172 yards and three touchdowns, often finding huge holes against a Missouri defense that was worn down by the Razorbacks’ fast tempo.
The Razorbacks took the lead late in the first half when holder Jack Lindsey sprinted up the middle for 20 yards on a fake field goal to set up Jefferson’s 1-yard touchdown run on a quarterback sneak. That gave the Razorbacks a 27-20 halftime lead.
Arkansas expanded the lead to 40-26 on a 21-yard Smith touchdown run with 13:51 left in the fourth quarter, setting up the wild finish.
‘I told them at halftime, no great story is fun unless you have a little adversity,’ Drinkwitz said.
Missouri: The Tigers lost their best player – and one of the nation’s best linebackers – to an ejection on a targeting call late in the first half. On a short pass over the middle, Nick Bolton drove his shoulder into Arkansas receiver John David White’s shoulder, causing White to drop the ball and leave the game with an injury. But even before Bolton was ejected, Missouri had no answers for the Razorbacks, who punted on their first drive before scoring touchdowns on their next four possessions.
Arkansas: Before the game, much of the focus was on the expected chess match between Drinkwitz and Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom, who had spent the previous four years as Missouri’s head coach. However, the more pertinent Arkansas assistant was offensive coordinator Kendal Briles. Despite missing their starting quarterback, the Razorbacks found ways to befuddle the Tigers, a team that had held three of its last four opponents to 10 points or less.