Coming This Week
Sam Pittman’s No. 25 Arkansas Razorbacks (7-5, 3-4 SEC) have recovered from October’s three-game losing streak and won three of their last four, with the only loss coming at No. 2 Alabama, Saturday’s 42-35 defeat, one of the Hogs’ most impressive showings of the year. Behind a potent, balanced attack powered by quarterback K.J. Jefferson (21 TDs, three interceptions) the Hogs will play in a bowl game for the first time in five years. First, though, they want to snap a five-game losing streak to Mizzou in the Battle Line Rivalry. Should the 14.5-point favorites win Friday, they will have swept all three of their trophy games for the first time in team history, having already beaten Texas A&M in the Southwest Classic and LSU in the Battle for the Golden Boot. Pittman, Mizzou’s offensive line coach in 2000, has surrounded himself with former Tigers, including former MU player and coach Barry Odom, his defensive coordinator; former player Michael Scherer, his linebackers coach; and starting defensive linemen Markell Utsey and Tre Williams, who played for the Tigers last year. Odom’s defense has struggled some lately — Alabama passed for a school record 559 yards last week — but the Hogs have the SEC’s No. 2 rushing offense and have the SEC’s fewest turnovers, just eight in 11 games.
Players to Watch
Count on slot receiver Treylon Burks earning first-team All-SEC honors. He’s among the league’s elite playmakers with 59 catches for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior is coming off his best game of the season, catching eight balls for 179 yards and two TDs against Alabama. He gave Mizzou problems in last year’s shootout, finishing with 210 yards on 10 catches. He needs 25 more yards to become just the fourth 1,000-yard receiver in team history.
He Said It
“He’s done a great job for us. He’s been a valuable asset to me and everybody else in the program. He’s just a really good man and he knows what he’s doing. I’m just really proud and happy that he’s on our staff.” — Pittman on Odom, his second-year defensive coordinator
Missouri won’t have safety Shawn Robinson or cornerbacks Ish Burdine and Chris Shearin. It’s uncertain if cornerback Akayleb Evans will be available after he missed the Florida game with a soft tissue injury. Right tackle Hyrin White missed a second straight game with an ankle injury, but he returned to practice Tuesday. For Arkansas, standout safety Jalen Catalon is out with a shoulder injury, while Burks, cornerback Hudson Clark, running backs Dominique Johnson and Rocket Sanders and linebacker Bumper Pool are considered probable.
The Tigers lead the all-time series 9-3 and have owned the Hogs since entering the SEC, going 6-1 with five straight wins. The last time the game was in Fayetteville, the Tigers won 48-45 on a last-second field goal, just like last year in Columbia, when Harrison Mevis’ field goal beat Arkansas 50-48.
- Dave Matter