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OPINION | NATE ALLEN: Regular season finale carries a lot of weight for both Hogs, Mizzou

by Nate Allen | November 23, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE - All the incentives riding with Arkansas in last Saturday night's 42-27 victory over Ole Miss seem to ride Friday afternoon with the Missouri Tigers against Arkansas.

Third-year Coach Sam Pittman's now 6-5 overall/3-4 in the SEC West bowl bound Razorbacks fought for their 6-win bowl eligibility lives on Senior Night in the season's Reynolds Razorback Stadium finale defeating the 14th-ranked Rebels.

Third-year Coach Eliah Drinkwitz's, 5-6, 2-5 in the SEC East Tigers' last chance for a bowl hinges on this season's 2:30 p.m CBS televised season's Friday finale/Mizzou seniors' home farewell at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo.

The Hogs wallow 0-4 on Mizzou turf and 2-2 against the Tigers in Fayetteville and Little Rock since their annual SEC West vs. SEC East game commenced in 2014.

"I know they're going to be fired up to get bowl eligibility," Pittman said. "And we haven't won up there. So, a lot of things."

And for Arkansas, last year's 9-4 Outback Bowl champion?

"A lot of things for us to play for too," Pittman said. "To continue to rise so our bowl eligibility opens up more bowls for us. Obviously, we can get to 4-4 in conference like we were last year and finish in the top half of the conference like we did a year ago. But, the bottom line is, Missouri is a rivalry game and we need to go play well against a very good football team."

At times a team much like Arkansas.

Arkansas' ordinary appearing 6-5 includes wins over then No. 23 Cincinnati and 14th-ranked Ole Miss and, minus then injured starting quarterback KJ Jefferson, a hard-fought 13-10 loss to SEC West champion LSU.

Both the Hogs and Tigers in Columbia, S.C. beat those same South Carolina Gamecocks that last Saturday stunned No. 5 Tennessee, 63-38.

Nobody has played 11-0, No. 1 SEC East champion Georgia closer than Mizzou's down to the wire 26-22 loss at Faurot Field.

Pittman cites Mizzou's improved offense with sophomore Brady Cook's running quarterback emergence,

Defensively, Mizzou seems designed to combat Arkansas' bread and butter running game.

"They're going to outnumber you in the box and make you throw the football," Pittman said.

Good plan, but perhaps not with Mizzou's history against fourth-year junior Jefferson robustly returning against Ole Miss.

In 2020 vs. Mizzou starting in place of injured graduate transfer quarterback Feleipe Franks, Jefferson completed 18 of 33 for 274 yards and three touchdowns in a wild, 50-48 shootout in Columbia.

Last year starter Jefferson paced Arkansas 34-17 over Mizzou in Fayetteville. He completed 15 of 19 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown and broke a 49-yard run.

"Obviously, this will be the third time that we've played against him," Drinkwitz said. "Golly, I hope he's graduating or going pro."

Print Headline: Today’s game important for both

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