Missouri blanks and bludgeons Arkansas 38-0 for third straight Battle Line victory

The Tigers’ first shutout since 2016 came on senior day and rounded out an 8-4 regular season.
Missouri defensive tackle forces a fumble from Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey in the first quarter of Missouri's win over the Razorbacks on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.

Senior day wasn’t quite what Barry Odom had imagined.

The Missouri coach spent $138,000 on tickets to try and fill Memorial Stadium for Missouri’s final home game of the 2018 season, but rainy conditions kept a substantial amount of fans home.

Aside from the dreary conditions, though, everything on the field went according to plan for Odom in a 38-0 win that secured a third straight victory for the Tigers in the Battle Line Rivalry.

"I'm thankful for the folks who were in the stands with the conditions that there were," Odom said. "Hats off to them."

Missouri (8-4, 4-4 SEC) never looked back after 9-yard scamper from quarterback Drew Lock on the opening drive and moved to 4-1 against Arkansas (2-10, 0-8 SEC) since the SEC edition of the rivalry started in 2014.

An efficient start from the offense coupled with a relentless effort by the Tiger defense produced Missouri’s first shutout since 2016, and its first conference shutout since 2010. The Tigers held the Razorbacks to 1 yard on their first five drives.

Senior Terez Hall hauled in his first career interception with under a minute left in the first quarter. He had been waiting to get his hands on a pass for four years after getting a pick-six on his high school senior night.

“I was praying to god about getting a pick,” Hall said. “I was like, ‘God I need a pick man, how can I go through a whole Mizzou football career without a pick?’”

The interception set up Lock’s second rushing score of the afternoon. His 3-yard carry gave Missouri a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The defense continued its dominance on the next drive when Jordan Elliott’s second sack of the day forced a fumble that fellow sophomore Akial Byers pounced on in the end zone for Missouri’s third score of the day.

Elliot and the Missouri defensive line were able to apply steady pressure all game. Elliot finished with three sacks. The Tigers totaled a season-high five sacks as a unit while holding Arkansas to 187 total yards.

“I think [Elliot] can be a special player,” Odom said. “Some of that showed up today. If you get a one on one opportunity with him he is very difficult to block and he’s gotten better over the course of the year.”

The defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and held Arkansas to negative-21 rushing yards in the first half, pushing the Razorbacks deep within their own territory. Hall said he didn’t even touch an offensive lineman until the second half.

“It makes it a whole lot easier,” Hall said. “The whole first half I didn’t get an O-lineman because they were too busy worrying about up front. The D-lineman were going hard.”

Winning the field position battle early on set up a 6-yard slant to Emanuel Hall on the final drive of the half to give Lock three total touchdowns and Missouri a 28-0 lead going into the break.

Hall shined in his final game at Faurot Field, ending a season filled with injuries and hardships by catching six passes for 153 yards and two scores.

The four-year duo of Lock and Hall connected for one last deep ball at Memorial Stadium when Hall caught a pass in on the left sideline and flew between two Razorback defenders for a 67-yard touchdown that moved Missouri’s lead to 35.

Larry Rountree III also added a strong game on the ground, running for 119 yards to finish the season just over 1,000 yards. Odom praised Rountree’s consistency and the consistent play of the offensive line.

“It’s a high trust level in him protecting the ball and playing the position in protection, but it starts up front,” Odom said. “The offensive line has done a heck of a job this year, no matter who the back is, creating opportunities to run.”

While the offense continued to roll, the defense continued its trend of timely stops. Three fourth-down stops preserved Missouri’s first shutout since 2016 against Delaware State. It’s the team’s first shutout against an SEC team since joining the conference.

“Getting a shutout, goose-egg, I mean that’s all there is to it,” Byers said. “It’s nice to beat them every snap and not let them get an inch.”

It was a strong end of the season for a defense on a hot streak. Missouri has held four of its last five opponents under 20 points.

A third-quarter field goal from Tucker McCann gave Missouri a 38-0 lead before a Lock came on for two final drives in the fourth quarter. He left to a standing ovation with 9 minutes left in his final home game.

Taylor Powell came into the game for Missouri and the rout ended mercifully with senior Corey Fatony coming out for his last couple of kicks with the punting unit.

Missouri finished the season by winning its fourth straight game overall and its ninth straight November game. The Tigers are 10-2 under Odom in the month of November.

Come December, Missouri will look forward to a bowl game either late in the month or in early January for its second postseason game in as many years. The bowl placement will be announced Dec. 2.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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