When/where: 1:30 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium in Columbia
TV/radio: CBS; KMBZ (98.1 FM)
The series: Mizzou leads 4-3
The line: 7 1/2
What’s at stake
Why the Battle Line Rivalry trophy, of course. As designated cross-division rivals, Mizzou and Arkansas meet every season, a series that started in 2014. The Tigers won the inaugural game 21-14 on Faurot Field, clinching a second straight SEC East crown in the process. The Razorbacks exacted a measure of revenge last season, sending former MU coach Gary Pinkel out with a 28-3 loss in Fayetteville, Ark.
Cheers if …
Missouri’s offense can duplicate anything close to the 37-point, 740-yard output at Tennessee, which is the most yards the Volunteers have ever allowed in a game. The Razorbacks give up nearly 500 yards per game and a league-worst 38.6 points in SEC play. It’s probably going to be a shootout, considering how both defenses are playing, but the Tigers will have to make do without suspended freshman running back Damarea Crockett.
Jeers if …
Coach Barry Odom can’t find a Band-Aid for his ailing defense in the season finale. With most of Mizzou’s students home for Thanksgiving and the team closing out a two-year stretch of 8-15 football, the crowd at Memorial Stadium might be on the small side. Odom would love to send his first senior class out on a high note, but that will require a defense that was gashed for 609 yards in a 63-37 loss at Tennessee to develop a spine.
Tod Palmer’s pick: Arkansas 45-41
With both defenses struggling, I expect a track meet to break out on Faurot Field. Big plays will abound, which should make it entertaining for fans and frustrating for coaches. Mizzou hasn’t had much luck in those types of games this season, losing all three games — Georgia, Middle Tennessee and Tennessee — in which both teams scored at least 24 points. Turnovers will be critical as usual for the mistake-prone Tigers and Hogs offenses.
Three things about Arkansas
1 Junior quarterback Austin Allen has picked up right where his older brother Brandon, a three-year starter for the Razorbacks, left off last season. The younger Allen needs 196 yards to reach 3,000 for the season. He leads the SEC with a 148.4 quarterback rating, going 203 of 331 for 2,804 yards with 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season.
2 Sophomore running back Rawleigh Williams III kept an impressive streak alive for Bret Bielema, who has coached a 1,000-yard rusher in all 11 seasons as the head man at Wisconsin (2006-12) and Arkansas (2013-present). Williams, who leads the SEC with 1,209 yards this season, joins a group that includes PJ Hill, John Clay, James White, Montee Ball, Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams.
3 The Razorbacks became the fifth FBS team with a 300-yard passer and 200-yard rusher in the same game in a 58-42 win last week against Mississippi State. Allen went 18 of 25 for 303 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, and Williams had 16 carries for 209 yards and four TDs. The fourth team to do it? Mizzou earlier that same day at Tennessee (Drew Lock, 320 yards passing; Damarea Crockett, 225 yards rushing).
Mizzou linebacker Eric Beisel vs. Arkansas’ run game: Beisel called out the Razorbacks, referring to the program as Ar-Kansas and saying it would be “a huge mistake” if Bret Bielema’s boys make the trek north to Columbia. Beisel has been the Tigers’ leading tackler in two of the last three games, but he’ll need another big game against Rawleigh Williams III, who has an SEC-best six 100-yard games this season.