COMING THIS WEEK
The Bret Bielema era in Hogville could be down to its final game. Arkansas fans thought they were getting a steal in 2012 when the SEC West school lured away Wisconsin’s coach with three Rose Bowl rings, but under Bielema the Razorbacks peaked in 2015 and have since regressed. Injuries derailed this season, but the Hogs haven’t recruited or developed enough depth to keep pace in the SEC West. Arkansas has beaten just one Power 5 team (Ole Miss) and has five losses by three touchdowns or more. Speculation persists that Bielema will coach his final game Friday, and some reports have linked Auburn’s Gus Malzahn to the expected vacancy.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Quarterback Austin Allen has missed four games with a shoulder injury, spoiling what was supposed to be a strong follow-up season to last year’s 28-touchdown, 3,430-yard campaign. Instead, the senior has thrown for just 1,114 yards and eight touchdowns. Allen ranks seventh all-time at Arkansas with 34 touchdown passes.
HE SAID IT
“I think this is the most skilled group in the SEC. I’ve thought that for the last two years and since everybody returned from the offense a year ago that hasn’t changed my mind. The quarterback (Drew Lock) has got a big arm. It’s a live arm. He can throw it a long way. He can throw it with great velocity. He throws it with great accuracy. The receivers can all get it. They do it every week. … Big play after big play after big play. They’ve got great hands. They tested us a year ago in both loose and press coverage and made us pay in both of those areas.”
— Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads
Missouri running back Damarea Crockett (shoulder surgery) practiced some last week but isn’t close to being ready to play in a game, Odom said. Cornerback Christian Holmes (shoulder) continues to recover from a preseason injury, but Odom indicated MU would prefer to preserve his year of eligibility rather than play him for one or two games this year.
Missouri is 5-3 all-time against the Razorbacks and 2-1 since joining the SEC. In Gary Pinkel’s final game as coach, the Tigers lost their only SEC game in Fayetteville, Ark., 28-3 in the 2015 season finale. Mizzou erupted in the second half last year in Columbia to beat Arkansas 28-24. The teams play for the Battle Line Trophy, a four-foot tall piece of hardware that weighs 180 pounds.