COLUMBIA- In a year of ups and downs, the 7th edition of the Battle Line Rivalry followed that theme.
On a sunny day at Farout Field, the Missouri Tigers completed an improbable comeback against SEC rival Arkansas, defeating the Razorbacks by a final score of 50 to 48. It was the largest fourth quarter comeback in program history.
"No great story is very fun without a little adversity," head coach Eliah Drinkwitz told his team at halftime.
The hero for the Tigers would be freshman kicker Harrison Mevis, who successfully converted five field goals, including a 32-yarder as time expired.
"It's just another kick for me," said Mevis in the postgame press conference.
"I don't want to miss anything here. I expect to make every kick I attempt here."
A thrilling day at Memorial Stadium began with Mizzou quickly jumping out to a ten point lead, thanks to a nice 29 yard pass from quarterback Connor Bazelak to wide reciever Keke Chism that lead to a Larry Rountree touchdown.
On the ensuing Arkansas drive, crucial defensive penalties aided the Razorbacks in their successful quest to find the end zone and respond. Kicker A.J. Reed would miss the extra point, a mistake that would eventually prove costly.
The Tigers traded scores with the Razorbacks for the rest of the first half, but Arkansas offensive coordinator Kendal Briles continued to run a no-huddle scheme, wearing down the Tigers defense.
The situation for the Tigers went from bad to worse with just minutes to go in the first half. On a pass attempt to JD White, Missouri senior Nick Bolton delivered a violent blow that knocked the ball loose. The officials initially called targeting, and upon review of the play, they confirmed the penalty.
That meant Bolton would be ejected from the game, and the Tigers would be without their star defensive senior.
Arkansas took advantage of his absence, piling on scores and putting Mizzou down by two touchdowns at the start of the 4th quarter.
Just when it seemed the Tigers were on the ropes, Tyler Badie broke free for a 46-yard touchdown run, capping off a 2 play, 34 second drive, making the score 40-33.
Mizzou would use that energy to force multiple punts and score the game-tying touchdown on Larry Rountree's third touchdown of the game with 7:46 left to play.
Mizzou took the lead on a Tyler Badie touchdown 3 minutes later. But Arkansas drove down the field and scored to pull within one point on a Mike Woods touchdown catch with just 43 seconds remaining. Instead of tying the game with an extra point the Razorbacks took the lead on a bizarre 2 point conversion. Quarterback KJ Jefferson's pass was broken up and nearly intercepted by Mizzou linebacker Jamal Brooks. But Brooks failed to haul in the pass and Woods caught the ball off the deflection to give Arkansas the 48-47 lead.
Missouri drove down the field with several big plays to set up the game-winner by Mevis. The victory improved Mizzou to (5-3) on the season and ensures the Tigers will finish the first season under Drinkwitz with at least a .500 record.
"That's pretty cool," said Drinkwitz when asked about the accomplishment.
"I hadn't thought about it but that's pretty cool."