Arkansas-Missouri: Score predictions and players to watch
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas will host Missouri at 1:30 p.m. CT on Friday inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
To help get you ready for the game, SEC Country’s Arkansas reporters Trent Shadid, Eric Bolin and John Nabors provide their score predictions and players to watch below.
Missouri 35, Arkansas 28 — Trent Shadid
Despite the direction both teams are trending coming into the game, I’m expecting this game to be highly competitive. Bret Bielema’s players love him and they realize this is likely the final game at Arkansas for their coach. That should elicit an inspired effort that will give the Razorbacks a chance to win Friday. But in the end, I don’t think it’ll be quite enough.
Arkansas 31, Missouri 28 — Eric Bolin
I’m going there. Arkansas played its absolute best game of the season last week against Mississippi State. The Razorbacks play like that Friday against Missouri, they win. That simple. Of course, we haven’t seen that Arkansas team too many times this season so there isn’t much reason to believe it can do it. But I’m saying, sure. I have zero confidence in this and mostly I’m picking it because, well, it’s what I picked at the beginning of the season: A 5-7 record.
Missouri 45, Arkansas 20 — John Nabors
The Hogs lose to the Tigers for the third time in four years. Missouri has had things rolling the past few weeks. The Tigers have found a way to become bowl eligible when it looked like an impossibility earlier this season. They will come out extra motivated since they care a lot more about this rivalry than Arkansas. The Bielema era at Arkansas ends with a big loss in front of the smallest crowd in Razorback stadium history.
Players to watch
CB Kamren Curl — Trent Shadid
Curl has often had to play in man-to-man coverage on the outside with no help from a safety as Arkansas stacks the box in an effort to stop the run. That’s resulted in every opponent throwing deep passes Curl’s way to see if the youngster can hold up. For the most part, the true freshman has held his own. But Mizzou presents a more difficult challenge than any he’s seen. The Tigers lead the nation in completions of 50 or more yards with 16. How Curl holds up against the deep shots Friday should go a long way toward determining the outcome.
CB Henre’ Toliver — Eric Bolin
Missouri throws and throws and throws some more. That means Arkansas’ defensive backs are going to be busy. Toliver is the one I’m watching closest. A four-year starter, he’s had a curious career. Ups and downs. At one point earlier this year he was one of the top shutdown corners in the SEC. That’s faded a bit. But Toliver is still a man who has ideas about the NFL, and he has the talent to get there. Let’s see what he does against an elite passing team.
QB Cole Kelley — John Nabors
Bielema said Kelley is back with the team and is listed as the second-string quarterback against Mizzou. Look for “The Franchise” to come in for the steamboat package for some designed running plays. If Austin Allen doesn’t play well, Kelley may get another chance at re-energizing the offense in their last hurrah.