The Arkansas Razorbacks will get back to the gridiron Saturday morning for the Battle Line Rivalry game against the Missouri Tigers. It will be the first game in two weeks for the Hogs, whose COVID-19 outbreak forced them to play shorthanded in the 27-24 loss to LSU and the one-week postponement of the upcoming contest.
Instead of playing Arkansas last week, the Tigers welcomed Vanderbilt to the Show-Me State and promptly stomped the Commodores, 41-0. A win against the Razorbacks this week would ensure a .500 season for first-year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz, and keep the Hogs from reaching the same threshold for the fourth straight year.
As Arkansas looks to end a four-game skid in Battle Line Rivalry games, here are the official Traveler staff score predictions.
Robert Stewart, Sports Editor
I was riding the optimism of the Razorbacks’ 3-3 start pretty high, but the way these two teams are trending leaves me with a bad gut feeling. The Tigers are hot and have momentum on their side, while the Hogs have dropped consecutive games for the first time all year. Additionally, Arkansas has not pulled out a win in this “rivalry game” since 2015. The Hogs will be missing safety Jalen Catalon’s presence in the first half, which does not bode well for the Arkansas defense. This is definitely the best shot the Razorbacks have had to claim the Battle Line trophy in a while, but I will believe they can win this game when I see it.
PREDICTION: Missouri 27, Arkansas 24
Mason Choate, Football Beat Writer
This game is the one most fans had marked as winnable for Arkansas entering the season. Missouri has won four out of its last five games and the Hogs have lost three of their last four. The Tigers have improved on offense each game and freshman quarterback Connor Bazelak is hitting his stride at the right time. The Razorbacks are coming off a much-needed bye week and they are playing to earn respect. Missouri has the SEC's third-best total defense, but I will take Feleipe Franks and his experience over Bazelak.
PREDICTION: Arkansas 28, Missouri 24
Jackson McAfee, Sports Reporter
I think the Arkansas Razorbacks will be hot headed going into Saturday. After a heartbreaking loss to the LSU Tigers, the Razorbacks are going to be in better shape with a hopefully full roster after COVID-19 related issues. Arkansas had 56 scholarship players available against LSU. The offense has been connecting well and the defense has continued to be outstanding. Even though the Missouri Tigers shut out the Vanderbilt Commodores, 41-0, the defense is dead last in the conference in the turnover department and tackles. On the other hand, the Razorback defense leads the SEC in both categories. The Arkansas offense should not be scared to throw the long ball in this one. This should be a well-deserved win for the Hogs after the recent matchups in the Battle Line Rivalry. Head coach Sam Pittman and the Hogs are fired up and ready.
PREDICTION: Arkansas 31, Missouri 20
Braden Sarver, Sports Reporter
Arkansas’ defense has not been at its best in the past few games. However, the Hogs had an extra week to prepare for the game with Missouri and they will be playing defensive coordinator Barry Odom’s former team, so he should be able to create a very good game plan. Missouri will not be an easy team to stop, even with a solid preparation. Their quarterback is the reigning SEC freshman of the week after a dominant 41-0 win against Vanderbilt and running back Larry Rountree III had 160 yards on the ground. It is an even matchup and should come down to the wire.
PREDICTION: Arkansas 23, Missouri 20