Beyond the box score: Big plays key Arkansas over Missouri

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  • Arkansas Razorbacks
    Arkansas Razorbacks
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Treylon Burks
    American football wide receiver

Future. Predicted.

In our morning pre-game Keys to the Game for Arkansas’ offense, we highlighted the Razorbacks’ need for balance while still exploiting the Missouri defense with the best offensive player Arkansas’ had since Darren McFadden.

Sure enough, the Hogs did exactly that.

Treylon Burks went off in possibly his last home game. KJ Jefferson spread the wealth to his receives and backs. And the Arkansas offense avoided almost any mistake in a 34-17 win over Missouri that was even more dominant than that.

It was quite the capper to Arkansas’ best season in a decade. The Hogs finished the regular season 8-4 and now only wait to see where they’ll play during bowl season.

1. Spread the wealth

Nov 26, 2021; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) takes a handoff from quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) during the first half against the Missouri Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

It was our No. 1 key for the Arkansas offense in beating Missouri before the game. The Razorbacks came through. Five different players had double-digit rushing yards. Six different players caught a pass. An offense led by Treylon Burks but that doesn’t need Superman efforts from Treylon Burks is a dangerous offense.

2. Burks, The Record-Setter

FAYETTEVILLE, AR – NOVEMBER 21: Treylon Burks #16 of the Arkansas Razorbacks catches a pass for a touchdown in the first half of a game against the LSU Tigers at Razorback Stadium on November 21, 2020 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Not to beat the drum again, but this was our No. 2 objective. Burks may have played his last game inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. If he did, it was a heck of a way to go out.

Burks had seven catches for 129 yards and a touchdown. The effort gave him 10 100-yard games in his career and six for the season. That’s one short of Anthony Lucas in history and leads all-time in one year. He also joined 1,000-yard club with output, becoming only the fourth receiver in school history to do so.

3. Big Plays Rule

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS – NOVEMBER 26: KJ Jefferson #1 of the Arkansas Razorbacks throws a pass during a game against the Missouri Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on November 26, 2021 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Ultimately, big plays were the difference in the game. Arkansas received them. Missouri didn’t.

The Razorbacks had six carries for double-digit yards and four passes that went for more than 35. Missouri had a grand total of one play that went for more than 17 yards.

4. One-issue Mizzou

Nov 26, 2021; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Tyler Badie (1) is tackled by Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Myles Slusher (2) during the first quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Badie may have become Missouri’s all-time single-season rushing leader, but he was about all the Tigers had going. A week after giving up 559 yards through the air against Alabama, Arkansas gave up just 65 to the Tigers as Mizzou quarterback Connor Bazelak was just 10 of 26 passing with an interception. The yardage total was the fewest through the air allowed by the Razorbacks since Texas gained just 57 yards in the Texas Bowl in the 2014 season.

5. Tackling Machines

Arkansas defender Bumper Pool against Tennessee during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

Linebacker Bumper Pool finished with a game-high 13 tackles, giving him 120 on the season. It’s the most tackles in a single season by an Arkansas defender since Martrell Speight had 128 in 2014. Pool would need 14 tackles in Arkansas’ bowl game to crack the Top 10 single-season leaders in school history.

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