Missouri Tigers (5-6) vs Arkansas Razorbacks (2-9)
Coach: Barry Odom
Missouri Players to watch
*Junior TE Albert Okwuegbunam (6-5/255)
A native of Springfield, Il, Okwuegbunam was named second team All-SEC last season. A game-changing tight end who had a potentially award-winning season cut short by what proved to be a season-ending injury in game nine at Florida. Prior to the injury, had proved to be among the top pass-catching tight ends in the nation, and was even named a finalist for the John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation’s top player at the position. Okwuegbunam ended the year with 43 catches for 466 yards (both career highs) and six touchdowns in his nine games.
Okwuegbunam is on every scouts radar, he can run a 4.4 forty and max squat 650 pounds. He needs to continue to improve his blocking, and his route running to create better separation, but there will be a team that will fall in love with his speed and build.
*Junior DT Jordan Elliott (6-4/315)
Elliott is one of the key players who makes the entire Missouri Tigers defense go. He is responsible for getting the push up front to clear the way for the big plays Cale Garrett and Nick Bolton are freed up to make. Elliott, a Texas transfer, has eight tackles-for-loss, two sacks, and two passed defended, so far this year. He has been one of the best defensive linemen in the SEC, and those guys rarely stay in college. Look for him to make the jump to the next level after the season is over.
**Sophomore LB Nick Bolton (6-0/235)
Defensive Coordinator Ryan Walters’ unit has played arguably its best football of the season during this on-going losing streak. Against ranked opponents Georgia and Florida, both of which have offenses in the top half of the SEC, Missouri allowed just four touchdowns.
Everything for the Missouri Tigers’ defense starts with a great push up front. But the guys on the back end of the front seven who take advantage of that are also crucial, and they make the most splash plays.
Nick Bolton fits that bill. The sophomore linebacker has had to step up his game even more in Cale Garrett’s absence, and he has done just that. For the season, he leads the team in tackles with 84, solo tackles with 61, and tackles for a loss with eight and a half. He has twice as many tackles as any other individual on Mizzou.
On top of that, though, Bolton is an elite playmaker in coverage. He has two interceptions on the year in addition to four pass deflections, and he has returned one of those interceptions back for a touchdown.
Senior PK/P Tucker McCann (6-2/215)
“That’s what you do as a kicker, you focus on the next kick,” McCann said. “The little things relate to the bigger things. It’s really just focusing on the little things, first of all, and then that’ll make the bigger things worth it.”
The O’Fallon, Illinois, native has dreams and expectations going forward, but he knows the circumstances under which he kicks the best. “One thing I’ve learned being here is just to stay in the moment,” McCann said. “Anytime I’ve thought about what’s next or the past or anything like that is when I haven’t performed as well.”
Senior LB Cale Garrett (6-3/230)
Missouri received crushing injury news midway through their season, that middle linebacker Cale Garrett is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season. Garrett suffered a pectoral tendon injury during the team’s 42-10 win over Troy on October 5. He will underwent surgery on following Tuesday.
Garrett didn’t play during the second half of the win, but when he was on the field, he continued his All-American caliber senior season. He intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown, his third score in as many games. He is the first Missouri defensive player ever to find the end zone in three games in a row and just the second Tiger ever to score three defensive touchdowns in a season.
Coach: Barry Lunney Jr.
Arkansas Players to watch:
Senior DT MeTelvin Agim (6-3/285)
Agim, from Texarkana, Texas, has started all 12 games this season for the Razorbacks, recording 36 tackles, 19 solo, the most by an Arkansas lineman this year. He has 8.5 tackles for loss, with five sacks, three quarterback hurries, a fumble forced and a fumble recovered.
He’s tallied at least 7.5 tackles for loss in each of the last three years, including 10 last year, making him the first Razorback with double-digit TFLs since Deatrich Wise Jr. in 2015. He has 31.5 tackles-for-loss over his collegiate career, putting him 1.5 away from 10th on the career TFL list at Arkansas, while sitting at 14.5 sacks, needing two more to crack the top 10 mark by a Razorback.
*Junior RB Rakeem Boyd (6-0/200)
Boyd, a Texas A&M transfer, sits near the top of the SEC rushing leader board. “I’ve paid attention to detail and really got in the playbook a little bit, and started watching a little film with my linemen,” he said.
”I kind of like them to critique me every time I run the ball or make a pass play, or scan the defense. I’ve got a little bit better at it. Last year I just came in and wasn’t ready to focus in. Now I’m just locked in.” Boyd is on pace for a 1,200 yard rushing season on a team that has played four different quarterbacks. What makes him special is his ability to stick his foot in the ground and make people miss.
***Freshman WR Treylon Burks (6-3/225)
Arkansas ranks 106th nationally in scoring (22.3 points per game) and total offense (353.5 yards per game), so there have been few bright spot beyond Boyd. Howver, redshirt freshman WR Treylon Burks has been a breath of fresh air this season. He leads the Razorbacks in yards receiving with 389 on 25 receptions. He also has rushed for 28 yards and is the primary punt returner, fielding 12 for an average of 10.8 yards.
Senior MLB De’Jon “Scoota” Harris (6-0/245)
Harris, from Harvey, Louisiana, leads the team in total tackles this season with 82, which ranks third in the SEC. He has 3.5 tackles for loss this season, two pass breakups, two quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one fumble forced.
He is 18 tackles away from his third consecutive 100-tackle season, which would make him the fourth Razorback ever to tally 100 or more tackles in three-straight seasons. He has four double-digit tackle games this season and 19 over his collegiate career.
Senior TE Cheyenne O’Grady (6-4/251)
On Nov. 4th then-HC Chad Morris announced that “C.J.” O’Grady would be suspended from team indefinitely.
A bumpy road for Arkansas tight end CJ O’Grady has come to an end after not playing in Saturday’s loss to Mississippi State (Nov 2).When asked about the O’Grady following the game, Chad Morris said O’Grady was suspended and did not mention reasoning. Morris announced at a press conference that the two agreed the O’Grady would “step away” from the football program. Saturday was the third time O’Grady has been suspended in his career as a Razorback. The first came from Bret Bielema, when O’Grady was arrested as a true freshman and charged with driving while intoxicated.
However, O’Grady will be NLF Draft eligible this year. So, I thought it worth mentioning a spectacular effort play he had earlier in the season: a highlight play definitely worth seeing.
O’Grady caught a 15-yard pass to the sideline and was immediately jumped on by a Colorado State defender. O’Grady, with said defender on his back, ran another 10 yards down the field. Two more Rams show up, they also fail to tackle him; then two more show up. Now he’s got five Rams on him, he’s got the ball covered up, when he slips out of the pack. His hand touches the ground to regain his balance. A wide receiver shows up to run interference, as O’Grady runs it 30 more yards into the endzone. A must see play.
O’Grady was a bright spot for the Hogs during a struggling season as the leading receiver with 33 catches for 373 yards and three touchdowns. The stellar performance comes after his breakout junior year – catching 30 passes for 400 yards and six touchdowns, despite playing in just seven games.
Razorback Stadium – SyntheticTurf
Nov. 30 | Fayetteville, Arkansas
*Be sure to check out the latest College Football Playoff Rankings.