2020 featured a classic in the Battle Line Rivalry. Will the 2021 chapter be as exciting for Missouri football fans?
If you watched one Tigers game all last season, it was hopefully this matchup.
The 50-48 Tigers win was an offensive battle, with now-sophomore kicker Harrison Mevis drilling the game-winning field goal as time expired. The game also featured the largest fourth-quarter comeback in Missouri’s history, as the Tigers trailed 40-26 with 12:41 left in the game.
Traveling to Fayetteville may make this a sneaky competitive game for the Tigers.
Despite last year’s close call, the Razorbacks have been in the SEC cellar for quite some time. Having only six conference wins from 2016 through 2020, the fanbase is optimistic as head coach Sam Pittman accounted for three conference wins in 2020. For a first-year head coach, that is a quick turnaround. While a 3-7 record is not too much to celebrate, the Razorbacks fans are excited to see how Pittman can build into 2021.
The scary thing is how close the trajectory of Missouri and Arkansas are.
Both teams are recruiting similarly, with the Razorbacks consistently having top 30 recruiting classes, with the 2021 and 2022 classes ahead of Missouri. Add that to young and explosive talent like redshirt freshman quarterback KJ Jefferson and sophomore wide receiver Trylon Burks, and there is a recipe for success within the coming years.
While both sides of the ball are young for the Razorbacks, that should not hinder some units. The defensive line and offensive line could use some work, but the team fields a strong linebacking corps and defensive back corps.
Led by 2020 All-SEC safety Jalen Catalon, the Tigers may struggle to pass against the Razorbacks at the end of the year.
All of these put together, and that makes this season finale very important. Both teams will be looking to contend in the SEC East in 2022. The game’s outcome will set expectations for the following season.
Look for both programs to put it all on the line again, in another chapter of the Battle Line Rivalry.