PowerMizzou - Sunday grade card: Arkansas
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Sunday grade card: Arkansas

Each Sunday, PowerMizzou.com will hand out a position-by-position grade card for Missouri from Saturday's game. Here are the marks from the Tigers’ 34-17 loss at Arkansas in the regular-season finale.


Quarterback: Whether due to injury, loss of confidence or some other factor, Connor Bazelak has pretty clearly regressed as this season has progressed. Friday represented rock bottom — or, at least, Missouri fans hope. Bazelak started the game by missing a wide open Boo Smith for what should have been an easy touchdown. He never got on track. He finished the game having completed 10 of 26 passes for just 65 yards. That's Missouri's lowest passing output in a game since 2014. Bazelak also threw an interception. In the second half, Bazelak threw for just 14 yards. He was ultimately pulled in favor of backup Brady Cook, who didn't throw a pass but did lead Missouri to its only touchdown of the game. GRADE: F

Running backs: While Missouri's offense as a whole struggled, it wasn't Tyler Badie's fault. Badie capped off a historic regular season with another ridiculous performance. Missouri force-fed him a career-high 41 carries, which he turned into 219 rushing yards. It marked Badie's fifth game with more than 200 yards on the ground this season. In the process, he passed Devin West for the most rushing yards in a single season in school history. As of Friday evening, Badie ranks second in the nation in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage. GRADE: A

Missouri running back Tyler Badie ran for 219 yards on 41 carries at Arkansas and broke the Missouri record for rushing yards in a single season.
Missouri running back Tyler Badie ran for 219 yards on 41 carries at Arkansas and broke the Missouri record for rushing yards in a single season. (Nelson Chenault/USA Today)

Wide receivers: While Bazelak wasn't good, he didn't get much help from his pass-catchers. Aside from Smith on the first drive, Missouri's receivers rarely found separation from the Arkansas defensive backs. Keke Chism made a nice catch on Missouri's lone play that gained more than 20 yards, but aside from that, the receivers didn't make any grabs on 50-50 balls. The Tigers' lack of a game-breaking talent like Treylon Burks was painfully evident Friday. GRADE: C-

Tight Ends: With Daniel Parker Jr. sidelined by an illness, Missouri used true freshman Ryan Hoerstkamp quite a bit in a blocking role and Messiah Swinson caught a pass for eight yards. Swinson did move the chains on his catch, but he also slid like a quarterback. You'd like to see a player listed at 6-foot-8, 250 pounds fight for extra yardage. Starter Niko Hea had just one catch for four yards. GRADE: C

Offensive line: Eli Drinkwitz bemoaned Missouri's penalties for derailing several offensive possessions, and three key flags came from the offensive line. Center Michael Maietti got called for a chop block and a hold. Right guard Connor Wood also drew a holding flag. Those penalties all came in Arkansas territory. The offensive line clearly did something right in the run game to have a 200-yard rusher, but Bazelak frequently found himself under duress. Arkansas got credited with seven quarterback hurries — that's a pressure on more than a quarter of Missouri's drop-backs. GRADE: D

Defensive line: The defensive line wasn't quite as disruptive as it has been in Missouri's last two games, but it didn't return to the struggles we saw early this season, either. The Tigers allowed Arkansas to rush for 163 yards, which may seem like a lot, but that's more than 50 yards below the Hogs' season average, and 33 of those yards came from receivers, which isn't really on the defensive line. Defensive ends Trajan Jeffcoat and, especially, Isaiah McGuire made some plays, with McGuire recording 1.5 sacks. The defensive tackles were much less noticeable. GRADE: C+

Linebackers: Blaze Alldredge continued his incredible in-season turnaround with a dominant first half. Alldredge sacked K.J. Jefferson on a blitz, stopped Dominique Johnson with a one-on-one, open-field tackle on third and one and forced a fumble, which fellow linebacker Chad Bailey recovered. Alldredge finished the game with a team-high 11 tackles. Bailey wasn't nearly as effective. He only recorded one tackle and missed at least one, on Jefferson's 49-yard run. GRADE: B-

Secondary: Arkansas owed much of its offensive success to big plays. All six of the Razorbacks' scores came after a gain of at least 30 yards. And most of those explosive plays resulted from miscues in the Missouri secondary. Free safety Jaylon Carlies bit hard on a play fake and got beat by Burks on his long gain in the first half. In the second, Burks simply beat true freshman DJ Jackson in single coverage. The Mizzou secondary, particularly Allie Green IV, got turned around on a screen pass that De'Vion Warren took for 55 yards. GRADE: D

Special Teams: Along with Badie, Harrison Mevis was the bright spot for Missouri. Mevis got back on track after his late miss against Florida, drilling all three of his field goal attempts Friday, each from more than 40 yards. In addition to his kickoff duties, Sean Koetting punted instead of Grant McKinniss and filled in admirably, averaging 46.7 yards per boot. Not much happened in the return game for either side. GRADE: A-

Coaching: Part of the responsibility for Missouri's woeful passing output has to fall on not just Bazelak's shoulders, but Drinkwitz's. Drinkwitz, who also serves as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, has continued to stick with Bazelak behind center this season, saying he gives Missouri the best chance to win. It's easy to second-guess that given Bazelak's performance of late. But more glaring is the fact that, even though Drinkwitz left Bazelak in the game until the final drive, he didn't show much trust in his quarterback. Missouri handed the ball off 46 times and Drinkwitz continually called for runs or screen passes in long down and distance scenarios and at the end of the first half. His play-calling stood in stark contrast to Arkansas and its array of trick plays, downfield shots and misdirection. GRADE: D

Final Overall Grade: C-