Missouri holds off Arkansas 29-27 to reach bowl eligibility

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri and Arkansas will be headed to similar bowl games after the Tigers held off the Razorbacks 29-27 on Saturday night, leaving each of the bitter border rivals 6-6 on the season.

Only one walked out of Faurot Field with victory cigars.

Brady Cook threw for 242 yards and a touchdown while running for 138 yards and a score, and Missouri’s defense stuffed Arkansas when it mattered in the fourth quarter, allowing the Tigers to avenge last year’s loss to the Razorbacks.

“We wanted it so bad,” admitted Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz, who said he bought cigars for the entire team in anticipation of reaching bowl eligibility. “We tried not to make it bigger than it was, but we were playing for more.”

Cody Schrader added 97 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Dominic Lovett – who had to ditch his own lit cigar on the way to the postgame new conference – had six catches for 130 yards, helping the Tigers (6-6, 3-5) qualify for a third bowl game in Drinkwitz’s first three seasons in Columbia.

“We only won by two,” Lovett said after smacking the tobacco taste out of his mouth, “but a win’s a win. We got it done.”

Arkansas (6-6, 4-4) had the ball twice with less than 8 minutes left and a chance to drive for a go-ahead field goal, but the Tigers forced three-and-outs both times and essentially ran out the clock on their first league win in a month.

“We’ve all been through hell – can I say hell? Well, I just said it twice,” Lovett said. “It was a good day all around.”

The Razorbacks’ KJ Jefferson threw for 205 yards with two touchdowns and an interception while running for a score, though he was constantly harassed by Missouri’s aggressive defensive front. Raheim Sanders, the league’s second-leading rusher, was held to just 47 yards on the ground with a touchdown reception.

“We’ve got a very disappointed locker room right now and we’d certainly like to get this taste out of our mouth in a bowl game,” Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman said, “but this is going to be hard to get rid of.”

Missouri actually scored on each of its first four drives yet still trailed at halftime.

That’s because the Razorbacks were better at reaching the end zone.

While the Tigers got touchdown runs from Schrader and Cook to cap long drives, they also had to settle for a pair of field goals from Harrison Mevis, including a chipshot after a drive stalled at the Arkansas 10 late in the first half.

The Razorbacks were forced to punt twice, thanks to Missouri’s pass rush, but they also got a short TD run from Jefferson and his touchdown pass to Matt Landers. And when the Razorbacks got the ball back with 5 1/2 minutes before the break, they breezed 75 yards down field and Jefferson hit Sanders out of the backfield for a 21-20 lead.

Missouri regained the lead in the third quarter when Luther Burden III caught a short pass, put a move on the Razorbacks’ Quincey McAdoo, and reached the end zone from 23 yards out. And after Jefferson was picked off moments later, Mevis hit his third field goal to give the Tigers a 29-21 advantage.

The Razorbacks had a chance to retake the lead in the fourth quarter, after they’d closed to within 29-24, but they couldn’t get into the end zone after first-and-goal at the Missouri 2 and Pittman settled for another field goal.

That wound up being the difference in the game.

“We felt like coming in here we were ready to go,” Pittman said, “and physically we just got whipped.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Arkansas simply made too many mistakes to beat anyone in the SEC. The offensive line gave up seven sacks, penalty flags flew at costly times and Pittman’s conservative play on fourth down may have cost the Razorbacks the game.

Missouri’s defense made stops when it mattered the most, particularly in the fourth quarter. They stuffed Arkansas at the goal line, then forced consecutive three-and-outs in the waning minutes to essentially run out the clock.

UP NEXT

Both teams await bowl destinations with the Tigers possibly jumping the Razorbacks in the pecking order. “Honestly,” Drinkwitz said, “I don’t give a crap where we play. It’s a bowl game, it’s a celebration. Wherever our administration thinks it’s best for us to go, we’ll saddle up and go.”

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

south carolina basketball
Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.