By Patrick Kelly
In what was one of the most wild fourth quarters in recent memory for Mizzou fans, the Eli Drinkwitz era officially starts its first season with a 50-48 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks. That puts the Tigers at 5-3, which is nothing short of incredible in this shortened all SEC schedule season. The last win didn’t come without its challenges though. The game was a ping pong match back and forth with the Tigers jumping out to an early lead only for it to be erased by halftime, going down seven.
How Mizzou went down seven has been the talk around town since the game ended. Mizzou linebacker Nicholas Bolton applied a hard hit to wide receiver John David White. Despite leading with his shoulder and making no contact with the head, it was ruled targeting and Bolton was ejected in his final home game as a Tiger. The Razorbacks roared down the field following the call and capped it off with a touchdown to go into halftime.
This is a team that has built resilience and the sense was the Tigers weren’t going to give up. It was a crazy second half with both teams exchanging blows with Mizzou down by 14 halfway through the fourth quarter. The rush to the buzzer started with a massive 49-yard run by Tyler Badie who took advantage of one of six rushes he had in the game. Losing Bolton ended up being big as the Razorbacks scored three touchdowns in the second half including one with 43 seconds left that looked like it would be the final dagger. But Mizzou had one last chance and what happened next was nothing short of miraculous. Quarterback Connor Bazelak, with his back against the wall, didn’t complete one pass that wasn’t for 10 or more yards. Powering the Tigers down the field with a last short run up the middle to get a first down on the Razorbacks 15-yard line was all that was needed for freshman Harrison Mevis. He was perfect on the day, including having already made a 50-yarder. Mevis finished it with ease and the Tigers carried Bolton into the locker room capping off an incredible season in front of a partial crowd.
The Tigers still have a bowl to play given that everyone is bowl eligible, but this has been all Mizzou fans needed to know they have their guy in Drinkwitz. Perhaps the best part about the man they call Drink is how he ended his press conference, saying, “Mizzou Nation is getting excited about what we’re doing. Recruits are taking notice. And we’re not done.”
This is exactly what fans have been waiting for since Gary Pinkel left, a man that they can follow into battle knowing he is the best person to lead the University of Missouri to something special.