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Arkansas Razorbacks 28, Missouri Tigers 3: Gary Pinkel Exits as Bret Bielema Wins

The Tigers offense once again failed to get much traction, and the winningest coach in Mizzou's history left the stage with a loss

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Any hope that Gary Pinkel's retirement would have any rallying effect on the Missouri Tigers as they faced the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday didn't last very long. After forcing a pair of three-and-outs by Arkansas on its first two drives, Mizzou promptly allowed three touchdowns to the Hogs by the end of the first half. With a 21-3 lead in hand by the time the second quarter ended, the chances that the Razorbacks would cough up an upset to the Tigers and their anemic offense were already pretty much gone.

And it was another dreadful performance by the Missouri offense in a season full of them. The Tigers had four drives that lasted more than four plays; by contrast, they had six three-and-outs, not counting a drive at the end of the first half. Drew Lock was 9-of-27 passing for 83 yards and an interception. Mizzou averaged 3.3 yards per offensive snap, had eight first downs and was a combined 2-of-16 on third and fourth down. The Tigers held the ball for less than 20 minutes.

Without being challenged much, Arkansas didn't try to do too much. Brandon Allen, one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country, was just 11-of-17 passing for 102 yards and an interception. Instead, Arkansas ran the ball 52 times for 208 yards and four touchdowns. Alex Collins had 30 rushing attempts for 130 yards and three of those touchdowns.

The win continues Arkansas' late-season surge, which could serve them well in the bowl-selection process, though it's a little bit less influenced by finicky bowl executives now that the SEC central office runs the process. At the very least, it opens up the possibility of an 8-5 season for the Razorbacks and more evidence that Bret Bielema's rebuilding project is headed in the right direction.

But it's undeniably sad that Gary Pinkel had to go out like this. Pinkel has made it relatively clear he doesn't want to coach the Tigers in a bowl game even if too few teams qualify for the postseason and Missouri is selected as a 5-7 team. Very few coaching tenures end on a high note, but Pinkel remains the winningest coach in Missouri history despite a miserable final season. Years from now, it will not be this game but the rest of his tenure that Pinkel will be remembered for.