Thursday, December 2, 2021

Mizo’s Drinkwitz returns to Arkansas for a game of rivalry. NWN News

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (NWN) — Just 45 miles of the Interstate Highway separates Eli Drinkwitz from where he started and where he now serves as Missouri’s head football coach.

Growing up in the small Arkansas town of Alma, Drinkewitz will come full circle on Friday when his Tigers move to No. 25 Arkansas in the final game of the regular season.

Drinkwitz, 38, can trace his rise to his days as a preparation standout for Alma Airedales and longtime coach Frank Wines, and to early coaching stops under Gus Malzan at Springdale High School, Arkansas State and Auburn. I through. He landed his first head coaching job at the Appalachian State and used it as a springboard for Missouri and the Southeastern Conference.

Drinkwitz credits his former high school coach with planting the seeds that led to a career change. He planned to attend law school before Vince told him he would be a good football coach.

“They hired me for my first job,” Drinkewitz said. “Coach Vines inspired us to do our bit and rely on our teammates to do our job. He taught us that winning and losing games doesn’t define who you are. How you are a father and husband How will you be defined?

Razorbacks (7-4, 3-4 sec) have a Missouri flavor. Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom is the coach Drinkwitz replaced two years ago. There are several former Tigers coaches who are now part of the Arkansas staff, and two former players playing key roles for the Razorbacks in Trey Williams and Markel Utse.

On the other hand, two former Fayetteville High School standouts are senior in wide receiver Barrett Bannister and defensive lineman Akil Byers for Missouri (6-5, 3-4).

Missouri coming off a 24-23 overtime win against Florida led to coach Dan Mullen firing the Gators. The Tigers, who have won five straight games against the Razorbacks, claim the SEC’s top rusher in Tyler Baddie. He leads the SEC with a rush of 1,385 yards and has scored 17 touchdowns for the Tigers. He ran for 146 yards against Florida.

The Razorbacks are coming out to lose 42-35 to Alabama. Arkansas scored a late touchdown to pull within seven, but could not cover an onside kick at the end.

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson started his career last season in Missouri and played exceptionally well, with the team scoring less than a minute late to give the Razorbacks the lead. But as time ran out, the Tigers won 50–48 on a Harrison Mavis field goal.

Number of Burks

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Arkansas junior receiver Treylon Burke dominated last week against Alabama.

In a 42-35 loss, he caught eight passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns, helping him move up the school’s career charts. He has made 59 catches and 10 touchdowns for 975 yards this season.

Burkes took a hard shot attempting an onside kick at the end of the Alabama game, but coach Sam Pittman said he expected Burke to be ready to go on Friday.

Tigers take a tough stand against race

Missouri has kept its last two opponents running under 100 yards, and the Tigers have been opportunistic in capitalizing on turnover. Against South Carolina, Missouri converted three gamecock turnovers to 21 points in a 31–28 win.

“They’ve been moving more in the last few weeks,” Pittman said. “They bring a lot of pressure depending on your formation. He’s always worked hard, for me it’s just about the movement.”

trophy collection

Arkansas is 2–0 in trophy games this season, with a win in the Southwest Classic against Texas A&M, and defeating LSU to bring The Boot back to the state. This week’s game is called Battle Line Rivalry, in which another big trophy goes to the winner. Missouri has owned the trophy for the past five seasons.

hard bauer

Arkansas punter Reid Bauer pulled out of the field goal formation for a touchdown pass to Blake Kern in one of the year’s best special teams plays against Alabama last week.

The play almost never materialized.

“When we put it in, he couldn’t hit the wide of a barn,” Pittman said. “But I would give (Special Teams Coordinator Scott) Fountain and Bauer credit. They kept asking me if they could run it, but I told them if you can’t throw it we’re not going to run it.

Pittman’s gamble worked, as Kern ran into Bauer’s pass and saved 11:24 from 32 yards for the score that pulled the razorback to within 34-28.

test friendliness

Drinkwitz said he expects to have some friendly faces in the crowd on Friday with his ties to the field, but admitted those feelings may change once play resumes.

“I don’t know who will be on our side or against us, but there will be a lot of people I consider friends, or friends, before kickoff,” he said.

Drinkewitz was unsure whether Wines would participate on Friday.

“If he wants to be on the sidelines, I can call him plays,” joked Drinkwitz.

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