Ish Witter (Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports)

Missouri-Arkansas Game Preview

Missouri (3-8, 1-6) hosts Arkansas (7-4, 3-4) in a Southeastern Conference game on Friday afternoon.

Arkansas at Missouri

1:30 p.m. CT Friday 

Memorial Stadium

TV: CBS

Series: Missouri leads 4-3

Last meeting: Arkansas, 28-3 (Nov. 27, 2015 at Arkansas)

Over/under: 74

Spread: Missouri +8

LINKS

Barry Odom on SEC teleconference (premium)

Missouri fires DL coach Jackie Shipp

Bret Bielema on SEC teleconference (premium)

Video: Missouri players meet the media (premium)

Video: Missouri linebacker Eric Beisel

Video: Barry Odom press conference Nov. 21

Missouri-Arkansas by the numbers

Missouri media day notebook

Missouri freshman RB Crockett arrested

Rawleigh Williams III (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)

TIGER TRENDS

Missouri gained 420 yards rushing and 740 total yards against Tennessee, but the Volunteers pulled away with 28 fourth-quarter points and won 63-37. Freshman running back Damarea Crockett led the Tigers with a career-high 225 yards rushing and a touchdown on 24 carries.

The Tigers are averaging 256.7 rushing yards per game over their last six contests and are now averaging 211.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks seventh in the SEC. Arkansas, at 176.7 rushing yards per game, ranks 10th.

Missouri and Arkansas have two of the top three passing offenses in the Southeastern Conference. Missouri is second in the SEC — behind Mississippi (314.5 passing yards per game) — with 297.9 passing yards per game and Arkansas is third at 255.3. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock leads the league in passing yards (3,131) and Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen is second with 2,804.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Missouri RB Ish Witter

Witter is coming off a career game at Tennessee, when he carried the ball a career-high 31 times for a career-best 163 yards and scored two touchdowns. Crockett’s arrest for misdemeanor marijuana possession and subsequent suspension means Witter will be the focal point of Missouri’s running game. 

Arkansas RB Rawleigh Williams III

The sophomore running back is coming off a career game against Mississippi State where he ran 16 times for career-high 205 yards and four touchdowns, also a career best. For the season Williams has 1,209 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns along with 13 catches for 175 yards and a score.

Missouri DE Charles Harris

The Tigers’ redshirt junior defensive end has been a disruptive force the past four games with 30 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries. For the season, he’s up to 58 tackles, 12 for loss, and nine sacks in 11 games.

Drew Lock (Nate Latsch-Scout.com)

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Drew Lock vs. Austin Allen

The two quarterbacks come into Friday’s game with identical numbers in terms of touchdown passes (22) and interceptions (10), though Lock has 327 more passing yards and Allen has the edge in completion percentage (61.3% to 54.2%).

Allen, a redshirt junior, is coming off one of his better performances of the season. He completed 18 of 25 passes (72 percent) for 303 yards and two touchdowns in the Razorbacks’ 58-42 win at Mississippi State.

Lock, a sophomore, struggled in Missouri’s 63-37 loss at Tennessee. He completed 21 of 43 passes (48.8 percent) for 320 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown). He added a rushing touchdown, his first of the season. 

KEYS TO THE GAME

• Defense defense defense

The Tigers are last in the 14-team Southeastern Conference in total yards allowed per game (477.5), more than 20 yards behind the next closest team, Mississippi State. Missouri is last in rushing yards allowed (239.9 per game) and 12th in passing yards allowed (237.6). 

• Drew Lock

Lock has been much better at home this season than he has away from Faurot Field. In home games, with numbers inflated by Eastern Michigan and Delaware (10 touchdowns, no interceptions), Lock has completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 2,023 yards, 19 touchdowns and three interceptions. On the road he’s completed 46.6 percent for 1,108 yards, with three touchdowns and seven interceptions. 

• Missouri’s wide receivers

With Crockett out this week, it would be a good time for the Tigers wide receivers to step up and make a difference. Redshirt junior J'Mon Moore has been both brilliant (56 receptions for 877 yards and eight touchdowns) and inconsistent (three fumbles, too many drops). Freshman Dimetrios Mason (42 catches for 525 yards and three TDs) and redshirt freshman Johnathon Johnson (22 catches for 365 yards and one touchdown) have both shown big-play ability but also inconsistency with drops and fumbles.

VISITOR

Missouri will have a key recruit on campus for an official visit in Butler County Community College cornerback Octavious Morgan

The four-star JUCO prospect could step in and compete for a starting spot with the Tigers right away next season because Barry Odom's squad will graduate both starting cornerbacks, Aarion Penton and John Gibson

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com

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