OPINION — Like It Is

OPINION | WALLY HALL: The fight was the best part of a lousy game


FAYETTEVILLE -- It's obligatory to write it, but there's no place on the field for fighting even when guys are trying to knock each other down on every play.

Late in the first half Saturday, a brawl broke out when Missouri guard Cam'Ron Johnson, for no clear or obvious reason since the play was past them, shoved Arkansas Razorback defensive end Zach Williams down and fell on him. Arkansas' John Morgan knocked Johnson off his teammate, and then it got heated.

If the referees, who did a poor job of handling the situation, hadn't finally gotten the teams separated, Tiger tackle Armand Membou might still be throwing punches and Williams looked like he might knock out half of the Missouri team.

Those two were penalized and ejected, yet Johnson remained in the game and threw the key block on Missouri's second touchdown en route to a 48-14 win at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Originally, Razorback Eric Gregory was tossed too, but after a review his suspension was lifted. But the referees didn't see Johnson started the melee.

The fight was better than the game.

Unfortunately, that was the high point of the first half for the Razorbacks, who had two first downs, didn't make it into Missouri territory until its 10th drive and was on offense only 8:48 to the Tigers' 21:12 in the opening half.

With just 50 yards of total offense, the Razorbacks went into intermission down 20-0 on the score and 1-0 on the TKO.

The fight would never have been the high point for Missouri as they opened with 276 yards of total offense in the first half, 204 of it on the ground, and the performance of senior Cody Schrader was almost mind-boggling.

The former walk-on from St. Louis, who goes 5-9 and 214 pounds, outgained the Hogs by 142 yards by himself. He rushed for 192 yards on 22 carries in the first half and 217 total. He only carried five times in the second half.

A strong candidate to win the Burlsworth Award for the outstanding player who began his college career as a walk-on, Schrader was making his case in the very stadium where Brandon Burlsworth worked himself from walk-on to All-American and a third-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts.

Burlsworth was killed in a car wreck before playing in an NFL game.

The game itself was like most of this season, disappointing.

It was a game of lasts for the Razorbacks: The final chance to end the season on a high note, last game between an SEC West and SEC East team, maybe the last game as a Razorback for KJ Jefferson, who went through senior day honors before the game, and perhaps the final time to play on CBS, which will televise its final regular-season broadcast of an SEC game today when Alabama and Auburn meet in the Iron Bowl.

Jefferson was lost for the game with 8:59 to play in the first quarter after a 22-yard run that ended with the redshirt senior holding a knee and the ball on the ground.

It was one of six fumbles by the Razorbacks, although the Tigers didn't need any gifts because all the turnovers did was pad the score that most likely will help land them in a New Year's Six game with a 10-2 record.

In front of a few thousand fans, Arkansas drove into Missouri territory for the first time with a little more than a minute to play in the third quarter.

The drive ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jacolby Criswell to Andrew Armstrong in the fourth quarter.

The Razorbacks followed that with a 70-yard drive that resulted on Isiah Augustave's 6-yard touchdown run. Both drives were mostly against Missouri backups.

Other than those touchdowns, the fight was the Hogs' highlight.