COLUMBIA, Missouri — Arkansas is used to wearing down opposing teams. On Friday, it was the Razorbacks who became tired in the fourth quarter.
"I think we were a little bit defeated there in the end," coach Bret Bielema said.
Brandon Allen completed 13 of 30 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns and Jonathan Williams ran 72 yards, but Arkansas lost 21-14 at No. 17 Missouri on Friday. The Razorbacks led 14-6 at halftime but only gained 122 yards in the final 30 minutes.
Arkansas (6-6, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) was driving for the tie when Kentrell Brothers stripped Alex Collins and Markus Golden recovered with 2:13 to go at the Missouri 35-yard line to thwart Arkansas' bid to tie it. The Razorbacks held the ball for just 4:24 in the final quarter and 27:17 in the game after leading the SEC in time of possession (34:00) entering the game.
Allen shook off an injury to his right hip incurred last week against Mississippi to make the start, and said he convinced Bielema as the game progressed to leave him in. While Missouri (10-2, 7-1) didn't record any sacks, the Tigers did hit Allen five times.
"Late in the last couple drives, he asked me, 'Hey, are you still good?'" Allen said. "I told him I was fine. I wanted to stay in. It was my decision to stay in."
While Allen wasn't "100 percent," according to Bielema, the Razorbacks struggled to contain Missouri's rushing attack in the second half. The Tigers ran 136 yards after the break after allowing 99 rushing yards combined to Mississippi and LSU in the last two weeks.
Arkansas shut out both teams to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2011, but couldn't defeat the final of eight SEC opponents to play the Razorbacks while ranked in the top 20.
Collins gained 59 yards on the ground to surpass 1,000 rushing yards for the season, joining Williams, who reached the mark last week. It's the third time in school history the team has had two players run for 1,000 yards.
A sellout crowd of 71,168 stuck around for the fourth quarter surge by the Tigers that kept Georgia out of the Southeastern Conference title game on Dec. 7 in Atlanta. The Bulldogs (9-2, 6-2) would have won the East by virtue of a blowout victory against Missouri earlier in the season.
Fans mobbed the field after Maty Mauk's kneel down ended it and Ray Charles' version of "Georgia on My Mind" played while the stadium slowly emptied. It's the fifth division title (outright or shared) in eight seasons for Missouri (two in the SEC and three in the Big 12), which also reached 10 victories for the fifth time in 14 seasons under coach Gary Pinkel.
Williams had a 23-yard scoring catch in the first quarter - the sixth consecutive game the Razorbacks have scored on their first drive. Dan Skipper blocked a field goal and punter Sam Irwin-Hill ran for a first down and pinned Missouri at the 2-yard line early the fourth.
Missouri had one interception and could have easily had two more turnovers in the second quarter. Trey Flowers stripped Mauk on a sack and Taiwan Johnson recovered at the Tigers 19-yard line with 1:16 to go, but officials ruled after video review that Mauk's arm had been going forward with the ball and the Tigers had enough time for Andrew Baggett's 50-yard field goal to end the half.
"There were so many tipped balls that seemed like they were in the air for five seconds, and our guys just couldn't quite get to them," Bielema said. "One of these days, the ball's going to bounce our way pretty well."
The teams exchanged turnovers on consecutive plays near midfield in the second, Golden's forced fumble on Williams followed by D.J. Dean's interception on a tipped pass for Arkansas. Missouri avoided another turnover when Marcus Murphy muffed a fair catch but recovered the fumbled punt.
Arkansas held opponents scoreless for nine straight quarters and a total of 148 minutes, 58 seconds before Baggett's career-long 52-yard field early in the second to cut the gap to 7-3. Flowers' 12-yard sack on third down pushed the Tigers back before Baggett beat his previous best by 8 yards.
"I'll put our 6-6 football team against anybody," Bielema said. "As we proved here today, they're going to go play in Atlanta for a chance to win an SEC championship. I bet you they don't want to go play four quarters again."