FAYETTEVILLE — Missouri head football coach Eliah Drinkwitz has been at Missouri for one year, but is enjoying the series with Arkansas according to a comment at Thursday’s SEC Media Days.
“I kind of like the rivalry we’ve got with Arkansas,” Drinkwitz said. “I don’t remember the last time they beat us, so I kind of like that one. And the battle line rivalry, it’s pretty good for us. I think we’ll just keep that one right now. That’s a good one.
Respect Sam (Pittman) and everything he’s doing with that program. He’s obviously doing a tremendous job. I’m from the state, so that makes it a little bit more special and a little added incentive.
“So I’m not going to speculate about anything. Just because y’all don’t think it’s a rivalry doesn’t mean it isn’t a rivalry. I know it means a whole heck of a lot to my household, and it means a heck of a lot to Barrett Banister’s household, and we like keeping that trophy at the end of the game, so I think we’ll go along with the one the commissioner set for us.”
Missouri, thanks to a 4-0 record from Barry Odom from 2016-19, now leads the all-time series with Arkansas 9-3 and have won the past five games. Arkansas’ last win in the series was a 28-3 victory in Fayetteville on Nov. 27, 2015.
Missouri won the thriller last year in Columbia 50-48 in the closing seconds. Arkansas played without starting quarterback Feleipe Franks and both teams lost a key linebacker during the game. Missouri’s Nick Bolton was ejected for a hit on an Arkansas player while Grant Morgan was injured.
Bannister is a wide receiver from Fayetteville and Akial Byers is a defensive lineman. Byers was one of the two players Drinkwitz took to Hoover.
“Those are two guys who do great in our program,” Drinkwitz said. “Banister is a guy who always seems to raise his game against the Arkansas Razorbacks. I guess it means more to him being from the state and playing against those guys. He is a guy that does all the little things right. He’s an extra gritty player. Works extremely hard at his craft to perform above his abilities on a day-to-day basis. He’s the type of player that Mizzou football has always been about. He’s the type of player that our fan base can really embrace because he’s a blue collar mentality, works for everything that he’s been given in life.
“Akial Byers is a young man who’s a leader on the defensive side of the ball. He has a lot of experience. Obviously, he’s from Fayetteville. He has the potential and has really invested himself into this season and into our football team. It’s a true honor for him to be here today. I was able to bring both an offensive and defensive lineman, again, just to emphasize to our team and to really our fan base that it’s got to start at the lines of scrimmage for us to be successful.”
The two teams will meet on Friday, Nov. 26, in Reynolds Razorback Stadium at 2:30 p.m. and televised nationally on CBS.