Grading the bowl-bound Missouri Tigers after their 29-27 victory over Arkansas Hogs

L.G. Patterson/AP

Here are The Star’s grades and superlatives from Missouri’s 29-27 victory over Arkansas on Friday — a win that gave the Tigers their sixth victory and made them bowl-eligible.

Player of the game

Quarterback Brady Cook is trending in the right direction. His 138 rushing yards was a career best, and he’s thrown seven touchdown passes without an interception in his last three games (stats on two-point attempts don’t count, so Cook doesn’t get dinged for that pick). Cook’s 22-yard third-down completion to Mekhi Miller on Missouri’s final drive was clutch and clinched the game.

Play of the game

The Tigers got a Luther Burden special for a touchdown. Burden lined up on the left and didn’t move when the ball was snapped. Cook rifled a pass; Burden’s spin move shook one defender and he out-legged others to the end zone for his fifth receiving touchdown and eighth overall this season. The score gave Missouri a 26-21 lead.

Stat of the game

The Tigers rolled up 191 total yards in the first quarter.

REPORT CARD

Offense: A

With a season highs in points and total yards (468), this was easily the best game of the season for the MU offense against an SEC opponent. It marked the first time the Tigers had topped 400 in such a game. Cook was the key, and big games also were turned in by wide receiver Dominic Lovett, with 130 yards, and running back Cody Schrader, with 87 rushing yards and a touchdown. Officially, no turnovers for the Tigers.

Defense: B

When it had to come up big, Missouri delivered consecutive three-and-outs in the fourth quarter. Sacks by Kristian Williams and Martez Manuel were the turning-point moments in those possessions. The 325 total yards allowed by Missouri was 399 fewer than what the Tigers allowed to Tennessee in their previous SEC game.

Special teams: B

Harrison Mevis nailed his first three field-goal attempts but missed his fourth, from 54 yards. Cook did Mevis no favors by taking a sack on the previous play and making it a longer kick.

Next: With the victory, Missouri improved to 6-6 overall and 3-5 in SEC play and is assured of a postseason game. The Tigers have now been bowl-eligible in all three seasons under head coach Eli Drinkwitz.

Two years ago, they were aligned against Iowa in the Music City bowl but didn’t participate because the pandemic. Last year, Mizzou fell to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl.

It might be notable that a representative from the Liberty Bowl attended Friday’s game at Faurot Field. Bowl invitations are set to be finalized on Dec. 4.