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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — When you look in the mirror, it’s essentially the same every time.

When good football teams walk onto the field on game day, fans typically have a good sense of what to expect.

Not Missouri.

The Tigers that played in October have shape-shifted, morphed, body-swapped. Nothing that existed then resembles the present. Where they were once burned by oppositions, they now look fireproof. What once was cause for optimism, now is tough to watch.

In Friday’s 34-17 loss to Battle Line rival Arkansas, the Tigers were abysmal on offense and at defending the deep ball — two areas that not that long ago could be identified as strong points. By the same token, MU managed to limit what the Razorbacks were able to do on the run.

There are two consistencies on this Missouri team: Tyler Badie and Harrison Mevis. That hasn’t changed at any point this season.

Badie rushed for more yards than Bazelak threw against the Razorbacks. Way more. Badie had 219 yards on the ground and a touchdown to Bazelak’s 65 yards through the air.

Mevis, until the final minutes of the game, was the only Missouri player to put up points against the Hogs. He went 3 for 3 on field goals, converting from 46, 49 and 41 yards, in order.

Bright spots were few and far between for Missouri in the Battle Line game.

But one light blazed bright in the Tigers’ loss.

Blaze Alldredge racked up 11 tackles, including 1½ tackles for loss. He consistently got out to the meet the Arkansas run, limiting their action, especially in the first half.

His story is a picture-perfect copy of the Missouri rush-defense renaissance.

The Rice-transfer was dropped from the starting unit after a woeful first few weeks in black and gold. He was responsible for a lot of the good moments the Tigers had against the Hogs — few as those were.

After Jefferson punished the Tigers for 49-yards on Arkansas’ first drive of the day and on the QB’s first keeper of the day, Alldredge combined with Isaiah McGuire for the sack on a subsequent third down. The Hogs settled for a field goal after a first and 10.

At the opposite end of the first quarter, Jefferson handed it off to Trelon Smith on the first play of the possession, but Alldredge was all over him. He forced the fumble, and fellow linebacker Chad Bailey fell on it. On Missouri’s subsequent drive that bridged into the second quarter, Harrison Mevis drilled a 46-yard field goal to get Missouri on the board.

By the end of the half, he had more than double the amount of total tackles than anyone else on the defense — eight. His three tackles in the second quarter stopped Arkansas before they could get more than 3 yards every time.

Alldredge, like the run defense, is indistinguishable from his October self.

“It was really exactly what we expected in terms of what they were gonna give us in the run game,” Alldredge said. “But any time a linebacker makes a good play, you’ve just gotta shout out the D-line up front for keeping them clean.”

But a lot of things are indistinguishable.

And most of them aren’t positive.

Missouri’s secondary got burned time after time, losing Arkansas wide receivers on Frank Broyles Field as frequently as they covered them.

Players that were consistent ballhawks a few weeks ago — Kris Abrams-Draine, Jaylon Carlies — failed Missouri on Friday.

Razorbacks receiver Treylon Burks hauled in a 43-yard reception that ultimately set up a score early in the second quarter. He would have had his first score of the day if he hadn’t slipped short of the goal line. He didn’t have to wait long, though, as Jefferson found him from a long way away, again, in the third quarter on a 52-yard completion that added a TD to Arkansas’ tally.

“You really just have to be disciplined and stick to your rules and we got out of that a couple of times and they took advantage and had big plays,” Alldredge said.

And the offense that hedged its bets on a one-man show by Badie and threw for only 15 more yards than it racked up in penalties — 51 yards — found out what that combo will get you in the SEC.

A 17-point loss.

“It’s very frustrating,” Badie said. “It’s almost like taking a step forward, take a step back. At the end of the day, we just can’t do that stuff. We want to be a successful offense, we’ve got to limit our penalties.”

There was a time this season when Bazelak ranked inside the top 50 quarterbacks in the nation for passing yards. When he was pulled in the fourth quarter against Arkansas, he had a 38% completion rate, completing 10 passes in 26 attempts with one interception.

But it might go deeper.

“They were just running the same play over and over again,” Arkansas linebacker Hayden Henry said after the game.

And it caught up to Missouri. A spectacular overtime winner against Florida absolved Missouri’s offense of the crimes that came before it. It likely won’t be afforded the same generosity this time.

Missouri has never been consistent this season. That’s no secret.

It has at least three weeks before a bowl game to find a cure.

This article originally ran on columbiamissourian.com.

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