2014 Cotton Bowl - Missouri 41, Ok State 31
Basically … Both offenses got rolling in a crazy fourth quarter with 51 combined points, but it was the Missouri defense that came up with the clincher. Oklahoma State was in game-tying field goal range and with the potential to win with a touchdown, but Tiger DE Michael Sam sacked Clint Chelf, forced a fumble, and Shane Ray scooped and scored from 73 yards out. Henry Josey ran for three touchdowns for Mizzou, kicking off the scoring in the first quarter on a three-yard run, tearing off a 25-yard dash early in the fourth, and coming up with the game-winner from 16 yards away with just over three minutes to play. Oklahoma State kept punching back, overcoming a 17-7 halftime deficit with a 21-yard Jhajuah Seals touchdown catch and helped by a Chelf 23-yard diving touchdown dash and a Desmond Roland score from two yards out. Maty Mauk stepped in for James Franklin for a brief period in the second quarter and found Marcus Lucas from 24 yards out.
- Missouri RB Henry Josey ran 12 times for 92 yards and three touchdowns, and caught a pass for ten yards.
- Oklahoma State QB Clint Chelf completed 33-of-57 passes for 377 yards and two scores with two picks, and he ran ten times for 52 yards and a touchdown.
- Missouri QB James Franklin completed 15-of-40 passes for 174 yards with a pick, and ran 16 times for 36 yards.
-Oklahoma State WR Tracy Moore caught seven passes for 100 yards.
- Missouri LB Andrew Wilson made 15 tackles with a half a tackle for loss
- Missouri DE Kona Ealy made six tackles with two sacks.
- Oklahoma State DE Jimmy Bean tied for the team lead with seven tackles with a sack and three tackles for loss. - Missouri DE Michael Sam made three tackles with a sack and a game-sealing forced fumble.
- Oklahoma State total yards: 548 – Missouri 462
- Penalties: Oklahoma State 10 for 100 yards – Missouri 4 for 42 yards
Missouri (10-2) vs. Oklahoma State (10-2) Jan. 3, 7:30, FOX
Here's The Deal … There's always one bowl game each year that matches up two teams that have no real desire whatsoever to be there. It might be a good bowl, and it might be in a nice setting, but the two teams will spend their bowl session – despite what they all might say – wishing things had worked out a little bit differently.
Missouri was a few run stops away from playing for the BCS championship. Dallas is nice; Pasadena would be better for a program that had everything there for the taking and just barely missed. Of course, Auburn's unstoppable running game had a little bit to do with that, but it could've very easily have been the Columbia Tigers trying to prepare for Florida State, and now they have to regress to their Big 12 days and deal with Oklahoma State.
Missouri was close to playing in a bigger bowl, but Oklahoma State was even closer to being in the Fiesta, needing just one late stop against Oklahoma – with a near-miss on an interception that was ruled an incompletion, but could've gone the other way – to have had a shot at UCF in the Fiesta. As the team that destroyed Baylor before Blake Bortles did, the Cowboys had to sit by and watch another team play in a BCS game tailor-made for them. Would beating Missouri really make the season as much of a success as winning the Fiesta?
OSU got better as the season went on, overcoming offensive inconsistencies and a clunker against West Virginia to rip through the Big 12 schedule with no one else coming close in blowout after blowout, and then the Sooners rolled into town and ruined all the fun. Even so, a win would make it three 11-plus win seasons in four years while OU hasn't won 11 games in three years. Overall, a victory would be a massive help for the Big 12 after Baylor clunker in Glendale, made even sweeter by beating a former conference brother who left the family.
Missouri's motivation is perspective. If the Tigers lose this, then, right or wrong, the storyline becomes how lucky the college football world is that they didn't play in the BCS championship. A loss, again, right or wrong, would mean some might question whether or not the season was a bit of an aberration. A win would mean make it one of the greatest seasons in Mizzou history and the best since the 2007 season with a 12-2 record with both losses to Oklahoma. More importantly for the program, considering the SEC's overall success in the bowl season, it would mean the Tigers are holding up their end of the conference bargain in the Cotton.
Not only has the SEC owned the Cotton Bowl over the last several years, but it's done so in terrific fashion making this one of the biggest annual duds. The last six games have been decided by double digits with the SEC taking the last five since Missouri rolled up Arkansas to close out the great 2007 campaign. The last team currently in the Big 12 to win the Cotton Bowl? Texas in the 2003 game.
Outside of clunking in the 2009 Texas against Navy and the 2010 Insight against Iowa, Missouri has been a decent bowl team, blasting North Carolina in the 2011 Independence and winning three of its last five and four of its last seven. Oklahoma State has won three straight bowls and five of its last seven.
Players to Watch: Oklahoma State QB Clint Chelf has taken the offense and made it his, but he's prone to wild inconsistencies. Amazing against Baylor, he completed 76% of his passes for 370 yards and three touchdowns a game after hitting 73% of his throws for 197 yards and two touchdowns with a pick. Just when it seemed like he was rolling, he struggled against Oklahoma with a few key misfires to go along with just enough big plays to give the team a chance. The offense doesn't necessarily come to a stop when he's off – the Cowboys rolled over Iowa State even though Chelf was awful – but against Missouri, he needs to keep up the pace.
If bowl games leave a lasting impression, then this is a chance for Missouri's Dorial Green-Beckham to become one of the hottest players of the offseason. The 2012 super-recruit is the main man returning for an offense that loses several key parts, but he should be able to handle the work. Had the Tigers taken the SEC championship, he would've been the story after catching six passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns, and while his overall numbers might not be jaw-dropping – 55 catches for 830 yards and 12 scores – it's because there are other top options for the Tiger attack to work with. He's a part of a puzzle, and a good one.
It's the final game for Oklahoma State senior corner Justin Gilbert, who almost put the Cowboys in the Fiesta with a late play against Oklahoma and a near-miss pick. He hasn't missed much else this season with six interceptions – taking two back for touchdowns – with seven broken up passes and 40 tackles. The 6-0, 200-pounder packs a good punch and is dangerous in the open field when he gets the ball in his hands. One of the few defensive backs in America who can match up well with the big and fast Tiger targets, he'll move around where needed.
Where has Michael Sam gone? One of the top players in the SEC this season, the all-star earned plenty of accolades for his 10.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss and 45 tackles, but he had a nightmare of a time against Auburn and has just a half a sack in his last five games. Teams are keying on him more and more, and he's still making plays and getting behind the line, but the more disruptive he can be to get to Chelf, the better everyone's life will be in the Mizzou defensive back seven.
Oklahoma State will win if … it forces Missouri into third and long situations. The Tiger attack has worked great when James Franklin and the passing game can get into a rhythm, and when in doubt, it's always easy for him to hang it up in the air and hope for the best from his big, strong, tall receivers. Oklahoma State will take its chances. As bad as Auburn's secondary is, it came up with key stops time and against in the SEC championship, and part of the problem for Mizzou was the inability to keep drives going converting just 2-of-12 third down chances. The Tigers were below 35% on third downs just two other times, once against Florida, and the other in the loss to South Carolina. Of course, every defense wants to get off the field and come up with a key stop, but when the OSU defense is able to generate a little bit of pressure and force the quarterback to only go to his first read, good things happen for the ball-hawking secondary.
Missouri will win if … it's on the right side of the mistake game. Oklahoma State had a negative turnover margin twice this year - -1 against West Virginia, -1 against Oklahoma. 0-2. The Cowboys also committed ten penalties in the loss to the Mountaineers and only got flagged in the double digits in one other game; a win over Texas Tech. More than anything else, Missouri has to make Oklahoma State press. This is a good Cowboy offense, but it's also a bit of a front-runner. Once it gets a lead and gets a little momentum, everything starts to steamroll for this team. The pass protection has been excellent, and the Tigers have to break through with Sam and Kona Ealy needing to camp out in the backfield from the start and force Chelf to work underneath. The OSU running game is fine, but nothing special – the Tiger front four should be able to tee off into the backfield.
What Will Happen: Missouri really is that good. Franklin will make up for his mediocre SEC championship performance with a sharp game with his legs as well as his arm. He'll spread the ball around well and will avoid the big mistake, while the Oklahoma State offense will bog down a bit too much against an aggressive Tiger front seven that won't respect the run. Even so, it'll be a shootout with OSU coming back late to make it a fight.
Prediction: Missouri 41 … Oklahoma State 34
Line: Missouri -1 … o/u: 60.5
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