Cotton Bowl Preview: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri
Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) vs. Missouri (11-2, 7-1 SEC)
January 3, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
This matchup between Oklahoma State and Missouri seems all too familiar, probably due to the fact that the Tigers just recently left the Big 12 Conference. While both teams know each other, they also have something in common.
Both have just missed out on a chance to play in a BCS bowl, with Missouri losing to Auburn in the SEC Championship and Oklahoma State suffering a crushing defeat to rival Oklahoma at home.
This Oklahoma State team still has the offensive firepower that coach Mike Gundy has had of late: The offense does rely on the run a tad more than of years past with running back Desmond Roland leading the charge.
But don’t sleep on this Cowboys defense which is ranked 13th in the country in scoring defense. Second-team All-American defensive back Justin Gilbert leads the secondary with six interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Missouri is led by senior quarterback James Franklin, who missed four games earlier in the season due to a shoulder injury. Franklin has been terrific this year, throwing 19 touchdowns and only five interceptions.
Wide receivers Dorial Green-Beckham and L’Damian Washington have been Franklin’s weapons of choice this year. The duo has combined for 1,683 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns.
Henry Josey leads the Missouri offensive rushing attack which is ranked 17th in the country. He’s rushed for 1,074 yards this season and I expect him to be the key to success for Franklin--if Josey can get going early, look for the Tigers to go up top to Green-Beckham.
The Tigers are led by senior defensive end Michael Sam, who is a first-team All-American and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Sam is a problem for opposing offensive lines and sets the tone for the very aggressive front-four the Tigers have on defense.
For as much talent that’ll be on the perimeter for this game, I believe the outcome will be determined within the battle of the trenches.
Both offensives are extremely effective in terms of scoring, but if Missouri’s Sam and the rest of the front four can shutdown the Oklahoma State run game, Gundy will be on his toes for the majority of the game. It will all come down to who can run the ball more effectively. With that said, you have to think Missouri will have the edge.
Missouri 34, Oklahoma State 27