The Missouri Tigers (11-2) were ranked fifth when they took on Auburn in the SEC championship game on Dec. 7 in Atlanta, GA. In the defense’s worst showing of the season, Mizzou fell to Auburn 59-42 after having a 35-31 lead with just over five minutes to go in the third quarter. Auburn gained a spot in the BCS championship game against No. 1 Florida State.
The following day, Oklahoma State, ranked sixth (10-2) took on Oklahoma and they were up 24-20 with 1:46 to go. The Sooners, scored with 19 seconds left and added a fumble return for a touchdown for a 33-24 win. Very similar ending for OU in their Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.
After disappointing losses, Mizzou and Oklahoma State face off in the 78th addition of the Cotton Bowl Classic and both team have the ability to score and force turnovers.
Watch our affiliate KTGR’s video with me from Dallas, previewing the game
The Cowboys rank 14th with 39.8 points per game and the Tigers are 15th with an average of 39.0. Mizzou is 16th in the nation with 492.9 total yards per game, and Oklahoma State’s average of 440.5 ranks 41st.
Mizzou will try to use a balanced attack on the ground and through the air as they have all season. Leading the way is junior running back Henry Josey who has logged 1,074 yards and 13 touchdowns for a Missouri team that is 15th in the nation with 3,074 rushing yards.
Senior quarterback James Franklin, playing his final collegiate game in his home state, caps a remarkable season that saw him miss four games in the middle of the season with a separated shoulder. Franklin has 2,255 passing yards with 19 TDs and five interceptions while rushing for 474 yards and four scores.
Franklin’s favorite targets are senior L’Damian Washington and sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham, who have combined for 1,683 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns. Maty Mauk who was 3-1 in relief of Franklin, may see playing time. Gary Pinkel and the coaching staff have made that decision after the final media press conference on Thursday morning
This Cotton Bowl will come down to the play of the defense. Each team will move the football, but the defense that can flip the field with a turnover or two will control the game.
Mizzou has forced a turnover in 43 straight games and OSU is 4th in the country in turnover ratio.