The Missouri Tigers (11-2) from the mighty SEC will take on former conference mate the Oklahoma State State Cowboys (10-2) from the Big 12 in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Friday night in Dallas, Texas at 6:30 p.m. CST.
The game features two of the best offenses in the country. Missouri averages 39 points a game, good for 16th, and Oklahoma State puts up 39.8 per outing, 13th in the NCAA. Both teams are pretty darn good on defense as well. Missouri gives up just 22.5 points a game, 29th in the nation, and Oklahoma State is even better, giving up only 20 points an outing, 12th in the nation.
Missouri’s offensive strength lies in their excellent running game. The Tigers accumulate 236.5 yards a game on the ground, 16th best in the league. The Tigers use a running back by committee, led by Henry Josey and his 1,074 yards. Russell Hansbrough (606), and Marcus Murphy (571) contribute mightily to the cause. The Tigers average 5.7 yards a carry on the ground.
The Tigers’ heart and soul though is quarterback James Franklin. The senior missed 4 games but still put up 2,255 yards through the air with 19 touchdowns, and 474 yards on the ground with 4 more touchdowns.
On the outside, Missouri has two big threats, Both L’Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham have over 800 yards receiving. Both are athletic and know how to go get the ball. They will be a hard match up for the Cowboys.
The Tigers defense was shredded in the SEC championship when Auburn rushed for 545 yards but Oklahoma State only averages 172 yards a game, and doesn’t have a star back. The Cowboys have a balanced attack, putting up 268.5 yards a game through the air.
The Tigers also have a streak of creating at least one turnover in 43 straight games. The defense has shown a great knack all season for forcing turnovers at key junctures in games.
If they can come up with some big turnovers on defense while protecting the ball on offense, something they have been very good at, then the Tigers should come away with a victory.
Missouri would love to prove once more that they did the right thing for their school by leaving the Big 12 and joining the SEC. A big victory in a major bowl game like the AT&T Cotton Bowl against a Big 12 school would be a huge step in solidifying their position.
Their terrific showing this season in the SEC is a great indication that they belong, and a win against Oklahoma State will just be the exclamation point on a fantastic season for the Tigers.