After getting off to a slow start for both teams, the AT&T Cotton Bowl turned out to be one of the best bowl games of the season. Both teams were having trouble finding the end zone until Missouri put together an 11 play, 50 yard touchdown drive late in the first quarter that ended with Henry Josey finding the end zone for the first of his three on the night.
Oklahoma State just took 1:16 to tie the game with an excellent catch from Cowboys receiver, Josh Stewart, that resulted in a 40 yard score.
Both teams struggled to find the end zone again until Missouri head coach, Gary Pinkel decided to play his secret weapon at quarterback, Maty Mauk. He was the perfect change of pace, leading Mizzou right down the field decisively.
Within three plays of entering the game, the freshman quarterback already had 69 total rushing yards and finished the drive after nine plays with a 24-yard touchdown throw to Marcus Lucas.
Pinkel would bring back in his senior quarterback, James Franklin, who would lead a quick field goal drive to give Mizzou the ten point half time lead, 17-7.
The Tigers continued that lead well into the third quarter despite the ineffective play of Franklin. At one point, Franklin’s stat line was 10-of-30 for 93 yards passing and an interception. Still protecting that 17-7 lead, Missouri would go three-and-out on three straight possessions in the third quarter.
The Tigers entered the fourth quarter really struggling and it only continued to get worse. James Franklin fumbled a hand off that was recovered by the Cowboys at the Mizzou 33 yard line, setting up 24 yard touchdown reception to Cowboys receiver Jhajuan Seales, cutting the deficit to 17-14.
After another Mizzou fumble, Oklahoma state was able to tie the game 17-17.
On the next Missouri drive, Henry Josey was able to finish it off with an excellent 25 yard touchdown run that gave the Tigers a 7 point advantage, although that didn’t last long. Using a 23-yard touchdown run by Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State tied the game again making it 24-24.
On Missouri’s ensuing drive, Oklahoma State jumped a James Franklin pass that would’ve resulted in a pick-six but was called back on a pass interference call. Missouri would go on to finish that drive with an Andrew Bagget field goal giving the tigers a 27-24 lead.
Oklahoma States, Desmond Roland and Missouri’s Henry Josey traded touchdowns on the ensuing drives, still leaving Missouri with a three point lead and a potential game winning drive for Oklahoma State.
With 55 seconds left on the clock, Missouri defensive lineman, Michael Sam, came up with one of the most clutch plays in Missouri football history. Sam, the SEC defensive player of the year, was able to get a sack-force fumble that resulted in a 73 yard scoop-and-score for Shane Ray and clinched Missouri’s second Cotton Bowl win, 41-31.
With this Mizzou win in the Cotton bowl, that now makes it six in-a-row for the SEC. The last non SEC team to win the Cotton Bowl, the Missouri Tigers in 2007 when they were still members of the Big XII conference.
Oklahoma State and Missouri combined for 1,010 yards, good enough for third most in Cotton Bowl history.
Gary Pinkel set a Missouri record with 102 wins with the Tigers. Mizzou also won 12 games for only second time in school history.