After losing to the in-state rival Oklahoma Sooners in the final game of the season, the Oklahoma State Cowboys missed out on a BCS bowl berth, but have been placed in one of the most prestigious non-BCS bowls. The Cotton Bowl will be up for grabs in January and you better believe the Cowboys will be playing with something to prove.
Speaking of something to prove, the Missouri Tigers had a phenomenal season, finishing 11-2, but a loss in the SEC title game by three scores left a sour taste in their mouths. Missouri is ready to show people that the 2013 season wasn’t a fluke.
Oklahoma State has been searching for an offensive answer at quarterback all season and Clint Chelf seems to be that guy to answer the call. Although he hasn’t blown anyone away with his numbers, Chelf has passed for 1,792 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season while top wide out Josh Stewart isn’t quite having the season he expected to have, catching 52 passes for 623 yards and two touchdowns. Desmond Roland leads the run game with 745 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 4.7 yards per carry.
Missouri has been impressive on offense this season — especially in the run game. Even when starting quarterback James Franklin went down with an injury, young QB Maty Mauk stepped up and delivered. Franklin leads the 40th-best passing offense with 2,255 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season, connecting with L’Damian Washington 47 times for 853 yards and 10 touchdowns. Henry Josey leads the rushing attack with 1,074 yards and 13 touchdowns while Russell Hansbrough has added another 660 yards and four scores.
Defensively, the Cowboys have had an easier time of keeping teams out of the endzone than they’ve had slowing teams down. Oklahoma State ranks 14th in points allowed and 52nd in the nation in yards allowed per game. Missouri hasn’t been quite as impressive, ranking 29th in points allowed as well as 72nd in yards allowed per game.
Oklahoma State and Missouri will face off in the 2014 Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas, at 7:30 p.m. EST on Friday, Jan. 3. The game will be broadcasted on FOX.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 27, Missouri 34
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.