The Missouri Tigers made a phenomenal turnaround in 2013 and arrived as a legitimate member of the SEC when they pushed their way all the way to the conference title game this season. One of the key pieces to their success this year was running back Henry Josey who returned from a shredded knee to become one of the most explosive backs in the conference this season. Missouri will need Josey to get on track in the AT&T Cotton Bowl for the Tigers to win but that will be a tough challenge against the stout run defense of the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Oklahoma State came within one win of playing in a BCS bowl this season thanks in large part to their play on the defensive side of the ball. The Cowboys ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 against the run, allowing just 132.92 yards per game and only eight rushing touchdowns all season long (seventh lowest total in the country). They allowed just one team to rush for over 200 yards in a game this season (Kansas Jayhawks; 202) and kept the high-powered rushing attack of the Baylor Bears to just 94 yards and 2.61 yards per carry.
Josey broke out this season in the Missouri running game, rushing for 1,074 yards, averaging 6.63 yards per carry and scoring 13 touchdowns. He emerged as one of the most explosive runners in the SEC as he paced the Missouri offense to their division title. He was a steadying presence for the Tigers when James Franklin went down with an injury and helped freshman Maty Mauk to a successful debut. He’s an integral part to what the Tigers try to do offensively and will be fed early and often in the Cotton Bowl.
What he does with those opportunities will go a long way in determining the fate of Missouri against Oklahoma State. If he can get on track, the Tigers can control the pace of the game, setting the tempo and giving themselves the best opportunity to win. Is Josey up to the challenge of overcoming the Cowboys’ defense and leading Mizzou into 2014 with a bang?