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Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State offense stumbles out of gates, can't produce in final minutes

MISSOURI 41, OKLAHOMA STATE 31 — The final score may look like the shootout many expected. But it took nearly three quarters for the Cowboys offense to get into its typical scoring mode.
BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, gmizell@opubco.com Published: January 4, 2014

The Oklahoma State offense floundered through three quarters.

Then it kept up for the majority of a wild final period.

Then it made a costly late error.

No. 8 Missouri beat the 13th-ranked Cowboys 41-31 in Friday night's Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. The final score looks like the shootout many expected. And the Cowboy offense did eventually find its rhythm.

But it took nearly three-fourths of the game for the Cowboys to get there. Then it couldn't finish.

“We just couldn't get in a rhythm,” said quarterback Clint Chelf, who finished 33-of-57 for 381 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions to go with 48 rushing yards and a score. “It seems like we would get a good gain, then we would stall.”

Trailing 34-31 with 3:08 to play, OSU used a 10-play drive — highlighted by a 23-yard pass over the middle to Marcell Ateman on fourth-and-7 and a 23-yard run by Chelf — to get into field goal range at the Missouri 23.

But on third-and-7 with about a minute to play, Missouri All-American defensive end Michael Sam — who had been contained for the bulk of the night — pressured and stripped Chelf, which teammate Shane Ray scooped and took for a 73-yard touchdown to seal the game.

“We were gonna take a shot at the end zone,” Chelf said. “Felt some pressure. I was trying to get rid of it, try to throw it away. I got hit from behind. Bad ball security.”

That was the final score in a 48-point flurry over the game's final 18 minutes, which included a 21-yard touchdown pass from Chelf to Jhajuan Seales over the middle, a 23-yard run by Chelf that included a dive for the pylon, a Desmond Roland two-yard score and a 25-yard field goal from Ben Grogan.

“We made some adjustments at halftime, and that helped us as the game went on,” coach Mike Gundy said. “But Missouri has been good up front and defended our running game until we made those adjustments.

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