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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys say motivation won't be an issue vs. Missouri

by Jenni Carlson Published: January 1, 2014
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photo - OSU players Josh Stewart (5), Jeremy Seaton (44) and Ryan Simmons (52) leave the field after the Bedlam college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. OU won, 33-24. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
OSU players Josh Stewart (5), Jeremy Seaton (44) and Ryan Simmons (52) leave the field after the Bedlam college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. OU won, 33-24. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Calvin Barnett has watched those bowl games where one team looks totally uninterested.

Said team usually gets blown out, too.

“That tends to happen year in and year out,” the Oklahoma State defensive tackle said.

But talk to Barnett and others around the Cowboy program, and they say they have no worries about the Cowboys being one of those apathetic teams. They say they'll be motivated for the Cotton Bowl. They say they'll be hyped for Friday night.

The same refrain came this week from Missouri.

“No one lines up to lose,” Barnett said. “Regardless of the situation, who you're playing, when you're playing, how you're playing ... you still don't want to lose.”

Still, you have to wonder about these teams' level of motivation.

In a bowl matching two squads that were oh-so-close to winning a league title and playing in a BCS bowl — Missouri might even be playing for the national championship had it won the SEC title game — the mindset of these players comes into question. And with so many evenly matched bowls coming down to who's engaged and interested and motivated, being fired up becomes an important factor.

(We're looking at you, Arizona State.)

“We're tired of waiting to play, so I know we're motivated to play,” Missouri running back Henry Josey said. “We've been waiting to just get back out here and win a game.”

That's a sentiment echoed by some Cowboys.

“Yes, we lost our last one,” defensive tackle James Castleman said, “but ... you're going to be motivated to get the next one so you can get that winning feeling.”

It's an interesting notion, isn't it? Maybe these two teams are more motivated because they lost the last time out.

OSU played poorly in Bedlam. The offense rolled up 400 yards but managed only three touchdowns on 15 possessions. The defense got bested by the Sooners' third-string quarterback. Even the special teams struggled, giving up a punt return for a touchdown and a touchdown on a fake field goal.

Missouri had its own struggles later that day in the SEC championship game. Missouri only trailed Auburn by three heading into the fourth quarter, but when it mattered most, the offense couldn't get a score and the defense couldn't get a stop. Auburn outscored Missouri 14-0 in the fourth quarter.

While the Missouri offense had 534 yards — a stout number against a solid Auburn defense — the Missouri defense gave up 677 yards, including 545 rushing yards.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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