DALLAS — With the long break between the end of the regular season and an early January bowl game, several players, matchups and storylines from the Cotton Bowl contest between Oklahoma State and Missouri have already been mentioned — and dissected.
Justin Gilbert vs. Dorial Green-Beckham.
The final bows for senior quarterbacks Clint Chelf and James Franklin.
The rapid rise of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.
A 1,000-yard back in Henry Josey facing the middle of the OSU defense that includes tackle Calvin Barnett and linebacker Caleb Lavey.
But here are five under-the-radar Cowboys and Tigers who could have a big impact in the Cotton Bowl.
1. Daytawion Lowe, strong safety, OSU
It's pretty stunning how a three-year starter who ranks second on the team in tackles (80) still tends to get overlooked.
But Lowe's versatility to play the run and pass will be needed against a balanced Missouri attack that ranks in the top 20 in the nation in scoring offense (39 points per game) and total offense (492.9 yards per game).
Lowe will assist in trying to stop Josey, who's averaging 6.6 yards per carry, and will also be needed plenty in coverage against a big, physical Tiger receiving corps.
2. E.J. Gaines, cornerback, Missouri
Gilbert isn't the only dynamic playmaker at cornerback in this contest.
Gaines, an All-SEC selection, has tallied a team-high four interceptions, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery this season to go with 68 tackles (four for loss). His finest performance came against Texas A&M, where he limited All-American Mike Evans to four catches for eight yards.
Gaines could match up with Charlie Moore, Jhajuan Seales or Tracy Moore on the outside.
3. Jhajuan Seales, wide receiver, OSU
Seales has shown flashes of promise during his debut season, ranking third on the team in catches (36) and receiving yards (529) while adding two touchdowns.