When Oklahoma State’s offense takes the field against Missouri in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 3, the Cowboys will match up against the top defensive player in the Southeastern Conference.
Missouri defensive end Michael Sam was named as the Associated Press’ SEC Defensive Player of the Year Monday, as voted on by a panel of sportswriters who cover the league.
Sam had a breakout senior season, leading the conference with 10.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss while helping Missouri to an 11-2 record and SEC East title. He also tallied one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and two passes defended.
Heading into 2013, Sam had tallied 9.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in his entire career.
Sam was also named to a finalist for the Nagurski Award given to the nation’s best defensive player (which went to Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald Monday night), the Lombardi Award given to the nation’s best lineman (announced Wednesday) and Hendricks Award given to the nation’s best defensive end (announced Wednesday).