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OSU football: Cowboys, Tigers have under-the-radar players who can make a big impact

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 OSU and Missouri have already been mentioned — and dissected. Here's more.
BY GINA MIZELL Published: December 29, 2013

He could go 1-on-1 with Gaines. Or he could become the top receiving option because Gaines is covering another Cowboy.

Either way, Seales has the speed and big-play ability to stretch the field for OSU. A strong Cotton Bowl performance could also help propel Seales into next season, where he is expected to become the Cowboys' go-to outside receiver.

4. Markus Golden, defensive end, Missouri

Sam's monster season — 10.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss and SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors — has gotten plenty of attention. And rightfully so.

Kony Ely, another All-SEC performer who lines up at the opposite defensive end spot, has also gotten lots of praise.

But what about Markus Golden?

He not only rotates in at end to keep Ely fresh. He's become his own force, picking up 13 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and seven quarterback hurries to go with 51 total tackles, one interception returned 70 yards for a touchdown, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

In short, OSU's tackles are going to be busy Friday.

5. Ben Grogan, kicker, OSU

Grogan's true freshman season has, of course, been rocky.

But, quietly, he's made nine of his last 12 attempts, including four in a row.

Two of those consecutive makes came from 41 yards. One of those 41-yarders came during an earthquake.

Still, Grogan has, really, only been asked to attempt one clutch kick all season — when he clanked that 23-yarder off the upright in Morgantown. He did, however, make an important 28-yarder against Kansas State that pushed the Cowboys' lead to four with less than three minutes left.

If the game is close down the stretch, it will be interesting to see how the coaches manage Grogan. And how Grogan handles that type of situation in a big-time, pressure-filled environment.