At Oklahoma State's team banquet Sunday night, quarterback Clint Chelf and linebacker Shaun Lewis earned the Bob Fenimore Awards, which go to the Cowboys' top player on offense and defense.
Receiver Tracy Moore earned the Thurman Thomas Award for Offensive Most Valuable Player, while cornerback Justin Gilbert and defensive tackle Calvin Barnett shared the Leslie O'Neal Defensive MVP honor. Cornerback Ashton Lampkin took the Special Teams MVP Award.
Receiver Jhajuan Seales and cornerback Tyler Patmon were honored as the Russell Okung Top Newcomers.
Linebacker Joe Mitchell and offensive linemen Parker Graham and Brandon Webb took the Barry Sanders Awards for most contributions with least recognition. Fullback Kye Staley, receiver Charlie Moore, linebacker Caleb Lavey and defensive end Tyler Johnson earned the Vernon Grant Awards for spirit and love of the game of football. Lavey was also honored with the L.L. Boger Award for academic excellence.
Additionally, Lavey, Lewis, Chelf, Graham and linebacker/special teamer Deion Imade were named the 2013 team captains. They will get a special patch on their jersey for the Cotton Bowl.
COTTON BOWL GIVES MISSOURI CHANCE TO EARN RESPECT
OSU and Missouri are in similar spots heading into Jan. 3's Cotton Bowl matchup.
Both had a chance to capture their conference title on Dec. 7. And both lost, making the matchup between the Cowboys and Tigers an intriguing test of which team can quickly refocus and re-motivate itself to finish the season strong.
And a chance to earn national recognition.
“We're still not getting respected, man,” center Evan Boehm told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch following the Tigers' loss to Auburn in the SEC championship game. “We moved the ball on an Auburn team that Alabama had trouble moving the ball (against).
“If we're not getting respected after this game, even though it's a loss, then I don't know what else the Missouri Tigers need to do.”
CHELF: POCKET PRESENCE KEY AGAINST MIZZOU
OSU will face a vaunted pass rush in the Cotton Bowl, as Mizzou led the SEC and ranks 13th in the nation with 38 sacks in 13 games.
That presents a challenge for the Cowboys' offensive line, which has helped OSU tie for ninth nationally in sacks allowed (11). But Chelf must also be aware and elusive to avoid the pressure, while still delivering the ball to the right spot on time.
“Specifically, against these guys, it's gonna take throwing the ball accurately,” Chelf said. “They have a good pass rush and moving in the pocket's gonna be something I'll have to work on, and being accurate while moving in the pocket.
“That'll be one thing that I focus on over the next couple weeks.”
Mizzou end Michael Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and an All-America selection by multiple organizations, poses the biggest threat. He racked up 10 1/2 sacks and 18 tackles for loss in a breakout senior season.