Oklahoma State closes the season with a Cotton Bowl showdown against Missouri in one of the more anticipated bowls of the postseason.
I wrote about the final game for OSU’s 28 seniors: A class full of major contributors who have lived through arguably the best stretch in program history.
The Cotton Bowl has been treating this game as a dry run for when it hosts the first national championship game stemming from college football’s new playoff next season. And with the lavish setting of AT&T Stadium, it feels like it.
How Cowboy running back Desmond Roland went from angry freshman to steady starter.
Player and coach access is awesome during bowl week. Here’s a large assortment of notes and nuggets, leading with Mike Gundy downplaying the Big 12/SEC rivalry thing.
Our staff picks and headlines.
Which Missouri run defense shows up?
By now, you know Missouri allowed Auburn to roll up 545 rushing yards in the SEC title game. But the Tigers actually entered that contest as the conference’s second-best rushing unit. OSU running back Desmond Roland and quarterback Clint Chelf are not Tre Mason and Nick Marshall, but both been very good runners as starters in the second half of the season. It will be interesting to see how much zone-read the Cowboys run in the early part of the game — that’s what worked so well for Auburn, though Chelf has been more successful with draw plays. Or do the Cowboys just hand the ball to Roland to try to attack the middle of the Tiger defense?
Can OSU’s defensive backs handle Missouri’s big receivers?
The Justin Gilbert vs. Dorial Green-Beckham matchup should be a dandy. But Kevin Peterson and Tyler Patmon will also be asked to cover DGB on occasion. And he’s not the only big receiver the Tigers have. La’Damian Washington is 6-4, 205, while Marcus Lucas is 6-5, 220. Safeties Daytawion Lowe and Shamiel Gary will be needed in coverage. The Cowboys will need to be physical, fighting off those receivers trying to position with their body and then fighting for the ball in 1-on-1 matchups.
Is motivation an issue for either team?
The Cowboys and Tigers are in nearly identical positions—losing the chance to capture a conference title and BCS bowl berth on the final day of the regular season. And we’ve seen wacky things happen in bowl games the last couple nights (hello, Texas Tech, Central Florida, Oklahoma). OSU and Missouri players and coaches have been saying the right things all week about being motivated to play. It’s probably not that hard to get fired up to play in a top-15 matchup at JerryWorld in a big-time bowl game. But we’ll see how each team comes out tonight.
Matchup to watch: Oklahoma State offensive line vs. Missouri defensive line
Would be really easy to say Gilbert vs. DGB here, and I wrote about it earlier this week. But let’s go with the battle in the trenches, where a Cowboy offensive line that has been really good at protecting the quarterback (11 sacks allowed) against Missouri’s vaunted pass rush led by unanimous All-American Michael Sam. I took a closer look at this matchup a few days ago.
Uniform prediction: White helmet (black OSU logo), white jerseys, white pants
Monday’s team photo and media day appearance essentially gave two-thirds of the combo away. The Cowboys have to go all white, right? The new helmet with the black OSU logo and black stripe down the middle has been a big hit. OSU also wore all white the last time it played Missouri, a 45-24 victory in Columbia in 2011.
Final score prediction: OSU 38, Missouri 34