By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cotton Bowl could also be called the Redemption Bowl. Both Oklahoma State and Missouri suffered losses on the same day (Dec. 7) that cost them BCS bowl bids. The former Big 12 rivals are each hoping for a satisfying victory in Thursday's Cotton Bowl to close the tab on the 2013 season.
Oklahoma State (10-2) had a four-point lead with 1:46 remaining in Bedlam before Oklahoma drove for the winning touchdown. The loss to their rivals cost the Cowboys their second Big 12 championship in the last three seasons.
"We're certainly motivated. This is the last game some of us are going to play here, so you obviously want to win," Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf said. "For all that we've been through as seniors, we all want to go out with a win. Have a fun bowl, enjoy it and take it all in. There have been ups and downs, and it's like that for everybody in every season, but I'm proud of the way we finished."
Missouri (11-2) played in two Big 12 championship games before moving to the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers won the SEC East Division and faced Auburn in the championship game in a battle of Tigers. The Auburn version ran over, around and through the Missouri version in a 59-42 victory.
"When things don't go as you want to, time is the best healing process available," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "They were very disappointed they didn't win the (Oklahoma) game, and it showed. But from the practice we had on Tuesday, it's been much better. They understand they're getting ready to play a really good football team."
Missouri is ranked No. 9, Oklahoma State No. 13. It's the first time in 53 meetings that both teams are ranked in the top 13.
"I think it's gonna be a great game," Gundy said. "I think you have two teams that arguably very well could have been in BCS games.
Missouri, which entered the SEC championship giving up 119.8 rush yards per game, surrendered 545 yards on the ground to Auburn, which finished with 677 yards in total offense.
Running back Henry Josey keys a Mizzou ground game that is 15th in the nation and quarterback James Franklin recovered from a mid-season injury to run an offense that averages 39 points a game. He has two outstanding receivers in senior L'Damian Washington and sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham. They have combined for 1,683 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns.
"Offensively they have great speed," Gundy said. "They're tall and rangy at the wideout position. The quarterbacks are playing good and the running backs make plays."
Oklahoma State vs. Missouri
Need to know: 6:30 p.m., Thursday, AT&T Stadium, FOX.
Team records: Oklahoma State 10-2 overall, 7-2 in Big 12; Missouri 11-2 overall, 7-1 in SEC East Division.
Scouting Missouri: Senior quarterback James Franklin is back after missing four games in the middle of the season with a separated shoulder. He has 2,255 yards passing with 19 TDs and has rushed for 474 yards and four touchdowns. Junior running back Henry Josey has 1,074 yards rushing for a team that is 15th nationally in rushing offense. Missouri's defense has been solid but in the SEC championship game it allowed a record 545 yards rushing to Auburn. All-American defensive end Michael Sam is among the nation's leaders in sacks with 10.5; he's also had 18 tackles for loss.
Scouting Oklahoma State: Senior quarterback Clint Chelf was the MVP of last season's bowl victory and he'll need to be sharp again to keep the Cowboys' offense rolling. He has thrown for 1,792 yards and 15 touchdowns. Leading rusher Desmond Roland should be healthy after dealing with nagging injuries over the final few games. The same goes for top receiver/punt returner Josh Stewart who has recovered from an ankle injury that slowed him the last two games of the season. Oklahoma State, led by linebacker Caleb Lavey and corner back Justin Gilbert, leads the Big 12 in scoring defense and is second in scoring offense.
Short yardage: The Cowboys are making their fourth trip to the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys last played in the Classic in 2010, falling to Ole Miss, 21-7. … The Cowboys' last meeting with Missouri came in Columbia in 2011 and they beat the Tigers 45-24 on their way to winning the Big 12 championship. … Missouri defeated Arkansas to win the Cotton Bowl in 2008. That game was played at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Fair Park. That's the last time the Big 12 won the Cotton Bowl. … A victory would give Missouri coach his 102nd victory as the Tigers' coach, surpassing Don Faurot for the most in school history.