ARLINGTON, Texas - Bragging rights in the state of Oklahoma will reside in Norman. And it will be a bitter offseason for Oklahoma State, the Sooners' Bedlam rival.
Oklahoma not only pulled off one of the bigger upsets and more satisfying victories of the bowl season with an upset of third-ranked Alabama Thursday night, the Cowboys were unable to match the Sooners' victory over a Southeastern Conference opponent.
In the Cotton Bowl Friday night, No. 12 Oklahoma State's bid to rally for a second time in the fourth quarter was short circuited. No.8 Missouri, in its second season in the SEC, scored the final 14 points to close out the season with a 41-31 victory.
"We came up short in the last two games of the season basically on the last two plays of the game," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "It's a tough way to lose the last two games, it's really hard on our team; that's a very, very disappointed locker room."
The game unfolded in eerie fashion for the Cowboys (10-3). A final touchdown by their foe was similar to how OU closed out its bowl victory. And a game-changing turnover just slipped away – just like the end of Bedlam on Dec. 7 when Justin Gilbert couldn't secure a clinching interception.
"We were close to winning the last two games," Oklahoma State offensive lineman Parker Graham said. "We were close to having a 12-win season. It's not a positive thing, but it's a fact."
The Tigers clinched the victory with a strip-sack-scoop-score, mirroring Oklahoma's door-slamming play in the Sugar Bowl. Missouri All-American defensive end Michael Sam, held in check all night, got loose on Clint Chelf's blind side to force a fumble that was returned 73 yards by Shane Ray.
"We were gonna take a shot at the end zone and I felt pressure and wanted to get rid of it," said Chelf, who completed 33 of a season-high 57 attempts. "Just bad ball security on my part."
Before that dagger, it appeared Oklahoma State was going to answer Missouri's touchdown that gave the Tigers a 34-31 lead with 3:08 to play. Henry Josey capped a 69-yard drive with a 16-yard scoring run, his third of the game.
Missouri quarterback James Franklin, who was just 15-of-40, hit Dorial Green-Beckham with a 27-yard pass on third and nine to set up Josey's score but the drive easily could have ended prematurely.
On the play before, Franklin's pass to DGB was tipped and Oklahoma State senior linebacker had his hands on a shoestring catch but couldn't maintain control.
"(Linebacker Shaun Lewis) told me to push up on that play, that they'd be throwing in that area and he was right," Lavey said. "It got deflected and I got my hands on it. Looking back on it, I wish I could have brought that sucker in."
Chelf scampered 23 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 24 with 9:51 remaining. With momentum swinging in their favor, the Cowboys almost closed the door. Defensive back Tyler Patmon's 40-yard pick six of Franklin would have given Oklahoma State a seven-point lead but he was flagged for pass interference.
"They said (Patmon) interfered but I didn't get an explanation," Gundy said. "I just saw two guys competing for the ball. Both have a right to the football. They said our guy interfered. Obviously I have to go with that."
Maintaining possession, Missouri capped the drive with Andrew Baggett's 46-yard field goal to take a 27-24 lead with 6:29 to play.
The Cowboys appeared to be taking control early in the second quarter even though the Tigers had run twice as many plays. After forcing a three-and-out that led to a Missouri punt shank, Oklahoma State took over at the Tigers' 48.
Six players later, the drive stalled at the Missouri 12. After a delay of game penalty, freshman kicker Ben Grogan faced a 34-yard field goal. After a shaky start to the season, Grogan had made nine of his last 12 but this attempt doinked off the top of the right upright.
After the Mauk-powered TD drive gave Mizzou a 14-7 lead, the Cowboys were in position to answer.
Stewart split out wide, faked a hitch route and then went deep, easily getting behind a Missouri defender. Chelf's pass sailed wide left and out of bounds. It woulda, shoulda, coulda been a 47-yard touchdown pass and a second Chelf-to-Stewart TD connection.
"When you're playing a team as good as Missouri, there's not much room for error," Gundy said. "We missed some throws … if we get it to Josh there, he's going to score. They won the kicking game; we missed a short and they made a long one."
The outcome finished the Big 12's bowl season with three victories in six games. And in the final Cotton Bowl matching these two conferences, bragging rights went to the SEC. Missouri, ironically the last Big 12 team to win the Cotton Bowl (in 2008), gave the SEC a closing six-game winning streak. The point totals in those games: 220-125.
It was a bad night for OSU teams. In addition to the Cowboys' loss, No. 7 Ohio State lost in the Orange Bowl to Clemson. Both OSUs lost their last two games, outcomes that put a 180 on their seasons.
"The last two losses are hard because we've had so much success," Gundy said. "A loss like this will hurt forever but our seniors understand that adversity will make them better. They know that. It will make them better the rest of their lives."
Oklahoma State Bowl History (Record 14-9)
|Jan. 3, 2014||Cotton Bowl-Missouri 41, Oklahoma State 31|
|Jan. 1, 2013||Heart of Dallas Bowl-Oklahoma State 58, Purdue 14|
|Jan. 2, 2012||Fiesta Bowl-Oklahoma State 41, Stanford 38, OT|
|Dec. 29, 2010||Alamo Bowl-Oklahoma State 36, Arizona 10|
|Jan. 2, 2010||Cotton Bowl-Mississippi 21, Oklahoma State 7|
|Dec. 30, 2008||Holiday Bowl-Oregon 42, Oklahoma State 31|
|Dec. 31, 2007||Insight Bowl-Oklahoma State 49, Indiana 33|
|Dec. 28, 2006||Independence Bowl-Oklahoma State 34, Alabama 31|
|Dec. 29, 2004||Alamo Bowl-Ohio State 33, Oklahoma State 7|
|Jan. 2, 2004||Cotton Bowl-Mississippi 31, Oklahoma State 28|
|Dec. 27, 2002||Houston Bowl-Oklahoma State 33, Southern Miss. 23|
|Dec. 30, 1997||Alamo Bowl-Purdue 33, Oklahoma State 20|
|Dec. 30, 1989||Holiday Bowl-Oklahoma State 62, Wyoming 14|
|Dec. 25, 1987||Sun Bowl-Oklahoma State 35, West Virginia 33|
|Dec. 30, 1985||Gator Bowl-Florida State 34, Oklahoma State 23|
|Dec. 28, 1984||Gator Bowl-Oklahoma State 21, South Carolina 14|
|Dec. 31, 1983||Bluebonnet Bowl-Oklahoma State 24, Baylor 14|
|Dec. 12, 1981||Independence Bowl-Texas A&M 33, Oklahoma State 16|
|Dec. 18, 1976||Tangerine Bowl-Oklahoma State 49, Brigham Young 21|
|Dec. 28, 1974||Fiesta Bowl-Oklahoma State 16, Brigham Young 6|
|Dec. 13, 1958||Blue Grass Bowl-Oklahoma State 15, Florida State 6|
|Jan. 1, 1949||Delta Bowl-William & Mary 20, Oklahoma State 0|
|Jan. 1, 1946||Sugar Bowl-Oklahoma State 33, State Mary's 13|
|Jan. 1, 1945||Cotton Bowl-Oklahoma State 34, Texas Christian 0|