AT&T Cotton Bowl 2014: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri, TV Info and Predictions
AT&T Stadium will be lit up with fireworks in early January for the Cotton Bowl.
Missouri will face off against Oklahoma State in one of the most fascinating bowl matchups this holiday season. The Tigers and Cowboys can score points in a hurry, so expect another shootout in college football's best non-BCS bowl.
Both teams are coming off losses that cost them a chance to be in a BCS bowl this season.
Missouri finished a surprisingly successful season with 11 wins. But the Tigers lost last week in the SEC Championship Game to Auburn, costing them an opportunity to play in the BCS National Championship.
Oklahoma State rolled to another 10-win season under Mike Gundy. Yet it ended sourly when the Cowboys allowed in-state rival Oklahoma to sneak away with a win last week.
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Date: Jan. 3, 2014
Place: AT&T Stadium; Arlington, TX
Missouri Keys to Victory
Play Faster Defensively
Simply put, Missouri's defense was awful against Auburn.
The Tigers allowed 59 points and 677 yards, 545 of which came on the ground. Auburn scored at least 14 points in every quarter.
Missouri could not keep up with the tempo of the Auburn offense a week after holding Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M to only 21 points. For the first time all season, Missouri looked significantly lower than its opponent.
The defense, particularly in the front seven, will need to step up in order to stop Oklahoma State. The Cowboys can rack up points quickly.
Stay the Course Offensively
Missouri's offense did its part against Auburn. Quarterback James Franklin gave his team the lead multiple times with his masterful performance.
Head coach Gary Pinkel should not change anything. The Oklahoma State defense allowed Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell to look like Tom Brady at times. Franklin has the ability to do that over the course of an entire game.
Oklahoma State Keys to Victory
Have a Short Memory
Oklahoma State lost its chance for a BCS bowl with the loss to Oklahoma.
Sure, it would have been nice to play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in place of Baylor. But the Bears will face UCF in a game few will care about.
The Cowboys need to realize they got a better team. This is the best non-BCS game possible in an elite venue. There's no time to sulk after a heartbreaking loss to the Sooners.
The reason Oklahoma State lost last week was that the defense could not shut the door. If the Cowboys have the lead late, it's important to put pressure on Missouri's James Franklin.
Missouri Players to Watch
Running back Henry Josey only got nine carries against Auburn. He made them count with 123 yards and a touchdown.
Josey was pushed into a golf cart after a 65-yard run, but he says he is fine. He did not get a carry for the rest of the game.
Josey needs at least 15 touches against Oklahoma State if he is healthy.
Defensive end Michael Sam has been one of the most consistent linemen in the SEC.
Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf did not play well against Oklahoma, nor did Sam against Auburn. If Sam and the defensive line can put pressure on Chelf, Missouri's defense will get back to forcing turnovers like it has all season long.
Oklahoma State Players to Watch
NFL scouts salivate at the sight of cornerback Justin Gilbert. And rightfully so.
Gilbert has a chance to showcase his talents against the lengthy receivers of Missouri. He will certainly not back down from the challenge.
Josh Stewart is Oklahoma State's most explosive playmaker, though he has not played consistently enough at a high level to gain more attention.
Stewart hasn't had a reception for more than 30 yards since late October. He has a prime opportunity to show his speed on a national stage in early January.
What They Are Saying
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said his team is excited to play Missouri in the Cotton Bowl, via Jimmie Trammel of the Tulsa World.
We get to enjoy being around each other for a few more weeks and we get to face a quality opponent in Missouri, who we have a long history with. The Cotton Bowl is one of the best bowl games and has a rich history of great teams and great players. We look forward to adding to that with an exciting game this year.
Missouri's Gary Pinkel said he is staying put at Missouri despite rumors of him heading elsewhere, via ESPN's Mike and Mike radio show.
I'll be quite frank: I'm staying at the University of Missouri. I, with the administration's help, will continue to build a national program in a quest for a national championship...I'm a Missouri Tiger, and I'm going to stay a Missouri Tiger.
Missouri and Oklahoma State are two evenly matched teams. Gary Pinkel and Mike Gundy are both excellent in-game managers.
Since the Cotton Bowl moved to Jerry's World in 2010, the games have not been close. Expect that to change on January 3.
Pinkel's Tigers have slightly more talent across the board and a significantly better quarterback in Franklin. The edge goes to Missouri in a close one.
Score: Missouri 37, Oklahoma State 31