Texas Defense Powers Longhorns to Texas Bowl Win vs. Missouri

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2017

Texas linebacker Anthony Wheeler (45) runs into the end zone for a touchdown after a fumble recovery, as Antwuan Davis celebrates during the first half against Missouri in the Texas Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Associated Press

The Texas Longhorns defeated the Missouri Tigers 33-16 in the Texas Bowl at Houston's NRG Stadium on Wednesday night to capture their first bowl win in five years.

The triumphant effort was largely without flash, but the Longhorns parlayed two Tigers turnovers into nine points through a second-quarter scoop-and-score and a third-quarter safety to take pressure off an offense that didn't produce big plays.

Quarterbacks Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele combined to complete 17 of 29 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns, while Longhorns rushers totaled 42 carries for 113 yards and a score.

Those shortcomings meant plenty of work for punter Michael Dickson—who was named the game's MVP for his outstanding performance, per the Texas Bowl's official Twitter account:

The 2017 Ray Guy Award winner finished the night with 11 punts for a staggering 452 yards. Ten of those attempts landed inside the 20-yard line, including eight that settled at or inside the 10-yard line.

Praise understandably poured in for the junior as he repeatedly flipped field position and pinned the Tigers deep:

And while Missouri outgained Texas, 390-280, a 3-of-14 third-down conversion rate meant quarterback Drew Lock and Co. were never able to establish a rhythm.

Lock, who's considering leaving Missouri and declaring for the 2018 NFL draft, finished 18-of-34 for 269 yards and one touchdown, which came in the form of a 79-yard laser to Johnathon Johnson on the first play of the third quarter, as ESPN documented:

However, that was as good as things would get for the Tigers.

The Longhorns' safety with 1:10 remaining in the third quarter put them back up by a touchdown, and a 41-yard Joshua Rowland field goal less than three minutes into the final frame gave them all the cushion they needed.

As a result, the Tigers saw their three-game bowl winning streak snapped as they suffered their first postseason loss since the 2010 Insight Bowl.

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