IT’S OFFICIAL: No. 13 OKLAHOMA STATE VS. No. 8 MISSOURI IN THE 78th AT&T COTTON BOWL CLASSIC
As much as things change, they remain the same. The Missouri Tigers will meet their old Big 12 conference foe, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, in the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic on Friday, Jan. 3rd.
“We are thrilled to have two of the top-ranked teams in the country with Oklahoma State and Missouri, and needless to say, Coach Gundy and Coach Pinkel have put together two great teams that deserved to be honored at the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic,” Tommy Bain, Chairman of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic said. “I can guarantee you, with OSU and Mizzou’s strong fan base, it’s going to be a great atmosphere at AT&T Stadium come January 3rd.”
Missouri, the SEC East Division Champion, will be making its third appearance in the Classic and first since 2008 when the Tigers dismantled Arkansas, 38-7. OSU is making its fourth trip to the AT&T Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys, 10-2 and 7-2 in conference play, last played in the Classic in 2010, falling to Ole Miss, 21-7.
The Tigers, 11-2 and 7-2 in conference, are coming off a trip to the SEC Championship Game in only their second season as a SEC member. Despite standout performances from running back Henry Josey and wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, Auburn was able to outlast Missouri for a 59-42 win and a trip to the BCS National Championship.
Oklahoma State hosted Oklahoma Saturday in bitter-cold conditions in Stillwater in another bedlam game that went down to the wire. The Pokes went toe-to-toe with the Sooners before OU scored in the final minute to steal the victory, 33-24.
The Cowboys have the top-ranked scoring defense in the Big 12, and going into the Oklahoma game, OSU had the 13th best defense in the country, led by Jim Thorpe Award Finalist Justin Gilbert, who finished No. 1 in the Big 12 with six interceptions. The Pokes’ offense ranked second in the Big 12 behind Baylor, averaging 39 points a game.
Missouri brings in a prolific offense with a balanced attack averaging 252 yards through the air and 236 yards on the ground. The Tigers averaged close to 40 points a game this year. OSU had racked up seven straight wins going into Saturday’s game, including wins over three ranked teams in Texas Tech, Texas and Baylor, all in November.
Missouri is led by senior dual-threat quarterback James Franklin, who will be coming home to play his final college game at the Classic. Franklin is a graduate of Lake Dallas High School. The Tigers have 36 players on their roster from Texas while OSU has 71 players coming back to their home state to play in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
“This is our final Classic with our formal matchup between the Big 12 and SEC before joining the College Football Playoff next year,” Fin Ewing, Team Selection Chairman of the AT&T Cotton Bowl said. “We’ve had some incredible matchups over the years with these two conferences, and I expect Oklahoma State and Missouri will be another great Classic with plenty of fireworks.”
Missouri and Oklahoma State will face off for the 53rd time, with the Tigers holding a 29-23 edge in the series. The Cowboys won the last meeting, defeating Mizzou, 45-24 at Columbia in 2011.
Kickoff of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3rd and will be nationally televised on FOX. All club and reserved seats sold through the AT&T Cotton Bowl are sold out. Tickets are only available through the two participating schools.
AT&T COTTON BOWL STATEMENTS
TOMMY BAIN, CHAIRMAN, AT&T COTTON BOWL CLASSIC
“We just landed two of the preeminent teams in the country, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Missouri and Oklahoma State are capable of lighting up the scoreboard in a hurry, and defensively, each team is strong. Something is going to have to give come January 3rd. OSU beat three ranked teams in November and had one of the nation’s longest winning streaks going into the Oklahoma game. Missouri was absolutely sensational in just its second season in the SEC. The Tigers won the SEC’s Eastern Division and gave Auburn all it wanted in the conference championship game. We can’t wait to get these two teams to Arlington, pamper them with some Texas hospitality, and then prepare for another exciting Classic.”
FIN EWING, TEAM SELECTION CHAIRMAN, AT&T COTTON BOWL CLASSIC
“Anyone that follows college football knows this year’s Classic is going to be absolutely terrific. Without question, Oklahoma State and Missouri are two of the nation’s best teams. We got lucky again to have a chance to showcase a matchup like this. The Cowboys and Tigers were both in contention for conference championships going into the final weekend of the season. Both bring lofty national rankings into our game. Throughout the season, they were permanent fixtures in the weekly polls and each spent considerable time in the Top 10. I’m proud of these two teams and the way in which they play the game. I look forward to another outstanding Classic.”
RICK BAKER, PRESIDENT, AT&T COTTON BOWL CLASSIC
“Landing two teams the quality of Missouri and Oklahoma State is extremely exciting for our game. The Tigers basically lived in the BCS Top 10 since the rankings were first released on October 20. The Cowboys finished just as strong. Missouri was fifth and Oklahoma State was sixth going into the final weekend of the season. That alone is evidence of the strength of these two football teams that will battle one another in our 78th Classic. We have tremendous respect for Coach Gundy and Coach Pinkel. The Cowboys helped us christen AT&T Stadium at the 2010 Classic when our game moved to Arlington. And, who can forget the incredible performance of the Tigers in 2008 when Tony Temple ran for 281 yards to erase a 54-year old rushing record. The timing is perfect to get these two teams matched up in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.”
OKLAHOMA STATE STATEMENTS
MIKE HOLDER, ATHLETIC DIRECTOR
“The Cotton Bowl is a great partner of ours and we’re excited for the opportunity to play in this year’s game against Missouri,” OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder said. “So many of our current students, graduates and fans live in the Dallas area and this is a great opportunity to bring Oklahoma State to them.”
MIKE GUNDY, HEAD COACH
“Playing in the Cotton Bowl is a great reward for our team,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “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 a great game this year.”
MIKE ALDEN, DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS
“Mizzou is very pleased to be part of the 78th annual Cotton Bowl Classic,” said Director of Athletics Mike Alden. “The Cotton Bowl is one of the iconic bowl games in all of college football, and it will be a great reward for our team to have the opportunity to play in AT&T Stadium. We have an outstanding alumni base in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and I know our fans will be excited to see the Tigers come their way once again,” he said.
GARY PINKEL, HEAD COACH
“We are honored and excited to accept a bid to play in the Cotton Bowl,” said Head Coach Gary Pinkel, who will be making his ninth bowl game appearance in 13 seasons at Mizzou. “We know first-hand just how great of a trip this is, and how first-class of an operation the Cotton Bowl runs. We have a chance to play an outstanding team in Oklahoma State, and this is an opportunity to finish up a special season in front of a great Mizzou crowd,” Pinkel said.