Recap: Mizzou outlasts OSU 41-31 to claim Cotton Bowl victory
ARLINGTON, Texas — Missouri got the big plays it needed at the end of the Cotton Bowl to beat an old rival.
Henry Josey ran for 92 yards and three touchdowns, the last a 16-yarder with 3:08 left, and Shane Ray returned a fumbled 73 yards for a touchdown after that as the No. 9 Tigers beat No. 13 Oklahoma State 41-31 late Friday night.
The former Big 12 and Big Eight rivals traded scores on six consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter, until Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf was sacked and fumbled with a minute left. Ray picked up the ball and rumbled down the sideline in front of the stunned Cowboys bench to score.
"All the drama you don’t want as a coach in the fourth quarter," Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel said. "We had a lot of adversity, and our team handled the adversity well and made the plays we needed to win. I wanted that trophy really bad, wanted it bad for them."
SEC East champion Missouri (12-2) matched its school record for victories, giving the SEC its 10th win in the last 11 Cotton Bowls, all against the Big 12. The Tigers were the only Big 12 team to win, six years ago in its other 12-win season.
"That’s something real big — representing the Big 12," Josey said. "That was always in the back of our mind that we had to hold up the rep for the SEC."
Josey’s go-ahead TD came a play after James Franklin’s 27-yard pass to Dorial Green-Beckham to convert third-and-9. Franklin, the Missouri quarterback whose final two seasons were plagued by injuries, had two fumbles earlier in the second half when Oklahoma State (10-3) overcame a 10-point deficit to tie it in just over 3 1/2 minutes.
Ray had been dragged into the end zone by Desmond Roland when the Oklahoma State running back bulled through the line for a 2-yard TD run with 5 minutes left to give the Cowboys their only lead of the night. Ray hit him immediately at the line, but couldn’t keep Roland from scoring.
Franklin was only 15-of-40 passing for 174 yards with an interception, and almost had another returned for a score but it was nullified by a penalty.
Chelf threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, completing 33 of 57 passes. He also ran 10 times for 48 yards, including a 23-yard run to convert a third-and-10 only a few plays before he was sacked by All-SEC defensive end Michael Sam and had the ball knocked loose.
That gave Sam 11 1/2 sacks, the most in the SEC and matching a school record.
Missouri wrapped up its second SEC season since leaving the Big 12. The Tigers debuted in their new league with a losing season, but made it to the SEC championship game in year two before losing to No. 2 Auburn.
"What a great way to finish the season," said Pinkel, whose 102nd victory in his 13th season snapped a tie with Don Faurot for the most in school history.
With the game tied, Franklin appeared to throw his second interception with 9 minutes left. But with Tyler Patmon running 40 yards to the end zone for an apparent go-ahead touchdown, a flag was thrown for pass interference and Mizzou kept the ball. The Tigers settled for Andrew Baggett’s 46-yard field goal.
"I felt as if both guys were competing for the ball," Cowboys linebacker Shaun Lewis said. "It’s unfortunate. That play would have turned the game."
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said he was told only that Patmon interfered and didn’t really get an explanation about the penalty from the referees.
"I didn’t see it," Gundy said. "I just saw two guys competing for the ball."
Oklahoma State then went 75 yards for its only lead, the longest play on the drive being when Tracy Moore was fully extended and lunging forward when he caught a 41-yard pass to the Tigers 28.
"It’s hard on our team," Gundy said. "That’s a very, very disappointed locker room right now."
The Cowboys were trying to win 11 games for the third time in four seasons. Before Mike Gundy became the coach in 2005, the Cowboys had never won 11 games.
Oklahoma State trailed 17-7 at halftime before getting even after the two fumbles by Franklin.
That sequence actually began when Chelf was picked off by Braylon Webb. But Mizzou gave the ball back on the next play when Franklin fumbled on a botched handoff, with James Castleman recovering at the Tigers 33.
Chelf threw a 21-yard TD pass to Jhajuan Seales with 2:10 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Franklin’s pitch was well behind Josey, and recovered by Daytawion Lowe at the Tigers 11. Oklahoma State had to settle for a tying 32-yard field goal by Ben Grogan, making up for an earlier miss.
Grogan had a 34-yard field goal attempt ricochet off the top of the right upright early in the second quarter.
Missouri backup quarterback Maty Mauk, who filled in for Franklin when he was hurt earlier this season, then trotted on the field with the Tigers offense for the first time. The freshman accounted for 105 yards on the drive, including runs of 35 and 34 yards before a 24-yard TD pass to Marcus Lucas.
When Mauk got a series in the second half, the Tigers went three-and-out.