Missouri outlasts Oklahoma State in the craziest fourth quarter of the bowl season

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It started innocently enough with Oklahoma State kicking a 25-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to tie Missouri at 17-17 in the Cotton Bowl. Little did anyone who had watched the previous three quarters that the fireworks were about to be lit. Missouri and Oklahoma State combined for 41 points as Missouri came out on top with a 41-31 victory. Missouri’s Henry Josey rushed for two of his three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help lead the Tigers to the win.

Missouri used both of their quarterbacks in the game. James Franklin started the game but struggled to find a rhythm against Oklahoma State’s persistent and determined defense. Franklin completed just four of his first 16 pass attempts before being replaced by Maty Mauk. Mauk provided a spark but the impact was short-lived in the first half. Franklin returned to the game and completed 11 of his 24 pass attempts since being replaced by Mauk, for 141 yards.

The first three quarters were more about defenses than anything else. Oklahoma State was kept off the scoreboard in the second quarter and went nearly 30 minutes between scores in a game that was supposed to be a shootout from the start. Perhaps the old Big 12 familiarity between the two programs crept in as a factor but the offenses took over in the fourth quarter to provide more of the type of game that was expected.The teams traded scores with Oklahoma State finally grabbing a lead with just over five minutes to play with a Desmond Roland touchdown run. Josey broke a 16-yard touchdown run two minutes later, and the defense of Missouri had the final laugh. Michael Sam rushed from the right side of the pocket and hit Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf to knock the football loose. Misso Shane Ray picked it up and ran down the right sideline for 73 yards and a double-digit lead just as the Cowboys were putting the pressure on. Chelf passed for 377 yards and two touchdowns, but he also was picked off twice and had the costly fumble.

Missouri may not ave won the SEC Championship Game, but the experiences from this season can help continue to grow the program to a perennial contender in the SEC East. The Tigers were aided by down years by Georgia and Florida, and they did lose at home to South Carolina and run out of steam against Auburn. The signs of progress were shown this season in Columbia, Missouri. Missouri fits in just fine in the SEC, and Friday night’s Cotton Bowl victory is the latest evidence to support that argument.

Missouri will look to continue to prove they are a contender in the SEC East and SEC next season. The Tigers will have a favorable schedule without crossover games against Alabama and LSU, but they will make trips to Georgia and Florida. Both programs should be ready for a bounce back in 2014. Missouri also plays host to American and Fiesta Bowl champion UCF in mid-September, which should be an entertaining match-up as well.

Oklahoma State will start the 2014 season right in this same building. The Cowboys will face Florida State in the season opener at AT&T Stadium. They could be facing the defending BCS champions being led by the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Unfortunately for Oklahoma State the Cowboys will be in a bit of a transition with their roster after losing a good number of seniors.

Sneak Peek: 2014 Cotton Bowl

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WHO: 11-2 Missouri (SEC) vs. 10-2 Oklahoma State (Big 12)

WHAT: Cotton Bowl Classic (78th Year)

WHERE: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas

WHEN: Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET

WHY: We may not get a more balanced bowl game in terms of competition. Oklahoma State and Missouri, statistically, are about as even as can be, and each should be capable of putting up some points in this one. Oklahoma State averages 39.8 points per game, just above the 39.0 ppg being put up by the Tigers.

In a clash of almost-conference champions, Missouri will hope to get more good play out of quarterback James Franklin while the defense looks for ways to lock down on defense after being run over by Auburn. Outside of the SEC Championship Game, Missouri’s defense has generally been pretty good this season. The Tigers held seven of their opponents to 21 points or fewer this season. It starts up front with defensive lineman Michael Sam and continues in the back-field with E.J. Gaines. Both earned First Team All-SEC honors this season.

That defense will look to slow down an Oklahoma State offense that has scored no fewer than 21 points in any game this season. The Cowboys will have to utilize an up-tempo style at times to keep Missouri guessing. Oklahoma State will not pound the running game the way Auburn did, but they should not stray away from it despite mediocre results this season. Look for quarterback Clint Chelf to try to take advantage of short, quick and accurate passes to keep the offense moving.

Of course, these are two former Big 12 foes as well, so the familiarity level with the programs should be pretty solid. the all-time series has a slight edge in favor of Missouri too, with a  28-23 mark dating back to 1915.

PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 38, Missouri 33

SJSU’s Fales, Iowa’s Kirksey claim Camp honors

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The penultimate weekly Walter Camp honors are in, and an astounding offensive performance headlines Week 14’s honorees.

The Camp Foundation announced that San Jose State quarterback David Fales and Iowa linebacker Christian Kirksey have been named the National Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week.

Fales passed for 547 yards and threw six touchdowns as SJSU handed unbeaten Fresno State its first loss of the 2013 season.  The senior added 33 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground in leading the Spartans to bowl eligibility.

On the defensive side, Kirksey was credited with 11 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry in the Hawkeyes’ 21-point win over Nebraska.

Below is the year-to-date list of weekly 2013 Camp honorees:

WEEK 1: Alabama wide receiver Christion Jones, Virginia safety Anthony Harris
WEEK 2: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun
WEEK 3: Ohio State quarterback Kenny Guiton, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr
WEEK 4: Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage, Maryland safety A.J. Hendy
Week 5: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, TCU safety Sam Carter
Week 6
: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy
Week 7
: Army running back Terry Baggett, Louisiana-Monroe safety Isaiah Newsome
Week 8: NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch, Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner
Week 9: SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert, Duke linebacker Kelby Brown
Week 10
: Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen
Week 11
: Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs, Duke defensive back Devon Edwards
Week 12
: Boston College running back Andre Williams, North Carolina defensive end Kareem Martin
Week 13
: Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf, Pittsburgh defensive tackleAaron Donald
Week 14
: San Jose State quarterback David Fales, Iowa linebacker Christian Kirksey

Ok. St.’s Chelf, Pitt’s Donald claim Week 13 Camp honors

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An upset of the No. 3 team in the country netted one player half of a national honor, while yet another dominating performance earned one of the top defensive players in the country that almost no one talks about the other half.

The Walter Camp foundation announced that Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf and Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald have been named the National Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for their Week 13 performances.

Chelf totaled 438 yards of offense and four touchdowns as the Cowboys pummeled unbeaten Baylor in Stillwater Saturday night.  Included in that offensive total were a career-high 370 passing yards as well as a 46-yard reception off a double-pass.

Through 13 weekly awards, Chelf is the only Big 12 offensive player to claim Camp honors in 2013.

In the Panthers’ win over Syracuse that earned them bowl eligibility, Donald was credited with nine tackles — eight of which were solo — 3.5 tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries.  In the first quarter, Donald was credited with a blocked extra point in a game that went on to be decided by one point.

Donald is far and away the nation’s leader in tackles for loss with 26; Colorado State’s Shaquil Barrett is second with 20.5.  He’s also tied for ninth in the nation with nine sacks in 11 games.

To put the season Donald is having into perspective, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh had 24 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 14 games in 2009.  Suh was a Heisman finalist that season and finished fourth in the balloting.  And, yes, I’m saying Donald should be a part of the Heisman discussion in 2013.

Below is the year-to-date list of weekly 2013 Camp honorees:

WEEK 1: Alabama wide receiver Christion Jones, Virginia safety Anthony Harris
WEEK 2: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun
WEEK 3: Ohio State quarterback Kenny Guiton, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr
WEEK 4: Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage, Maryland safety A.J. Hendy
Week 5: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, TCU safety Sam Carter
Week 6
: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy
Week 7
: Army running back Terry Baggett, Louisiana-Monroe safety Isaiah Newsome
Week 8: NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch, Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner
Week 9: SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert, Duke linebacker Kelby Brown
Week 10
: Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen
Week 11
: Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs, Duke defensive back Devon Edwards
Week 12
: Boston College running back Andre Williams, North Carolina defensive end Kareem Martin
Week 13
: Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald

The Fifth Quarter: Week 13 Rewind

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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

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A righteous salute
Daniel Rodriguez earned a Purple Heart and was awarded the Bronze Star for his military service in Afghanistan several years ago.  Rodriguez moved on to become  a wide receiver at Clemson, walking on to the Tigers football team after serving two tours of duty.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with his heartwarming story, you should be.  For those who are, there’s another chapter to add to it.  In the Tigers’ home finale Saturday, Rodriguez caught the first touchdown of his career, a two-yarder from backup Cole Stoudt less than a minute into the fourth quarter.  The best part?  The touchdown came on a Senior Day that also doubled as Military Appreciation Day.  A bona-fide war hero scores a touchdown on a day that honors the military?  It doesn’t get much better than that.  And, dammit, it got dusty in here when that highlight came across my television screen.  God bless Rodriguez for his service.  And God bless Dabo Swinney for not only giving Rodriguez the opportunity to write this story, but for allowing him to add this on-field chapter to it.

OSU wins, as does OSU
Thanks to a team with the same acronym, Ohio State can stuff the phrase “style points” back in the closet for at least another year.  With Oklahoma State’s win over Baylor, the Buckeyes are now the clear-cut No. 3 team in the country, perched just outside of the Top Two and awaiting a stumble — either on the field or off — by Alabama or Florida State to clear a spot in the BCS title game — provided they remain perfect, of course.  The Bears had been poised to leapfrog the Buckeyes in the BCS rankings with a win over the No. 10 Cowboys, standing just .0013 percentage points behind OSU entering Week 13.  Now, not only has BU lost out on what most certainly would’ve been a No. 3 slotting in this week’s BCS rankings, but they’ve given up control of the conference as well.  That honor, of course, now falls to the “other” OSU.  If the Cowboys can upend Oklahoma in the annual Bedlam matchup Dec. 7, they would claim the Big 12’s automatic BCS bid.  If the Cowboys loses, the winner of the Texas-Baylor game the same weekend — if the Longhorns handle Texas Tech on Thanksgiving and the Bears do the same with TCU two days later — would claim the conference title and the BCS berth.  And if there were a three-way tie?  Oklahoma State, on the strength of head-to-head wins over Baylor and Texas, would win the tiebreaker and the conference title.

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