What happens when your starting quarterback is making every possible mistake? Missouri stuck by James Franklin and his costly mistakes, ending up winning the Cotton Bowl 41-31 mostly thanks to some big defensive plays and an excellent game on the ground from Henry Josey.
Franklin was benched at some point but even though Maty Mauk threw a touchdown pass in his short time on the field, Gary Pinkel came back to Franklin, who almost cost him the victory over Oklahoma State, with quarterback Clint Chelf having a bad day as well, throwing two interceptions and fumbling the ball that sealed the victory for Mizzou. With less than two minutes in the game and the Cowboys trailing by three points, Shane Ray returned a Chelf fumble for 73 yards and scored the touchdown that meant it was all over.
All the drama you don’t want as a coach in the fourth quarter. 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. What a great way to finish the season.
Missouri finished for only the second time in school history with 12 wins, and giving the SEC another scalp as they claimed their 10th victory in a Cotton Bowl game from the last 11, all against Big 12 teams. Missouri being a Big 12 team only two years ago didn’t really matter, as they came away as the winner from the turnover game, probably due to a pass interference call that was highly disputed by the side that lost.
I felt as if both guys were competing for the ball. It’s unfortunate. That play would have turned the game.
With the game tied at 24, Franklin threw his second interception of the game. Tyler Patmon was cruising towards the endzone and a 40-yard interception return touchdown, but a flag was thrown for pass interference and Mizzou kept the ball and Missouri got to score a field goal. They did lose the lead again later, but that was a big turning point in the game from which the Tigers might not have recovered from.
They had their defense, with Shane Ray scoring off the fumble return with 55 seconds left in the game, and there was also their running game. Big 12 defenses aren’t built usually to stop the run, and Mizzou had a lot of fun with that, gaining 256 yards on 47 carries. Henry Josey ran for 92 yards on 12 carries, but almost every touch was golden, getting past the finish line three times, including twice in the fourth quarter with a 25-yards and 16-yards touchdown runs.
Oklahoma State just couldn’t make the most of Franklin’s mistakes, not to mention having a turnover issue themselves. The Cowboys missed out on winning 11 games for the third time in four years, losing the final two this season, costing them the Big 12 title (losing to Oklahoma in Bedlam) and eventually a prestigious bowl game win. Missouri rebounded quite well from an overwhelming first year experience in the SEC, hoping that this win propels them to more consistent and successful times.