In a game in which came down to the wire, Mizzou held their ground and, with the help of a Shane Ray 73 yard fumble return touchdown with less than a minute left, were able to defeat Oklahoma State (10-3, 7-2 Big 12) 41-31 and win the 2014 Cotton Bowl.
Running back Henry Josey lead the Tigers (12-2, 7-1 SEC) with 92 yards on 12 carries, along with three touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Maty Mauk also had a strong game on the ground, as while he only had 32 yards passing, he had 73 yards rushing on three carries, his longest being a 35 yard gain that sent Mizzou down into Cowboys territory. Senior quarterback James Franklin struggled through the air during the game, going 15/40 for 174 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.
Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf aired it out most of the game, due to them being behind most of the game, going 33/57 for 377 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Mizzou got on the board first with a Josey three yard run late in the first, and Oklahoma State followed two minutes later with a 40 yard touchdown pass caught by Josh Stewart. At the end of the first quarter, the game was tied at 7.
The 2nd quarter was all Mizzou, as they held the Cowboys without a point while adding to their own score. In one of only four of his attempted passes, Mauk threw a 24 yard short pass to Marcus Lucas for the touchdown, and, added with an Andrew Baggett kick with 0:00 in the 2nd, Mizzou went into halftime up 17-7.
It was after the half that Oklahoma State would try to mount a comeback against the 8th ranked Tigers. Mizzou, however, held their ground until 2:10 in the third, when Chelf was able to cut the Cowboys’ deficit to a field goal.
It was the fourth quarter that made this Cotton Bowl a classic. Cowboys’ kicker Ben Grogan was able to tie the game early in the 4th with a 25 yard field goal. But Henry Josey was just getting started, as he put Mizzou up by a touchdown once again with a 25 yard TD run. Chelf would answer right back for OSU as he ran 23 yards for a touchdown to knot the game up again.
A 46 yard field goal by Baggett put Mizzou up 27-24, but a Desmond Rolan touchdown run put OSU ahead 31-27 with five minutes to go. After driving down field, Josey once again pounded it into the end zone, to give Mizzou the lead once again.
With less than a minute left, as OSU tried to tie the game with a field goal, Chelf was sacked and fumbled the football, and Shane Ray returned it all the way to the end zone, sealing the win for Mizzou.
Mizzou with the win tied it’s school record for victories (12), and ensured that 10 of the last 11 Cotton Bowls were won by an SEC team. The one Big-12 team? Mizzou in 2008 when they also had a 12 win season. Mizzou has the talent and strong coaching from Gary Pinkel to be a real force in the SEC, as they showed this year, improving from a struggling season last year.
And now, Columbia, Missouri can celebrate as their college football team is bringing home another bowl trophy. (Photo credit: Tim Heitman/USA Today).