It took a little while, but Missouri showed why it was the SEC East champion and a national title contender.
Missouri struggled offensively in the first three quarters and were plagued by three turnovers. But the Tigers exploded for an AT&T Stadium record 24 fourth quarter points, and Shane Ray returned a fumble 73 yards for a touchdown with 2:13 remaining as Missouri topped Oklahoma State 41-31 in the 78th annual AT&T Cotton Bowl.
“All the drama you don’t want in the fourth quarter we had,” said Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said.
As Shane Ray gathered the fumble that ultimately sealed Missouri’s second-ever 12-win season, linebacker Andrew Wilson still wasn’t finished fighting.
“I started screaming and I chased him all the way into the end zone, which was not smart because I was dead tired after that,” he said with a laugh. “That was an awesome play.”
Wilson had every reason to be tired on Friday at AT&T Stadium. The five-year senior capped a fulfilling career by making 15 tackles and earning the McKnight Trophy, awarded to the Cotton Bowl’s most valuable defensive player.
At four hours and 19 minutes, tonight’s AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic was the longest in Classic history. The previous record was three hours and 47 minutes in the 2003 Classic between LSU and Texas.
The combined 101 passing attempts by Missouri (44) and Oklahoma State (57) are the most combined passing attempts in Cotton Bowl history. The previous record was 84 by Oklahoma (49) and Texas A&M (35) in the 2013 Classic.
The combined 41 points in the fourth quarter is a Cotton Bowl record for combined points in any quarter.
Missouri junior Henry Josey is a comeback tailback.
After suffering a season-ending injury in 2011 that would also sideline him for the next year, Josey has solidified his return to form, tallying three touchdowns and 92 yards in the 2014 edition of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic to claim the J. Curtis Sanford Offensive MVP award.
Josey’s three touchdowns Friday night at AT&T Stadium matched a career high and leave him with 16 for the season. He becomes one of only five players with three or more rushing touchdowns in the Classic.
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening comment from Coach Pinkel.
COACH PINKEL: What a game. Oklahoma State is a really good team. Just all the drama that you don't want as a coach in the fourth quarter we had. We had a lot of adversity. I thought our team handled the adversity very well. Fortunately we made the plays we needed to make to win it at the end.
Very proud of our football team. Wanted that trophy really bad for them.
THE MODERATOR: We will ask Coach Gundy to make an opening comment.
COACH GUNDY: It's a tough way to lose the last two games. It's really hard on our team. I was proud of our effort. We had our chances.
Moving forward, we're very, very proud of the 28 seniors. They fought all the way till the end. We just didn't make the plays in the end. They made the last couple plays.
But the Cotton Bowl has been tremendous.
With the loss to Missouri, OSU finishes the season 10-3. The Cowboys are now 15-9 all time in postseason bowl games, which includes a 5-3 mark under Mike Gundy.
OSU is now 1-3 all time in Cotton Bowl games, winning in 1945 vs. TCU and also losing to Ole Miss in 2004 and 2010.
Serving as Oklahoma State captains for today’s game were Parker Graham, Deion Imade, Shaun Lewis, Clint Chelf and Caleb Lavey.
OSU’s senior class finishes with a 41-11 mark over the last four years, matching the 2011 Cowboys as the winningest senior class in school history.
The No. 8 Mizzou Tigers claimed the school’s second-ever Cotton Bowl Classic championship with its 41-31 victory over No. 13 Oklahoma State on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. It was Missouri’s third all-time appearance in the bowl, with the Tigers winning for the first time since the 2008 game (38-7 vs. Arkansas).
Head coach Gary Pinkel became Mizzou's all-time winningest coach with the Cotton Bowl victory. Through 13 seasons, Pinkel holds a 102-63 record, moving past legendary Don Faurot, who won 101 games from 1935-42, 46-56.
HEAD COACH GARY PINKEL
“Just to mention some of the things that Mike said, too, I would say thanks to AT&T, thanks to the Cotton Bowl, second to none as far as hospitality. And, you know, just everybody has been great. The City of Dallas, everywhere we've gone, we've been treated with respect and kindness. It is just a great situation that you have here. And you do all the right things from our standpoint. And our players have had a great time.
HEAD COACH MIKE GUNDY
“From our administration, players and the Big 12, we want to say thank you to AT&T. Bowl games are about an opportunity for the fans, coaches, players to enjoy a week. And as everybody said, the Cotton Bowl's been terrific, the hospitality, everything involved. We've had a great week.
“We're very excited about the game. We want to say congratulations to Coach Pinkel, his staff, and his players for a terrific season, what they've been able to accomplish.
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR DAVE STECKEL
On Missouri defense getting production from players that weren’t highly rated recruits
“To begin when you say highly-rated, I’m not sure who makes those rankings. Have you ever seen any of those people who give those stars? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But we have a certain system at Missouri that will follow and go through our little checklist. Like I always tell people, to me my wife is the most beautiful woman in the world.
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE YURCICH
“On behalf of the Oklahoma State football program, I’d like to thank the Cotton Bowl and the administration for their warm hospitality, their generosity. It’s been a wonderful experience for the coaches and players and also for our families.”
On running back Desmond Roland
“Desmond has had a tremendous season for us. I know Dez is really focused and looking forward to this opportunity to get back in front of his hometown and to be able to put on a great performance for you.
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOSH HENSON
On playing alma mater (Oklahoma State) and former program at which he coached
“I see a lot of familiar faces and have a lot of familiarity with the people around the program. Other than that, you take the emotions out of it obviously. It is just another game and the truth is that every day I am with the guys in this room and on the Missouri team. That is where my heart and soul is every day in preparing to win the game. Obviously, do I have special feelings toward Oklahoma State, sure I do, it is my home it is where I played, the team I grew up loving.
DALLAS – The Oklahoma State Cowboys, along with Head Coach Mike Gundy, spent part of their New Year’s Eve spreading 2014 wishes, visiting the children of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital Tuesday afternoon.
“This is a great experience for our team,” said Gundy. “Our team is very excited about participating in this year’s AT&T Cotton Bowl, but to be here with these children is a great opportunity for us and we will get more out of this visit than anyone else.
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR GLENN SPENCER
“It’s great to be here. We’ve had a tremendous experience so far. I’ve been to a lot of bowl games. This is hands down the best bowl in the nation, year in and year out. Somebody asked me yesterday if there was disappointment after losing the OU game and realizing we weren’t going to the Fiesta Bowl, and that disappointment turned right into elation when you find out you’re coming to the Cotton Bowl.