Mizzou Football Looks To Win 7th In A Row At Texas Bowl In Houston
Barry Odom’s Missouri Tigers football team will take on the Texas Longhorns Wednesday night in The Advocare Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl. A win in Houston would be the seventh in-a-row for Mizzou and cap one of the biggest turnarounds in college football history.
Kickoff for Missouri-Texas in the Advocare Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is set for 8 pm on Wednesday December 27. The game can be seen on ESPN and the WatchESPN app.
Mizzou (7-5) were 1-3 after losing to Auburn on September 23. A fiery speech by its head coach was followed by a controversial loss to Kentucky and a loss to then-no. 4 Georgia before wins against Idaho, Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas to close the regular season.
Missouri football coach Barry Odom gives post-game press conference after his team’s loss on Auburn on September 23, 2017
The Tigers became bowl-eligible in Nashville, ended the regular season with a win at Arkansas and will attempt to make history in Houston.
The 2008 Rutgers team is the only other major college football team to history to finish the season with 8 wins after starting the season 1-5.
Longhorns To Be Without Multiple Players
Texas (6-6) went 5-4 in Big 12 play under first-year head coach Tom Herman. The Longhorns’ best game this season was a 27-24 loss in double overtime to then- No. 4 USC in Los Angeles. A win Wednesday night would give Texas its first winning season since 2013.
Texas will be without multiple players for tonight’s game. Three Longhorns – Connor Williams, DeShon Elliot and Holton Hill – have decided to the bowl game and their senior seasons and enter the NFL Draft. Ray Guy award winner Michael Dickson will also skip his final season and enter the draft, but will play one last collegiate game.
Chris Warren III has announced his intent to transfer while Toneil Carter, Garrett Gray and Lil’ Jordan Humphrey have all been suspended for a violation of team rules. Linebacker Malik Jefferson will also likely miss the game with a turf toe injury.
We can only hope that the absence of these players will mean that the trio of graduating walk-ons will see the field. They’ve definitely earned it, especially after bidding farewell to the Longhorn faithful with this video set to “Photograph” by Nickelback.
Thank you @TexasFootball for the 4 years of memories, and a lifetime of brotherhood. 4th year walk-ons signing out. #CurtainCall #WalkOn4Lyfe
Shot and edited by @NickKlesmith 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/0WZ8GakAr9
— UT Football Walkons (@ut_walkons) December 26, 2017
Buechele Expected To Start At Quarterback For Texas
Sophomore Shane Buechele is expected to be the starting quarterback for Texas Wednesday. He’s split time this season with freshman Sam Ehlinger, but has been Herman’s favorite as of late despite the freshman taking the majority of the team’s snaps in its last two games.
Buechele has completed 65.8% of his 199 passing attempts this season for 1,350 yards, 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Ehlinger has passed for 1,803 yards with 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, but completed just 56.5% of his passes this season.
Ehlinger is also the leading rusher in the anemic Texas rushing attack with 368 rushing yards on 101 attempts.
Freshman running back Daniel Young will lead the Texas rushing attack on Wednesday night after rushing for 325 yards and 3 touchdowns on 69 attempts during the regular season.
Crockett Expected To Return For Mizzou
Speaking of rushing attacks, Damarea Crockett is expected to return for Mizzou after undergoing shoulder surgery back in October and missing the last six games. The 5′ 11″ sophomore averaged six yards per carry this season before being injured after rushing for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns during his first season in Columbia.
Ish Witter and Larry Rountree III have powered the Missouri rushing attack in Crockett’s absence, rushing for 992 and 629 respectively.
J’Mon Moore Will Look To End College Career On High Note
With ten catches and 160 receiving yards against Arkansas, J’Mon Moore passed the 1,000 yard mark for the second time in his career. The senior wide receiver will play the last game as a Missouri Tiger less than 15 miles from where he starred for Elkins High School.
Moore is one of 11 Missouri players who fail from the state of Texas. Redshirt senior Jason Reese is also a Texas native who will be playing his final game in his home state.
Aside from the homecoming for the Texas Tigers, Wednesday night’s matchup offers plenty of motivation for the rest of the team.
Barry Odom’s first taste of college football came in the first game of the 1996 season against the Longhorns. The game during Odom’s freshman season also was the first game for Missouri as a member of the Big 12 athletic conference.
Half of Odom’s coaching staff either played or coached at Oklahoma, the Longhorns’ bitter rival.
Mizzou left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012, a move largely put into motion by Texas. The last game between the teams came in 2011 just days after the announcement of the SEC move. Kendial Lawrence rushed for 106 yards as Mizzou upset no. 21 Texas in Columbia.
While not lacking bulletin board material ahead of facing Texas, every Missouri Tiger is likely familiar with what then-Texas Men’s Athletic Director Deloss Dodds told the Austin Statesman in February 2013.
“Our bad years are not that bad. Take a school like Missouri. Our bad years are better than their good years.”
Mizzou Beats Texas In Rodeo Bowl
The Missouri Tigers have already beat the Texas Longhorns once in the events leading up to Wednesday’s football game. Mizzou topped Texas 4-3 in Saturday’s Rodeo Bowl.
The Rodeo Bowl pitted the two teams against each other in a series of rodeo-themed events. The Tigers dropped the first three events — goat milking, lasso and calf herding — before rallying to win four events and the overall event.
Drew Lock Has NFL Draft Evaluation To Use As Motivation
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock has not made a final decision on whether he will return to Columbia next season or depart for the NFL, but he may have some extra motivation against Texas.
The 21-year old revealed to reporters in Houston on Tuesday that the NFL’s Draft Advisory Council did not project him as a first or second round selection in the 2018 draft and advised him to return to Mizzou for his senior season.
Lock has thrown for 3,695 yards and 43 touchdowns this season in 12 games. His touchdown mark leads the nation while his 16.5 yards per completion ranks behind only Heisman Trophy-winning Baker Mayfield’s 16.56.
Over the course of Mizzou’s winning streak, Lock has thrown for 1,972 yards and 26 touchdowns against 5 interceptions.
The junior gunslinger told the Kansas City Star that he still may elect to leave for the professional ranks after Mizzou’s bowl game.
As Benjamin Hochman writes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today, Lock will have plenty of motivation on Wednesday night in Houston.
So on Wednesday, Drew Lock will step onto the Texans’ home field to play Texas in the Texas Bowl. And to those who haven’t heard much about him, here’s thinking he’ll soon remind them of someone they cherished in childhood, be it a high schooler slingin’ it from a dusty backfield or a future pro in burnt orange or maybe their favorite fictional Texas quarterback. Asked his, Lock cited “Friday Night Lights” and the QB1 named “Saracen, Matt Saracen. He was the man,” Lock explained. “He kind of came from nothing, but he loved ball. And you can appreciate guys who love ball at the quarterback position.”
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