Mizzou Links, 1-6-14: Goodbyes, tomorrows, and the Cotton Bowl

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Stay warm today, folks. My goodness.

1. Goodbye, seniors (and Kony)

Hell of a way to go out
PowerMizzou: Saying goodbye

Kony
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou's Ealy will skip senior year, enter NFL draft
KC Star: Missouri’s Ealy declares early for NFL Draft; Josey still deciding
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Ealy leaving, Golden staying, Josey undecided on NFL Draft

But especially this guy
Fox Sports MW: The last word on Mizzou's magical season went to the only man it could
The Trib: Sam caps off stellar senior season with signature sack in Missouri's 41-31 Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State
Mizzou Network: POSTGAME REPORT: Michael Sam after winning the Cotton Bowl

Caught ya, Dad
KC Star: Missouri linebacker Andrew Wilson breaks his dad’s tackles record
KC Star: 2014 Cotton Bowl saw many personal, team marks set

Next
PowerMizzou: What's next?

Despite those losses, despite the holes that will have to be filled before Missouri kicks off on Aug. 30, 2014, the current crop of players -- those departing and those remaining -- still feel bullish about the short-term future of this program.

"Greatness," Ealy said. "You've seen it this year. We've had a lot of people, back-ups if you want to call them that, I don't call them that because I feel like anyone could come in and start. A lot of people are going to show up and next year and they're going to pass the torch on down to the younger players.

"I think we have a great recruiting class from last year and we're going to have a good recruiting class this year. It's all about dedication and work, and I know the guys that I played with this year are going to pass it to the next guys."

Center Evan Boehm was a bit more blunt.

"I mean, there's not going to be any pieces missing," he laughed. "We got a lot of athletes coming back. We've got a lot of players that have already played a lot this year, got experience in big games this year, that I don't think we're rebuilding. We're definitely reloading.

2. Not going to lie: When Mauk's pass was coming down, I moaned...

...because it was obviously going to be an interception. And then it wasn't.

Post-Dispatch: Mizzou notebook: Mauk provides spark in brief appearance
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): GAME REWIND: Missouri 41, Oklahoma State 31

Ready for Mauk-tion: And sorry for the terrible pun. Maty Mauk's first series of the game began inauspiciously, with a Copeland chop block erasing a 39-yard Josey run and setting Missouri up with a 2nd-and-18 at its 12. But Mauk cared not. From an empty pocket, Mauk read man coverage downfield. He stepped up in the pocket and knew that, if he could shake Caleb Lavey and Ryan Simmons checking him at the second level, he could have a whole lot of room. Mauk did just that, jab-stepping toward the two linebackers then cutting back right to open field and jetting past them. Jaleel Clark and Bud Sasser offered key blocks downfield, and Mauk finished off the run in Franklinian fashion, bowling over corner Kevin Peterson at the end of a 35-yard gain to the 47. Two plays later, he did much the same thing, recognizing man coverage, escaping and sprinting 34 yards down to the Oklahoma State 19. This is how Mauk ran for 100 yards against Tennessee. The threat of downfield routes held the secondary, and he's more than fast enough to outrun a bunch of linebackers. Against Oklahoma State, he was a crucial shot to the arm for Missouri's offense.

Speaking of Shots in the Arm...: Mauk can be an incredibly accurate passer when he's dialed in. On a 1st-and-Goal from the 24 -- following a Copeland hold -- Marcus Lucas ran a corner route from the right slot. He had safety Shamiel Gary in trail coverage and corner Ashton Lampkin sitting in a deep zone over top. It, in truth, looked a whole lot like Mauk's first touchdown of the season -- to Bud Sasser against Florida -- except on the other side of the field. Mauk had time and trusted his arm. He led Lucas because of Gary on the receiver's hip. He floated the ball because of Lampkin setting up underneath. What resulted was a perfectly lofted ball with beautiful touch that just sailed over Lampkin's outstretched fingertips and landed in Lucas' hands for the score that put Missouri up 14-7.

3. This is an easy team to root for

The Trib: Morse has daily reminder of priorities

4. Since I forgot to include these in yesterday's Study Hall post...

MUtigers.com: No. 25 Mizzou Holds Off Long Beach State, 69-59
MUtigers.com: Mizzou vs. Long Beach State Post Game Quotes
MUtigers.com: Mizzou vs. Long Beach State Post Game Notes
The Trib: Tigers hold off Long Beach State
The Missourian: Jabari Brown leads Missouri men's basketball in win vs. Long Beach State
KC Star: No. 25 Missouri closes nonconference season with 69-59 win over Long Beach State
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou holds on to beat Long Beach State
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHTS: Mizzou Takes Down Long Beach State 69-59
Mizzou Network: Post Game: Frank Haith Interview after Long Beach State

5. Tough loss for the Pingetons

MUtigers.com: Mizzou Held Off By Arkansas, 69-66
MUtigers.com: Post-Game Notes
The Trib: Arkansas holds off Missouri women's basketball team
The Missourian: Missouri drops home conference opener to Arkansas

6. WHATNOT

Swimming & Diving
MUtigers.com: Thomas Wins 3-Meter at Georgia Diving Invite
MUtigers.com: Tigers Post Four Top-Six Finishes at Day One of Georgia Diving Invite
MUtigers.com: Tigers Continue Competition at Georgia Diving Invite

Wrestling
The Trib: Missouri's Houdashelt makes case to be No. 1

7. Other

The Sexton Treatment
SI.com: How Jimmy Sexton became college football's most powerful agent

This makes sense (and is pretty depressing)
Senator Blutarsky: America has its priorities.

Chicks dig the touchdown
AL.com: ESPN will study correlation between college football scoring and TV viewers

So ... are they still there?
Mid-Major Madness: Southern Illinois' Basketball Team Stuck on Side of Highway in Bus

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