We said before the game that line play would tell the tale in the 2014 Cotton Bowl. It did. In the first quarter, both defensive lines won battles, and the score was tied. In the second quarter, Mizzou won both battles and seized a 17-7 lead. In the first 20 minutes of the second half, both defensive lines won, but OSU's absolutely dominated; that domination helped lead to two Mizzou fumbles that resulted in 10 OSU points and a tie game.
In the fourth quarter, the tides turned. The offenses started moving. Mizzou scored, and OSU responded. Mizzou kicked a field goal, and OSU took the lead with a touchdown.
But then the players who made the difference in 2013, made the difference in the Cotton Bowl. Henry Josey scored his third rushing touchdown from 16 yards out with 3:08 remaining to give the Tigers a 34-31 lead. And with a minute left and OSU driving to either tie the game or take the lead, Michael Sam stripped OSU quarterback Clint Chelf. Shane Ray recovered the fumble and, flanked by Kony Ealy, returned it 73 yards for the game-clinching score.
Missouri finishes the 2013 season at 12-2 and, and with the No. 3, 5, 6, and 7 teams in the country all losing, the Tigers should finish the season around fifth or sixth. This will always be remembered as the year that erased any doubt of Mizzou "belonging" with the big boys in college football. And we will always celebrate it as such. Thank you, guys.
Time to celebrate.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23GatoradeGary&src=hash">#GatoradeGary</a> <a href="http://t.co/wgFxcIMXBS">pic.twitter.com/wgFxcIMXBS</a></p>— Brandon (@bmweiss18) <a href="https://twitter.com/bmweiss18/statuses/419339569180315648">January 4, 2014</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>Goddamn right. <a href="http://t.co/8Pb3QyCupb">pic.twitter.com/8Pb3QyCupb</a></p>— Jack Peglow (@ArmchairAnlyst) <a href="https://twitter.com/ArmchairAnlyst/statuses/419343337670184960">January 4, 2014</a></blockquote>