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Pregamin’ Oklahoma State


The Ballad of Truman the Tiger
Josh Matejka

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What the “Experts” are Saying

Two years, two bowl games. After the most successful decade of Mizzou Football (arguably) ever, it was tough to go bowl-less in 2015 and 2016. Now, Barry Odom has the Tigers’ bowling streak back in tact. Were you happy to get the Liberty Bowl or were you hoping for something more?

Pete Scantlebury, Football Editor: I think from a purely matchup standpoint, the Liberty Bowl is a fantastic destination for Missouri. At this level of bowls (the mid-tier ones), the name of the bowl doesn’t really matter; it’s about the match-up. Oklahoma State is a great opponent -- it’s someone Missouri should beat, but someone that will provide some challenges for Missouri (specifically on defense). It’s also a team that should let a guy like Drew Lock have a big game in his career finale. So, based on how the season played out, I’m very happy about this bowl game and match-up.

Jack Parodi, Football Beat Writer: Personally, I was really hoping for the Music City Bowl in Nashville. I think it’s sort of a slap in the face for an 8-4 Missouri team, with two of its losses to Alabama and Georgia, to get selected for the Liberty Bowl. I think the Tigers are a far better team than Auburn and deserved that bid more. But regardless of what bowl Missouri made, it’s nice seeing that little 23 standing next to the name. Been a long time since we’ve been ranked.

Josh Matejka, Editor: In time, all bowls kind of start to feel the same and you focus more on the “W” or “L” next to the score. I was probably more upset at the time, but the Liberty Bowl is an easy travel destination for fans and is therefore a winning slot for the Tigers.

Mitch Hill, Social Media Editor: I think in the end the Liberty Bowl made the most sense. Sure, a bowl game in Florida would be fun or for my won selfish reason the Music City Bowl would be fun especially since it is on a Friday, but Memphis is a fun city and this Bowl Game is great for Mizzou fans to show that they travel for their bowl games, which could start helping with future bowl placements.

Chris Bohkay, Featured Writer: If you had told me in August with the team we had coming back we’d end up here I would have been slightly disappointed, especially with the way the UK and SC games played out. But today I’m pleased with the opportunity the Liberty Bowl affords. Good place for the fans to go out, good for recruiting and we get an old friend from the Big 8/12 days as the opponent, all in all not too shabby.

AlaTiger: The Liberty Bowl is a great option, as it is an easy drive for me. It’s also a reasonable drive from St. Louis, so I get to meet up with my brother. There was no something more to hope for. If you aren’t in the playoff, all the bowls are pretty interchangeable.

As with any bowl game, there will be a lot of senior legacies under the spotlight. Name two seniors who you’ll miss and would like to see go out on a high note.

Pete Scantlebury: I really want to see Emanuel Hall go out with a memorable performance. I want him to have a Danario-esque game -- 10-plus receptions, 200-plus yards, a couple of touchdowns. Obviously Lock and Beckner deserve to go out with great performances, but after everything Hall has been through this year, I want him to have an NCAA 2013-set-to-JV type game.

Jack Parodi: The first one for me has got to be Emanuel Hall. The guy has had such a tough year emotionally with his groin injury and his father’s unexpected passing, but regardless of the pain he’s been through, Hall’s had a very productive season. From everything I’ve seen this year, he’s a genuinely good person and I’d love to see him go out with a bang.

Another guy I’m really going to miss is Corey Fatony. It’s hard to find a punter as electric and popular with a fanbase as Fatony has been during his time at Missouri. I mean, he’s the man. I see an NFL career ahead for him and I really hope he brings out the crazy celebrations to make punting fun again.

Josh Matejka: How fun would it be to see Emanuel Hall go out in a blaze of glory? Something like eight to 10 catches with a long touchdown or two and 170+ yards of receiving. After all the guy went through this year, it would be the perfect late Christmas present. I’d also love to see Terry Beckner Jr. put up a monster day on the line. A lot of the work he does goes unnoticed because of his position. To see him make a few big TFLs or even sacks would be a perfect way to end his storied career.

Mitch Hill: I will miss Terez Hall a lot on Defense. He is a very capable linebacker and he was around on most every play. i think his departure is understated by some. (Yes, I will miss Lock and TBJ). I will also miss Emanuel Hall who has been the key to Lock’s success when it comes to opening up a defense and showing everyone what he is capable of doing. The future is bright for Mizzou and the seniors leaving after this year have played a major roll in turning this ship around.

Chris Bohkay: I’m going with Brandon Lee on the defense and Corey Fatony on special teams. I was excited about Lee coming in and I just dig punters and kickers, they never get enough attention.

AlaTiger: It sure has been fun watching Emanuel Hall burn everybody and their brother deep for the last couple years. It would be so nice to watch him light up Okie State. If you don’t notice offensive linemen, they are probably doing a good job. So I’m going to bend the rules and go with both senior offensive linemen, Paul Adams and Kevin Pendleton. Let’s hope they continue opening holes and stoning pass rushers.

To the game! Oklahoma State is only 6-6, but notched some good wins this season. How does Mizzou go out and prove their superiority over their old Big 12 (10? 11?) foe?

Pete Scantlebury: I think this game will be closer than expected, as a lay-off has a big chance to negatively impact Missouri’s passing game. So how does Missouri prove its superiority? By dominating time of possesion and wearing Oklahoma State out on the ground. I think Missouri’s game plan will look more like the Cotton Bowl 2008 (when Tony Temple ran wild) more than the Texas Bowl 2017.

Jack Parodi: This is going to be a good old-fashioned shootout with two elite offenses going at one another. I don’t think the Cowboys’ defense is quite as good as Missouri’s, and with that being said, the Tigers have to force a turnover or two and some three-and-outs. I wouldn’t be surprised if Missouri scored every possession it has Tuesday, but the defense has to set a strong precedence early for the Tigers to run away with this one.

Josh Matejka: I think it’s unavoidable that the Tigers will have to shake off some rust. You don’t go a month without playing and immediately get back to game speed. I’m anticipating the defense having more trouble getting back to normal than the offense, so Dooley and the boys will have to make sure they don’t get down quick. Mizzou is more than capable of playing catchup — especially against OSU’s defense — but there would also be no better way to stoke the defense’s competitive fire than spotting them an early lead.

Mitch Hill: Oklahoma State is I think 2 snaps away from beating 4 top 15 teams. They went for 2 against Oklahoma to win and missed it, which I loved seeing because when you’re at home and not in the conference title discussion, what do you have to lose? Mizzou needs to flex on defense. The Mizzou Offense can score, but so can every Big XII team. To show superiority over a team in the Big XII means showing them that defense does matter.

Chris Bohkay: I think Mizzou’s offense is too much for Okie State to handle. We’re going to break their spirit with a potent mix of run and pass from Lock and the RBs that causes Gundy’s mullet recede into his head and as a result his brain brakes.

AlaTiger: The secondary has to show that it really has grown over the second half of the season. The offense needs to continue being productive mixing the pass and run. Some scores on explosive plays early to set the tone will go a long way to ensuring the Cowboys who lost six games are the ones who show up at the Liberty Bowl.

PICK ‘EM. Let’s get a score and an MVP for each side of the ball.

Pete Scantlebury: This is going to be closer than expected but Missouri wins, 31-27, overcoming a rough start to dominate time of possession with its ground game in the second half. Larry Rountree is the offensive MVP and on defense, it’s Cale Garrett.

Jack Parodi: Missouri 45, Oklahoma State 31. Drew Lock throws for a million yards and shows NFL scouts why they should pick him early in this year’s draft. As for the defense, I have a weird feeling DeMarkus Acy is going to go off and nab a pick or two. Don’t ask me why, but I just think he’s going to ball out Tuesday.

Josh Matejka: Drew Lock shows up to blast the Cowboys in his last NFL start and DeMarkus Acy builds on some late season momentum to really get the hype train going for his senior year. Missouri 45, Oklahoma State 32.

Mitch Hill: Like I said, Mizzou needs to shut that offense down. Mizzou 38 OSU 17. Crockett is your MVP on Offense and Christian Holmes is your MVP on Defense with 2 forced turnovers (probably INTs).

Chris Bohkay: Mizzou 56 - OSU 24. Offensive MVP is Lock and Defensive MVP will be Acy and we pop that bubbly all over Beale St with visions of Kelly Bryant and 2019 in our heads!

AlaTiger: 41-24, Mizzou. Drew Lock and Cale Garrett are your MVPs.