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MV3: Defenders and the RB1 shine in Cotton Bowl victory

Cody Schrader was awesome as always, but impact defenders stole the show against Ohio State.

Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

Welcome to the MV3, a weekly piece where Rock M Nation’s staff votes on the three most impactful players in Mizzou’s previous game.

Nearly every time Mizzou is able to #LightTheDome, I end up writing this post and wondering how three or four guys didn’t get votes or end up making our staff’s top three. But Mizzou’s 14-3 win over Ohio State at the Cotton Bowl brought a whole new level of indecision to my head. How do we acknowledge the 6 or 7 defenders that had career games against a Ryan Day offense? And how do we incorporate the grit of Brady Cook or the continued brilliance of Cody Schrader or the steadiness of Javon Foster or Armand Membou? You just can’t.

So many guys deserve their flowers for that performance. Unfortunately, we only have room for these three.

1. Daylan Carnell

Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

Johnny Walker, Jr. won the game’s Defensive MVP, but if you watched the entirety of the game, you’d struggle to find a justification for why sophomore Daylan Carnell wasn’t the MVP of the entire game. Carnell was an absolute monster out of the secondary, making life a living hell for both Devin Brown and Lincoln Kieholz on blitz-after-blitz-after-blitz. Carnell only finished the game with 3 tackles and one sack, but his forced fumble arguably put the icing on the cake of Mizzou’s third Cotton Bowl title.

2. Cody Schrader

Missouri running back Cody Schrader celebrates scoring the first touchdown of the Cotton Bowl Classic against Ohio State Thursday, Dec. 29 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Schrader scored one of the game's two touchdowns and became Missouri's single-season rushing yards leader. (Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation)

Speaking of MVPs that didn’t get their due...

Cody Schrader, much like the rest of Mizzou’s offense, struggled to find his footing against Ohio State’s elite defense. But like the rest of his gold-flecked career, he kept grinding until a breakthrough came. Schrader finished the game with yet another 100-yard rushing game, cranking out 128 on 29 carries and one of the games only touchdowns. He never broke a run more than 11 yards long, but his consistency slowly turned 3-yard gains into 5-yard gains until Brady Cook and the pass game were able to open things up for good. Schrader lived up to his All-American pedigree by being exactly what Mizzou needed when they needed it.

3. Triston Newson

Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

Getting back to that defensive performance: How good was Triston Newson? With both of Mizzou’s preseason starting linebackers unavailable due to injury, Newson continued to show his bonafides as the next star in line. Newson was second on the team with 10 tackles and led all defenders with 2.5 tackles for loss. Newson blew up the interior of the Buckeye line on multiple occasions, forcing Kieholz to think on his feet and, more often than not, end up on his ass.

Others receiving votes: Brady Cook, Javon Foster, Armand Membou, Johnny Walker, Jr.

What do you think? Did we pick the right trio from Mizzou’s Cotton Bowl victory? Let us know in the comments!