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Liberty Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Texas at Oklahoma State

Here is everything you need to know about the Liberty Bowl in our Oklahoma State vs. Missouri preview and prediction.

Game info

2:45 pm CT  | Monday, December 31st, 2018  | Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN

TV: ESPN (Clay Matvick, Dan Orlovsky and Paul Carcaterra)

Local Radio Oklahoma State: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, Dave Holcomb, and Robert Allen)

Local Radio Missouri: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly, Howard Richards, Chris Gervino)

National Radio: ESPN Radio (Dave Lamont, Ray Bentley and Alyssa Lang)

Satellite Radio: Sirius channel 99, XM channel 199

 

Key Players

Missouri

QB Drew Lock

Lock is about to wrap up a great career at Mizzou. He’s third all-time among SEC quarterbacks with 96 career touchdown passes and is second to Aaron Murray (Georgia) in career passing yards. He was a Second-Team All-SEC selection and finished the season completing 63% of his passes, with 25 touchdowns to eight interceptions, while averaging 260 passing yards per game. 

DT Jordan Elliott

Elliott was named a Second-Team All-SEC by Pro Football Focus. The former Texas transfer finished with 8.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks among his 21 tackles on the year while adding a pass deflection and two QB hurries. Elliott had a huge game in the regular-season finale against Arkansas when he had four tackles for loss and three sacks. He’s going to develop into an even bigger force in 2019 and that could begin with this bowl game. 

Oklahoma State

WR Tylan Wallace

Wallace has turned himself into one of the best wide receivers in the nation. He finished second in the Big 12 Conference with 6.6 catches per game and his 1,408 receiving yards were also second in the conference, both numbers ranked behind Texas Tech’s Antoine Wesley. He also tied for fourth in the Big 12 with 12 total touchdowns. The First-Team All-American had seven 100-yard receiving games, which ranked fifth in a season at OSU.

DE Jordan Brailford

Brailford lead the Big 12 and is 18th in the FBS with .75 sacks per game. He also ranked 22nd in the FBS with 1.3 tackles per game. He was selected as a Second-Team All-Big 12 player and led the Oklahoma State defensive line with 52 tackles. He has played every game the past two years with 21 starts and needs to be a force in the backfield to get Drew Lock off his game and also slow down Missouri’s running game (more on that below).

 

Key Storylines

Missouri

While Lock is the engine that runs the Missouri offense and we named him as the team’s offensive player to watch, he should make sure his running game works its way into the mix. The Cowboys have the worst run defense in the Big 12, giving up 213 rushing yards per game, which is 30+ more than any other team in the conference. Missouri has a one-two punch in the backfield of Larry Rountree II and Damarea Crockett, who were both in the SEC’s top 15 rushers this season. Missouri, along with Georgia, were the only teams to have two players in the top 15. Rountree especially came on late in the season, with over 250 combined rushing yards in his last two games against Tennessee and Arkansas.

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State should throw, throw and throw some more. Missouri’s run defense ranked fourth in the SEC and 22nd in the nation. But the passing defense ranked 104th in the nation, and Oklahoma State comes in with the 12th-best passing offense in the nation. Taylor Cornelius has all his weapons at wide receiver playing the bowl game, so spread the ball around between Wallace, Dillon Stoner, Landon Wolf and others at his disposal.

Prediction

Oklahoma State 41, Missouri 38 

This one should be a shootout between two former Big 12 foes. Oklahoma State has been as hot and as cold as any team in the country, which certainly should be concerning. But just when you count Mike Gundy out, like following the bad TCU loss to end the season, he comes back and shocks you. Gundy’s team played up to its best opponents and down to its worst opponents. That should actually bode well for this game considering the opponent is a former Big 12 team who left the conference and is now in the hated SEC. Gundy is solid in bowl games, he’s 8-4 overall and has won three of his past four. Oklahoma State’s passing game will do enough to put 40+ on the board and the defense will get the stop it needs late to give the Cowboys the win. 

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