December 31, 2018
Backups ready for bigger roles?
After weeks of vague updates, Odom finally confirmed Sunday what had become obvious: tight end Albert Okwuegbunam won’t play in the bowl game. The All-SEC sophomore hadn’t practiced since suffering a shoulder injury Nov. 3 at Florida, but until Sunday Odom had left open the possibility he could return for Monday’s game. Instead, the Tigers will give the bulk of the snaps to senior Kendall Blanton and freshman Daniel Parker Jr., a blocking specialist. The two have combined for 24 receptions, far short of Okwuegbunam’s 43. “We miss Albert,” Odom said, “but also our team has adjusted to the idea and the principle that you never know when your opportunity is going to be called on, when you’re the next guy up.”
MU’s ground game at full strength?
Neither Oklahoma State’s nor Missouri’s ground game was at full strength late in the season.
Ankle and toe injuries sidelined Missouri junior running back Damarea Crockett for the second half at Tennessee and the following week against Arkansas.
OSU didn’t have leading rusher Justice Hill for the final two games against West Virginia and Texas Christian. OSU won’t have Hill on Monday — he’ll sit out the bowl game while preparing for the NFL draft — but Crockett should be back for the Tigers. He was limited in some early practices the last month but returned to action to restore Mizzou’s loaded backfield. Crockett, Larry Rountree and Tyler Badie combined for 2,128 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns during the regular season. A healthy Mizzou ground game could go a long way toward keeping OSU’s explosive passing attack off the field.
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