Oklahoma State vs Missouri
December 31, 2018
Key matchup Drew Lock vs. OSU secondary
In eight games against unranked opponents, Lock was terrific, averaging 293 yards per game and completing more than 66 percent of his passes. He has the advantage heading into a matchup against an OSU pass defense that ranks 76th in yards per play allowed. The unknown: Did a spring’s worth of practices, as Gundy has called it, help OSU’s young secondary?
Player to watch WR Tylan Wallace
Missouri allowed 18 pass completions of 40-plus yards this year. That’s tied for the most in the nation. The Tigers do plenty well on both sides of the football, but they are susceptible to big plays in the pass game. It’s a chance for Wallace to clear 1,500 yards for the season and showcase why he was a Biletnikoff Award finalist.
| Who wins and why? A seventh disappointment for OSU
In that the Oklahoma State roster no longer includes Justice Hill, J.D. King, Jalen McCleskey and Darrion Daniels, the Cowboys of New Year’s Eve lack the playmaking punch that they had in September. Add to that a significant distraction — the possibility that Monday’s Liberty Bowl might be the OSU finale for sixth-year offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. While it’s been impossible to predict from week to week whether the Cowboys are inspired and ready to play, OSU has been at its best against the better teams on its schedule. Do the Cowboys regard the 8-4 Missouri Tigers as being one of those better teams?
New OSU personnel unlikely in bowl
Players who appeared in less than four games during the regular season can participate in their team’s bowl, following nearly a month of practice, without any effect on their eligibility.
For this year, at least, Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State don’t plan to make use of that.
“For the most part, we have the guys who are going to play in the game,” Gundy said. “That kind of goes back to the fact that we’re going to put the players out there that we feel give us the best chance to perform and win the football game. In most cases, it won’t be a player that hasn’t played in the season.”
Three true freshmen — safeties Kolby Peel, Jarrick Bernard and Tanner McCalister — burned their redshirts in the first half of the season. A fourth, safety Kanion Williams, played in four regular-season games and is unlikely to appear against Missouri.
Opportunity for Noel at right guard?
Another fifth-year senior, it wasn’t until last season Noel began to climb the depth chart. He was pressed into action because of injuries at Texas a year ago.
This year, he has been in the mix as a backup center and guard all season, playing in six games.
When senior Larry Williams announced he was skipping the Liberty Bowl, Noel became one of the top options at right guard.
Gundy projected Noel to start there against Missouri. It would be the first start of his career.
“Shane (Richards) has practiced the last 5-6 real practices off and on, coming back from his injury,” Gundy said. “He should be available if we need him. You’re looking at Marcus (Keyes) and Deionte (Noel).”