In a dramatic game that saw the highest of highs and lowest of lows for the Cowboys, Oklahoma State managed to finish the season with a 7-6 record after a 38-33 victory over Missouri in the Liberty Bowl.
Despite coming into the game as near double-digit underdogs, it was Oklahoma State who managed to get on the board first. After forcing Missouri into a 3-and-out on the first possession of the game, the Cowboys were able to find some success through the air as Taylor Cornelius connected with Dillon Stoner for a 30-yard touchdown to put Oklahoma State up 7-0.
On the next drive, cornerback Rodarius Williams was ejected after a vicious hit that was questionably flagged as targeting, and on the very next play, Missouri quarterback Drew Lock threw right in the direction of Kemah Siverand, Williams’s substitute, which moved the Tigers down to the 6-yard line. The Cowboys defense held strong for three plays, however, and the Tigers had to settle for a field goal to make it 7-3.
After Oklahoma State was stopped and forced to punt, the Tigers were forced to take over on their own 5-yard line. Missouri stretched out a 16-play drive to march the remaining 95 yards as Lock hit Domini Gocinto on a 5-yard touchdown pass to take a 10-7 lead.
The Cowboys wasted no time, and in just a little over 2 minutes, Cornelius led Oklahoma State 65 yards down the field in 10 plays. After a 12-yard rush by Cornelius put the Cowboys at the 7-yard line with 1st & goal, Cornelius hit Tyron Johnson in the corner for a 7-yard touchdown to get back on top 14-10.
Trailing once again, Missouri needed just 5 plays in under 2 minutes to go 75 yards as Lock found Kendal Blanton for a 16-yard dime. The Tigers missed the extra point due to a bad snap on the attempt, though, and after a punt from each team to finish out the period, Missouri entered halftime with a 16-14 lead over the Cowboys.
Taylor Cornelius came out in the second half slinging the football as good as he has all season as he managed to complete five consecutive passes after an initial incompletion to get the Cowboys down to the 10-yard line for a 1st & goal. Three plays later, Cornelius hit Tylan Wallace for a 10-yard touchdown to put the Cowboys back on top 21-16.
On the very next possession, Kenneth Edison-McGruder forced a Missouri fumble, and Justin Phillips recovered it for the Cowboys at the Tiger 26-yard line. It then took just 3 rushes by Chuba Hubbard to find the end zone as he ran from 4 yards out on the final one to take the Oklahoma State lead up to 27-16.
On the ensuing possession, Drew Lock put together an impressive drive for the Tigers, completing 5 straight passes at one point, but they were unable to find the end zone after a holding call negated a touchdown pass, and Missouri had to settle for a field goal to make it 28-19.
Taylor Cornelius came out on the next drive with his foot on the accelerator, and in just 4 plays, the Cowboy found the end zone once again. Cornelius hit Tyron Johnson for their second touchdown connection of the day, this one for 46 yards, to extend Oklahoma State’s lead to 35-19.
Missouri’s offense was unable to move the ball, and after going for it on 4th down, turned it over downs. Oklahoma State went to work at midfield to move the ball to into Tiger territory before the end of the 3rd quarter leading 35-19.
On the very first play of the fourth quarter, Cornelius managed to escape a near-sack, but an errant pass was intercepted by Missouri, and the Tigers were able to take over at their own 14-yard line. It took just one play for Drew Lock and Missouri to score as he found Johnat Johnson for an 86-yard completion to make it 35-26.
Chuba Hubbard had the Cowboys rolling quickly on the next possession, but Taylor Cornelius threw up a pass instead of throwing it away like he should have, and once again, the Tigers were able to intercept him. A couple of penalties against Oklahoma State moved Missouri from their own 20-yard line up to their 45-yard line with a fresh set of downs, and on the very next play Drew Lock pitched the ball to Larry Rountree who scampered 55 yards for the touchdown to cut the deficit to 35-33 with 11:50 left in the game.
An unsuccessful attempt to move the ball downfield on the next drive set up a 4th & 8 for the Cowboys, but rather than punt away, Gundy put in a call for a fake punt, which came up short by 3 yards. Missouri took over with fantastic field position on the Cowboy 32-yard line, but they were unable to convert, and then a 42-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Mike Scott, and Oklahoma State regained possession at their own 24-yard line.
Chuba Hubbard was the key for the Cowboys on the next drive as he got the ball moving on the ground, which opened up the pass game. After Hubbard rushed for 29 yards over the course of four plays, Cornelius was able to complete 3 consecutive passes to move the ball another 37 yards. Oklahoma State was unable to find the end zone, however, and they were forced to settle for a field goal from Matt Ammendola to make it 38-33 with just under 6 minutes left in the game.
Missouri took over with plenty of time and a lot of momentum, and they marched down the field a little at a time, taking time off the clock just as planned. With a fresh set of downs from the Cowboy 18-yard line, the Tigers faced a 4th & 1, but Drew Lock was unable to get the first down as Oklahoma State’s defense stepped up to get the final stop of the game. After that, it was all victory formation for the Cowboys, and the 38-33 Liberty Bowl victory was complete.