Missouri Tigers

Texas Bowl Preview and Prediction: Texas vs. Missouri

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Texas

Here is everything you need to know about the showdown between the Texas Longhorns and the Missouri Tigers in our Texas Bowl preview.

Broadcast info

8 p.m. Central Time, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

Records: Texas, 6-6; Missouri 7-5.

TV: ESPN (Adam Amin, Dusty Dvoracek and Molly McGrath)

Radio: Sirius/XM (84/80)

Fun facts: The only other time these former conference foes saw each other in a bowl game was at the 1946 Cotton Bowl. Offense was the name of the game as the teams combined for 950 total yards. However, 620 of those were on the ground. Missouri more than doubled the amount of rushing yards produced by Texas 408-202. Despite Missouri’s deadly rushing attack, the performance was overshadowed. Texas quarterback Bobby Layne scored all six touchdowns for Texas: three rushing, two passing and one receiving. His stellar play would lead the Longhorns to a 40-27 victory. After the game, Missouri head coach Chauncey Simpson said, “I never saw a better job by anybody”.

Key Players

Texas Longhorns

The offensive line. This was by far one of the worst offenses in the Big 12, and it starts with the line. Some will make the excuse that for most of the season offensive lineman Connor Williams was out. That certainly hurt this line, but they could not protect their young quarterbacks if life depended upon it. Now, Williams has declared for the draft and will skip the bowl game. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck made matters worse with his atrocious play calling. With a decent offense, Texas competes for the Big 12 Championship. This team has proven defense doesn’t always win championships. If the offensive line hasn’t improved over the month of bowl practices, Texas is in for a long day of playing catch up.

The Replacements. If one song could fit the Texas Longhorns, it’d be “A Long December”  by the Counting Crows. It started off with  offensive lineman Connor Williams, cornerback Holton Hill and safety Deshon Elliot declaring for the draft and skipping the bowl game. Since then, running back Toneil Carter, receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey and tight end Garrett Gray have been suspended for violating team rules. Add in several reports that linebacker Malik Jefferson is likely out, and that is seven key players who Texas will miss. The Missouri Tigers are practically playing the B Team. If the replacements don’t step up, this could get ugly quick.

Missouri Tigers

QB Drew Lock. Is this offense for real? We still might not really know after this bowl game, but we can take a look at what we do know. The Big 12 has better defenses than the SEC this year, specifically better than the SEC East Division. Of course, Missouri was able to become bowl eligible thanks to a five-game winning streak. Three of those victories came against SEC East teams who failed to make a bowl game: Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt. In each of Missouri’s victories, they scored at least 45 points. Lock has a 43-12 touchdown-interception ratio. That’s incredible, but he’ll be going up against the school known as DBU this time. Exactly how good is Lock at reading an opposing defense?

DL Terry Beckner and DL Marcell Frazier. These two lead Missouri’s defense with seven sacks a piece, and they’re going up against one of the worst offensive lines in the Big 12 with an underclassman quarterback. Now take away three of the Longhorn’s offensive weapons due to suspension, these guys must feel like kids in a candy shop. If they don’t total at least three sacks combined in this game, it will show just how awful the SEC has fallen defensively.

Key Storylines

Texas Longhorns

Michael Dickson may be the greatest punter of all-time. This will be his final collegiate game as he has declared for the NFL Draft as a junior. Yes, you read that correctly. A punter declared early for the NFL Draft. The Cleveland Browns may want to use their No.1 Draft Pick on him too considering a safety is their best shot at scoring any points. Did I just say that out loud? Oh, and yeah, Tom Herman still doesn’t know this guy by name. “Where’s my punter? Someone tell the punter it’s fourth down.”

Missouri Tigers

Barry Odom has done a helluva job at his alma mater. This school has gone through major racial protests. The school administrators resigned. Hell, it was so bad, athletic director Mack Rhoads bolted to Baylor just a month after Art Briles was fired. Despite the campus turmoil, Odom has given everyone associated with the university something to be proud of: a bowl eligible football team. Not only are they bowl eligible, but they are also entertaining to watch. The Tigers have scored at least 45 points in each of their six victories. It’s a shame he wasn’t SEC Coach of the Year. Sure, Kirby Smart is an excellent coach. But Odom accepted a challenge Smart would never come near, and succeeded in doing so.


Missouri 63, Texas (The Replacements) 24

It’s clear that Texas is still filled with Charlie Strong’s players. That’s a big reason why that stellar defense is bolting to the NFL early. The offense struggled throughout the year and players continuously shuffled in and out while coordinator Tim Beck struggled with his play calling ability. Missouri’s offense isn’t great. But when your punter is your best hope to slow down an explosive offense, that says everything you need to know.


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