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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s Liberty Bowl Game Against Missouri

Are we going to see a top 10 pick at QB on the other side of the ball?



Whew … I started this post last Monday and then Justice Hill announced and then Jordan Brailford announced and then Darrion Daniels transferred and then Kelvin Sampson cried … you get the point. It’s been a wild last eight days in Oklahoma State world, but I have some thoughts on the Liberty Bowl, OSU’s opponent and what kind of postseason tilt we’re in for. Here we go.

1. The Perfect Opponent

It’s been said elsewhere, but the last thing Oklahoma State needed to see in a bowl game was a 6-6 Tulane team that would have held the Pokes to 11 yards rushing through the first three quarters and won the game 19-12. Instead, they get a ranked 8-4 Missouri team coming off wins against Florida, Vandy, Tennessee and Arkansas in which they averaged just under 40 a game to end the year.

So … Pokes by three TDs?

2. Newbies in Action?

If I would have told you in August that Jahmyl Jeter would possibly get carries in a New Year’s Eve bowl, you would have likely been incredibly confused. A solid set of bowls does not mesh with a fifth-string RB getting snaps. Jeets started the year so low on the depth chart I’m not even sure Mike Gundy knew his number, much less his name. And now, he’ll probably play against Missouri.

I’m curious to see who else gets a little run on NYE. For guys that entered the program at the spring semesters, they will have been indoctrinated for nearly a year. For football purposes, they are essentially sophomores. I don’t think we’ll see a new QB, but we might see C.J. Moore, Jake Ross or Jason Taylor. That’s the fun part of the new redshirt rule to me, and one of its biggest original intended purposes.

3. OSU Gets a Top 10 Pick (?) at QB

My employer has Mizzou QB Drew Lock as the No. 1 QB prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft. They also have him going No. 7 overall to the Jacksonville Jags next April. So OSU is going to get a first round talent at the quarterback position going against them, and they’re definitely going to see him play. Lock is not planning on sitting out the game to preserve either his body or his draft stock.

Lock seemed surprised when asked if he planned to play in the Liberty Bowl, though he doesn’t expect his draft stock to weigh heavily on his performance in the game. The bowl game will mark his 46th career start for the Tigers.

“I really hope through my time all the games I’ve played here (NFL teams) have a good understanding of who I am as a quarterback,” Lock said. “For someone to judge off the last game in a bowl game … they do as they please … but over time I’ve built who I am as a quarterback and can hopefully put a little cherry on top.” [STL Post-Dispatch]

4. Winning This Game Matters

Maybe this is just me, but a 7-6 season is worlds away from a 6-7 season. Preserving the streak of Gundy winning seasons is as important, I’d think, as winning the game itself, maybe more so. Sure, I probably put too much stock into streaks and numbers and statistics (stats are for losers), but keeping your head above .500 is an indication that things are at least still moving in the right direction. Does that matter when OSU takes the field against the other OSU in 2019? Probably not. But it does matter for the overall temperature of the program as they head into Year 15 under Gundy.

5. NYE Slate is Loaded

OSU is part of a pretty terrific six pack of games. Here they are in order of start time.

  • Military Bowl (11 a.m.) — Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech (ESPN)
  • Sun Bowl (1 p.m.) — Pitt vs. Stanford (CBS)
  • Redbox (!) Bowl (2 p.m.) — Michigan State vs. Oregon (FOX)
  • Liberty Bowl (2:45 p.m.) — Oklahoma State vs. Mizzou (ESPN)
  • Holiday Bowl (6 p.m.) — Northwestern vs. Utah (FS1)
  • Taxslayer Bowl (6:30 p.m.) — Texas A&M vs. NC State (ESPN)

The unfortunate part is that you don’t really get a national audience to yourself (or maybe at all at 2:45 p.m. on a New Year’s Eve Monday), but as a college football fan, this is about as good as it gets outside of New Year’s Day. You could saddle up at 11 a.m. on Monday and not move until Georgia has buried Texas on Tuesday night, and it would be a pretty sweet 48-hour CFB experience.

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