NCAA Football News

Nebraska Football: What Gator Bowl Victory Means for Recruiting

Defeating Georgia in the Gator Bowl was more than just a moral victory for Nebraska. In fact, it may have just been what the Huskers needed on the recruiting front.

With National Signing Day only a little over a month away, head coach Bo Pelini is in the home stretch of securing his 2014 recruiting class.

The difference between this year and last is that the Huskers have a bowl game win to boast. That was something that couldn't be said in 2013.

In fact, losing 45-31 to the Bulldogs in last year's Capital One Bowl likely hurt Nebraska more than anything. It didn't help that the Huskers also gave up 589 yards during that game.

What a difference a year can make.

The 2013 regular season wasn't exactly a perfect one for Nebraska, though. The Huskers recorded more losses than countless pre-season predictions had suggested. By the end, Nebraska had lost to UCLA, Minnesota, Michigan State and Iowa.

The losses to the Golden Gophers and Hawkeyes especially stung.

Beyond that, the Huskers had plenty of off-the-field drama to deal with. From Pelini's leaked audio tape, to a tumultuous day against Iowa (both on the field and off), Nebraska provided potential recruits with plenty of reasons to choose another program.

Despite it all, plenty of recruits hung in there. A few even publicly supported Pelini, including defensive tackle Terrell Clinkscales.

"Man, Coach Bo is going to fight to the death for his team,” Clinkscales told the Omaha World Herald. “He doesn’t take any BS."

With the support on his side, Pelini needed the bowl game win.

While recruits don't make an entire decision based on the outcome of a bowl game, it can definitely help those on the fence.

That's why Nebraska's 24-19 Gator Bowl victory is just what Pelini needed.

The Husker coaching staff plans to hit the recruiting trail hard once again come January 15th. Those final days have always been key for Pelini.

In fact, as reported by the Lincoln Journal Star, every Pelini class (with the exception of 2009) has added three recruits in the final two weeks.

The 2014 class currently has 19 commits. Pelini hopes to make that 25 when it's all said and done. According to the Omaha World Herald, cornerback Byerson Cockrell and defensive end Joe Keels could count toward the 2013 class if need be.

That means Pelini is still on the hunt for up to eight additional recruits.

If history proves anything, it's possible he'll secure those spots in January.

As the Lincoln Journal Star’s Brian Christopherson noted, a dozen of Nebraska’s 26 recruits in 2013 committed after the Huskers lost to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl.

If Nebraska was able to secure 12 recruits after a loss, a win should make things a little bit easier.

There's still a long road ahead for Pelini on the recruiting front. However, the Gator Bowl victory definitely doesn't hurt things.

Instead, it makes the 2014 recruiting more promising than ever.


For information and updates on Nebraska's 2014 recruiting class, click here.

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Travis Rudolph to Florida State: Seminoles Land 4-Star WR Prospect

Former University of Miami commit Travis Rudolph has decided to play his football at Florida State. 

Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat has news of the West Palm Beach, Fla., native's decision to join the Seminoles:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Rudolph, who decommitted from Al Golden and the Hurricanes back in March, is ranked 69th overall in the class of 2014, as well as the No. 7 wide receiver and No. 10 prospect out of the state of Florida. 

He had other offers from around the nation, including Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State and a slew of other collegiate powerhouses. 

Rudolph, once regarded as a 3-star recruit, skyrocketed most ranking systems after an electric senior season. 

Leading Cardinal Newman to an 8-4 record and their first district title since 2004, Rudolph pulled down 63 receptions for 1,237 yards and 15 touchdowns, per the Palm Beach Post's Anthony Chiang

For his efforts, he was selected to the Under Armour All-American game, invited to The Opening and named the Lou Groza Awards High School Player of the Year, which is given to the top player from Palm Beach County, via Chiang:

Rudolph's speed isn't overwhelming (he runs a 4.52 40, per 247Sports), but he does everything well. 

He has strong hands, runs crisp, precise routes and has the ability to rack up yards after the catch. As ESPN's scouting report put it (subscription needed), Rudolph is "a very good candidate as a spread slot who has the speed to break contain on jet sweeps off motion."

The 6'1", 185-pound Rudolph still has room for improvement. But after a record-breaking, scintillating senior season in which he took major strides forward, there's very little question that he can make an immediate impact at the next level. 

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What 4-Star WR Travis Rudolph Means to Florida State Seminoles

Travis Rudolph has committed to Florida State at the Under Armour All-America Game. Look for the 4-star WR to add to the depth on the Seminoles offense and become another weapon for QB Jameis Winston. 

Watch Barrett Sallee break down what this commitment means to the Florida State Seminoles. 


Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital

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DeVante Parker Passes Up 2014 NFL Draft to Return to Louisville

It's not all bad, Louisville fans. Although Teddy Bridgewater is off to the NFL, at least DeVante Parker will be a Cardinals player for one more season.

The junior receiver announced on Twitter that he's staying in school and passing up the 2014 NFL draft.

Parker isn't projected to be a top pick like Bridgewater, but after his fantastic Russell Athletic Bowl performance, some wondered if he'd be following his teammate to the pros.

Riding such a wave of momentum, you couldn't have faulted Parker if he wanted to strike while the iron is hot. But he has decided that another year in college will be more beneficial, and it's hard to argue with the choice.   

In his most recent mock draft, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had Parker off the board with the next-to-last pick in the second round. It's a solid grade, but one that could be improved with more seasoning.

Adam Himmelsbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal reported in December that Parker was firm in his intention to only enter the draft under the right circumstances. “If they’re not projecting him near the first round,” Parker's grandfather Willie said, “he’s definitely going to be back for his senior year.”

Of course, this isn't all about Parker's draft stock, as Louisville is getting back one of its best vertical weapons.

Himmelsbach is already looking ahead to the 2014 season. With redshirt freshman Will Gardner in line to take over for Bridgewater next year, Himmelsbach posited that Parker will be the perfect target for a young QB.

Eric Crawford of WDRB in Louisville speculated that the junior wideout coming back is a good indication that Charlie Strong will be back as well.

Between Parker's decision to stay and Strong possibly doing the same, 2014 looks like it will be another big year for the Cardinals. 

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Speedy Noil to Texas A&M: Aggies Land 5-Star WR Prospect

Devante "Speedy" Noil has spent his high school career blowing by defenders. He will now take that skill to Texas A&M.

Noil made the announcement at the Under Armour All-American game:

The Class of 2014 standout spent most of his career at quarterback, where he was able to star at Edna Karr High School in New Orleans. In 2012, he totaled 2,235 passing yards and 1,345 rushing yards as he showed off his dual-threat ability.   

Most impressively, he scored 47 touchdowns in his junior year: 24 passing, 20 rushing and three receiving.

At the next level, the 5'10.5", 176-pound player will likely play wide receiver.

While he does not have elite size for the position, Noil more than makes up for it with his speed and elusiveness. When he is given room to run, he usually has the quickness and agility to take it all the way to the end zone.

His overall ability makes him the 11th-best overall prospect in 2014 and the No. 1 wideout recruit in the nation, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

Noil was also named a Second-Team All-American by 247Sports after his impressive 2012 season.

Speedy will be very raw as a receiver in his first couple of years with his new school and will have to work out his route-running. However, he is the type of playmaker that can make things happen when the ball is in his hands.

In all likelihood, the Aggies will be aggressive in trying to find ways to get him involved in the offense or even special teams early in his career.

The New Orleans native had a chance to go almost anywhere in the country after receiving dozens of scholarship offers. However, he ended up making a lot of people happy by selecting Texas A&M as his school for the next few years.


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What No. 1 WR Speedy Noil Means to Texas A&M Aggies

Speedy Noil has committed to Texas A&M at the Under Armour All-America Game, according to's Derek Tyson. Noil is the No. 1 WR in the country and has the skills to make a huge impact on the Aggies offense. 

Watch Barrett Sallee break down what this commitment means to the Texas A&M Aggies. 


Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

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BCS Bowl Predictions: Picks Against the Spread for Each Remaining BCS Tilt

College football's bowl season is nearly over, but there are still a few huge games remaining. In fact, there are three BCS bowls left to be played, and all of them bring a great deal of intrigue for plenty of different reasons.

One group that is sure to be interested in the BCS bowls is the betting public. Betting on college football is huge throughout the year, but it is an even bigger deal when it comes to bowl games. Even if fans aren't enthralled by the remaining BCS matchups, the betting aspect can certainly make them interesting.

Here are predictions for each of the three remaining BCS bowl games against the spread as bettors look to close out the season on a strong note.

*Spreads courtesy of Bovada


Oklahoma vs. Alabama (-17) (Sugar Bowl)

In what could be one of the most lopsided bowl matchups in recent memory, Alabama will take on Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. The Sooners are normally a national power, and they have lost just twice this season, but they simply don't compare to the Crimson Tide from a talent perspective. Oklahoma has gotten to this point with grit and determination as well as a masterful coaching job by Bob Stoops, while 'Bama has outclassed its opponents with the notable exception of Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

It's certainly possible that motivation will come into play. Although it's an intangible factor, it may allow Oklahoma to hang with Alabama. This game is huge for the Sooners, since they scratched and clawed to get there, but it is basically a consolation prize for the Tide. With that said, Alabama has a long history of success in the Sugar Bowl, according to College GameDay, and it may be motivated to defend that.

As long as Alabama doesn't sleep walk into the game, it should roll. The Sooners can't decide between Blake Bell and Trevor Knight at quarterback, but the Tide's defense should hold either in check. Also, this will be Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron's final collegiate game, and the same can be said for linebacker C.J. Mosley. Players on both sides of the ball will want to learn for their respective leaders, and head coach Nick Saban won't let his team take a lax approach.

Prediction: Alabama 38, Oklahoma 10


Clemson vs. Ohio State (-3) (Orange Bowl)

Both Clemson and Ohio State disappointed in certain ways this season, but it can be argued that their clash in the Orange Bowl will be the most entertaining BCS showdown of all. The Tigers and Buckeyes are stacked with offensive talent, and each team tends to suffer from defensive breakdowns at times, which points toward a high-scoring affair. The Buckeyes boast the No. 3 scoring offense in college football thanks to quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde, while Clemson isn't far behind.

Inconsistency plagued the Tigers on both sides of the ball this season, but they dropped 38 or more points in a game eight times, so the points come in bunches. From Clemson's perspective, the focus will be on the combination of quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins. This game is particularly important for Boyd, since it is definitely his last game as a Tiger, and he needs a big showing to impress NFL scouts. According to Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated, pundits are so down on Boyd that he has become an underrated prospect.

Boyd was once considered to be a first-round lock, but that is no longer the case. Because of that, he should be motivated to have a big game. In the same vein, that pressure could adversely influence Clemson. Dabo Swinney's squad has a reputation for coming up small when expectations are highest, but that has never been said about an Urban Meyer-coached team. Because of that, look for the Buckeyes to come through with some offensive fireworks.

Prediction: Ohio State: 48, Clemson 31


Florida State (-8) vs. Auburn (National Championship)

Everything will be riding on the National Championship Game between Florida State and Auburn on Jan. 6, and that includes the fortunes of bettors everywhere. The Seminoles vs. Tigers contest figures to be one of the most bet-on sporting events in recent memory, and it should be quite interesting due to the controversial point spread that is currently in place. Florida State has undoubtedly been dominant, but giving eight points to the SEC champion may be a bit much.

The big concern as it relates to Auburn is its ability to come from behind. The Tigers are the No. 1 rushing team in the nation at nearly 336 yards per game, so they are built to play from ahead. The Seminoles have barely trailed this year, though, and they obviously don't intend to in the title game. Nevertheless, according to Brad Edwards of, Auburn may be able to take advantage of vulnerability on Florida State's defense.

Florida State is No. 1 in both points scored and points allowed, but Edwards believes it can be run on. The Seminoles' adjusted efficiency ranking against the run is No. 19 in the nation. That takes into account the quality of the rushing attacks they have faced. For comparison's sake, Alabama is No. 3, and it let Auburn run rampant.

On top of that, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has been amazed by his team's continued improvement, per Joel A. Erickson of

"This group has really, each game, improved. It is hard to improve each game, especially in college football, but our guys have done it, and that's a tribute to them," Malzahn said.

Florida State's dominance can't be understated, especially with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston under center. Thanks to the running of Tre Mason and Nick Marshall, Auburn will keep this one close enough to cover, but Florida State will still survive and complete an undefeated season.

Prediction: Florida State 31, Auburn 28


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Orange Bowl 2013: Key Players Who Will Carry Teams in Exciting Showdown

College football fans looking for another offensive showdown similar to the Fiesta Bowl between Baylor and UCF, look no further than the Orange Bowl. When the Ohio State Buckeyes and Clemson Tigers meet on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. EST, it will pit two of the best offensive teams this season against one another.

The Buckeyes and Tigers have made names for themselves but in completely different fashions.

For Ohio State, pounding the ball with the No. 3 rushing offense in the country had it one game away from the BCS National Championship.

Clemson, on the other hand, is averaging 329.3 passing yards per game and finished 11th in the country through the air along with averaging the ninth-most points on the year.

With both teams set to take the stage on Friday night, here are the players to watch in the Orange Bowl for both sides.


Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins, QB and WR, Clemson

One of the best tandems in college football, Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins have carried the Tigers all season during their third straight 10-win season. Simply put, when Boyd goes down field, Watkins is normally the one coming away with a memorable catch.

During his final practice in a Clemson uniform, Boyd spoke about his time and how he and Watkins have turned around the culture during their tenure:

Boyd's career at Clemson has been one thing, but the senior has enjoyed another great season this year. The senior needs just 27 yards passing for his third straight season with over 3,500 and needs one more touchdown for his third season with 30 passing touchdowns.

Though his last game against South Carolina was one of the worst of his career, the four games prior to that were outstanding. Boyd put together a four-game stretch in which he averaged 327.25 passing yards per game and had a total of 16 total touchdowns (13 passing, three rushing) and three interceptions.

One statistic to remember with Boyd: When he throws two interceptions in a game this season, his team has gone 1-2. During games in which he's thrown one interception or less, the Tigers have gone 9-0.

As for his favorite target, Watkins has certainly lived up to the hype he was given before the season started. The junior receiver finished the regular season with 85 receptions for 1,237 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The junior has also been outstanding after the catch. In yards after the catch, Watkins leads all other automatic qualifying schools with 836, according to ESPN's Sharon Katz. On the other side is an Ohio State defense that is allowing 144 yards after the catch per game.

Considering the fact that the two are facing off with an Ohio State defense that has been atrocious against the pass, this will definitely be a tandem to watch. The Buckeyes rank 103rd in the country in passing yards allowed (259.5) and just lost to the Michigan State Spartans after sophomore quarterback Connor Cook threw for 304 yards in the Big Ten Championship Game.

ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, a former Buckeye football player, made things pretty clear when he was asked about who would contain Watkins and teammate Martavis Bryant:

Watkins has been one of the most dynamic receivers in college football this season and will look to finish off what could be his final season with Clemson with a huge game in the Orange Bowl.


Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde, QB and RB, Ohio State

When talking about tremendous tandems in college football this season, Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde are near the top of the list. While Nick Marshall and Tre Mason might be more in the spotlight currently, Miller and Hyde have carried—literally and figuratively—the Buckeyes to the Orange Bowl.

In fact, Bill Bender of Sporting News added the statistics of both tandems, and the two appear to be closer than many might think:

Miller, much like Boyd, can get the job done with both his arms and leg, but Miller is much more effective in the ground game while Boyd is better through the air.

The junior quarterback hasn't decided whether or not he'll be back for another season, according to SportsCenter's official Twitter account:

As for his pro prospects, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that he will be watched by a certain executive that just so happens to own the No. 1 draft pick:

Miller has rushed for over 1,000 yards and passed for over 1,800 yards with a total of 32 touchdowns this season, but he fell well short of expectations early in the season to be a Heisman finalist. If it is his last game as a Buckeye, Miller will be looking to go out on top against a porous rushing defense.

This is where Carlos Hyde comes in. The senior tailback has burst onto the scene after being suspended for the first three games of the season. The senior got off to a slow start in his first two games back but has been the Buckeyes' catalyst over their last eight games.

The senior has not dropped below 110 yards in his final eight games and has 14 touchdowns during that stretch thanks to five multi-touchdown games.

With the Buckeyes' rushing tandem facing a Tigers defense that ranks 50th in the country with 152.6 yards allowed per game, there should be plenty of carries to go around for both Miller and Hyde. In a game with two explosive offenses, either defense's ability to stop the other team's offense will be crucial.

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Alabama vs. Oklahoma: Complete Sugar Bowl Gambling Guide

The 2014 Sugar Bowl showdown between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Oklahoma Sooners wasn’t the matchup many expected at the beginning of the season, but definitely one that fans and gamblers alike are now excited for.

While the Tide and their supporters had their sights set on a third-straight national title appearance, an Iron Bowl letdown against Auburn has dropped them into this lesser BCS matchup.

Oklahoma is just happy to be here after an up-and-down 2013 campaign saw the program lose against unranked Texas and suffer a 29-point blowout at the hands of Baylor. A shellacking of rival Oklahoma State in the Bedlam season finale helped the Sooners save face and make this prestigious bowl game.

Let’s take a closer look at the latest lines for this matchup, make some predictions against the spread and more.


When: Thursday, Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La. 

Watch: ESPN 


Betting Line: Alabama -17, as per on Jan. 2

This is a fair spread considering the disparity in talent between these two foes.

Alabama was a field goal away from being the favorite to three-peat in the BCS Championship, while OU is just fortunate to be here after faltering to two opponents in Big 12 play.

‘Bama’s head coach, Nick Saban, is a sterling 5-1 in postseason play during his tenure in Tuscaloosa, with the only blemish coming during the Sugar Bowl proceeding the 2008 campaign. He’s overseeing a roster that is disappointed and hungry for vengeance after failing to reach the SEC Championship and itching to obliterate one last opponent to cap off a dominant 2013 season.

During a press conference on Jan. 1, Saban was asked about the possibility of being upset. He told reporters that mindset is the most important thing to avoid it, as per

Well, I think the important thing about a Bowl game is all about mindset.  It's really hard to bring the season to the Bowl game because the amount of time in between opportunities to play. So how your team sort of resets their mindset is really important to how a team's going to prepare, how they're going to focus, how they're going to play in the game. And to me, sometimes if you're an underdog, you have a little bit more to prove.  So that mindset is a little better maybe than a team that doesn't have sort of the right motivation going into a game. Because I really do think when you play in a Bowl game it's all about mindset.

His disciplined team should definitely have the right mindset to close out the 2013 campaign and start 2014 off on the right foot.

Remember, Oklahoma is employing a rotation of quarterbacks and suffers from inconsistent play at the most important position on the field. In the final game of the regular season, three different signal-callers entered the game and threw a pass.

While that questionable strategy worked against a flawed Pokes squad, it certainly won’t fly against an elite Tide defense that conceded just 11.3 points per game to the opposition—the second-best mark in the nation.

OU’s trio of quarterbacks, Trevor Knight, Blake Bell and Kendal Thompson, completed a mere 15-of-32 passes for 185 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Those middling numbers came against a much more lenient OSU defense that gave up an average of 20 points per game to lesser competition than Alabama faced in its SEC schedule.

Expect the Crimson Tide, who ranked No. 21 in the nation in yards allowed per pass and conceded just nine scores through the air compared to 10 interceptions in 2013, to decimate these inexperienced and unreliable quarterbacks.

While giving 17 points is a lot, bettors should feel safe backing ‘Bama in the Sugar Bowl. The Tide have proved capable of keeping quality opponents off the scoreboard completely and held all but three teams to less than 10 points in 2013.

With quarterback A.J. McCarron playing in his final collegiate game, Saban should open the playbook up and allow the signal-caller to show off his arm in this one.

McCarron was rock-solid in the Iron Bowl, connecting on 17-of-29 passes for 277 yards and three scores. He should be able easily reach 300-plus yards and four touchdowns against a Sooners defense that allowed 21.3 points per game this season.

Lay the points and back the chalk on Thursday night in order to cash your ticket.

Prediction: Alabama 38 – Oklahoma 10

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Mike Evans Officially Announces He Will Enter 2014 NFL Draft

Texas A&M standout wide receiver Mike Evans has decided to forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility and declare for the 2014 NFL draft.

The Aggies made the announcement on Twitter:

Texas A&M also passed along comments from Evans on its official athletics site:

After talking things over with Coach Sumlin and my family I have decided to enter the NFL draft. Thanks go to Texas A&M for giving me an opportunity to play college football. Thanks also to my coaches and teammates for helping me develop as a player and as a man. I made this decision based on what I thought was best for myself and my family.

The redshirt sophomore had a solid freshman campaign that saw him catch 82 passes for over 1,100 yards and five touchdowns. His ability to step right into a key role was a major reason fellow freshman Johnny Manziel had a Heisman Trophy season.

Evans and Manziel picked up right where they left off in 2013. The talented receiver backed up his freshman production with 69 grabs for nearly 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore, leaving him with little to prove at the collegiate level.    

While the draft class is still coming together, and will continue to do so until all of the underclassmen decide whether to declare for the draft or return to school, the early outlook suggests Evans will battle Sammy Watkins and Marqise Lee for draft position.

CBS Sports lists Watkins as the top wideout at No. 5 overall with Evans at No. 10 and Lee at No. 17.

Interestingly, back in October a scout told Chase Goodbread of that Evans, who is listed at 6'5'' and 225 pounds, would likely be better suited playing the role of tight end at the next level so he could take better advantage of matchups:

As good as Evans has been, one scout told College Football 24/7 that he may project better as a flex tight end in the NFL than as a receiver, which would allow him to more easily beat safeties and linebackers in coverage than pro cornerbacks.

Whether that will actually happen is unknown, but it's something to watch as teams start taking a closer look at the draft prospects in the coming months.  

Regardless of what position he's labeled with on the roster, Evans has all the tools to become a very good pass-catcher at the NFL level.


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Under Armour All-America Game 2014: Commitment Tracker and Recruit Highlights

The day for the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game has finally arrived, as the nation's best recruits will be looking to shine bright. Taking place at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, the fireworks will begin at 4 p.m. EST.

This will be a fantastic event, as it gives all recruiting fans the chance to see most of the elite prospects in one setting.

However, another key component to this game is that some of the best players in the country will be announcing where they are going to college. Several 5-star talents are set to pick a school tonight, according to Pat Tholey of 247Sports, so stay with this tracker to receive all of the news and analysis of each decision while you watch the game.

Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

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Cotton Bowl 2014: Breaking Down Key Players for Oklahoma State and Missouri

Saturday, December 7 was a rough day for Oklahoma State and Missouri. The Cowboys lost to rival Oklahoma and lost any shot of a BCS berth in the process. Missouri lost to Auburn in the SEC Championship Game, ending its BCS title hopes. 

It's fair to say that both squads would like to erase that taste from their mouths and finish the season on a high note by winning the Cotton Bowl. 

But which players will they need to step up to do so? Who will have to win crucial battles to put their team over the top?

Let's break it down.


Caleb Lavey and Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State

The pair was instrumental in leading an Oklahoma State team that allowed just 20 points per game this season, which ranked 12th in the nation.

Lavey led Oklahoma State with 87 tackles and 13 tackles for loss while also adding four interceptions. Lewis chipped in with 68 tackles, eight tackles for loss and three picks.

They'll be tested against a Missouri team led by dual-threat quarterback James Franklin (474 rushing yards, 4 TDs) and running back Henry Josey (1,074 rushing yards, 13 TDs). Missouri's 236.5 rushing yards per game were good for 17th in the nation, so slowing down their running game is a major key.

Given how Lavey and Lewis have played this year, Oklahoma State might just have the antidote. 


Dorial Green-Beckham and L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri

There aren't many, if any, wide receiver combinations better than Green-Beckham and Washington. The pair combined to catch 102 passes for 1,683 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. It'll be called upon to move the sticks against an Oklahoma State defense that has been tough against the run (132.9 yards allowed per game, 22nd in the nation).

Oklahoma State hasn't been nearly as stout against the pass, allowing 245.6 passing yards per game and 15 touchdowns on the season.

While Oklahoma State does have an incredibly talented corner—more on him below—either Green-Beckham or Washington should regularly have a winnable matchup out wide on every play.

If it continuously exposes that advantage, Missouri will be tough to stop.


Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Gilbert will likely be given the tough task of lining up quite frequently against Green-Beckham. The senior is one of the top corners in the country and proved it this season, picking off six passes and returning two for touchdowns. 

His combination of size and speed is perfect for his position, and his ability to lock down an opponent's top receiver has been a huge part of Oklahoma State's defense this year.

Not surprisingly, Green-Beckham and Washington had nothing but good things to say about him when speaking with David Ubben of Fox Sports:

Green-Beckham compared Gilbert to Loucheiz Purifoy at Florida and said Gilbert be the best corner he's has faced this season.

"He's so athletic," Missouri receiver L'Damian Washington said. "You beat him on the play, but he's got makeup speed like no other in the country."

Gilbert will spend plenty of time on Green-Beckham, but Washington, who led Mizozu in receiving yards with 853 yards and 10 touchdowns, will see Gilbert line up across from him as well. The Tigers like to move Green-Beckham from the strong and weak sides and play him some as a slot receiver. If that happens, Gilbert is unlikely to move with him, Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said.

It's no secret that Missouri will want to throw the ball around in this contest. If Gilbert can take away one side of the field, Oklahoma State's chances of slowing down the Tigers' explosive offense will increase exponentially. 


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