The No. 9 Missouri Tigers (11-2) rode their defense for nearly three quarters until the offense could find its footing against the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2). But then two long back-to-back touchdown drives propelled Mizzou to a 14-3 victory in the 88th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic and just the fourth 11-victory season in school history.
Trailing 3-0 with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter, the Tigers mounted an eight-play, 95-yard drive that ended with a seven-yard touchdown run by Cody Schrader on which he drug two OSU defenders into the endzone. The big play of the drive was a 49-yard play-action pass from Brady Cook to Marquis Johnson.
After forcing an OSU punt, the Tigers took over at their own nine-yard line, and marched 91 yards to another score. The drive started with a 30-yard pass to Theo Wease Jr. and followed with a heavy dose of Schrader runs and a key fourth-down run by Cook to get into the red zone. Then, Cook zipped a seven-yard TD pass to Luther Burden III and a 14-3 lead.
On Ohio State’s next possession, Daylan Carnell sacked Buckeye quarterback Lincoln Kienholz and forced a fumble that was recovered by Joe Moore III and from there the Tigers ran out the clock.
Schrader carried 29 times for 128 yards and scored a touchdown for the 10th-straight game. He lifted his season rushing total to a Mizzou-record 1,627 yards, topping the previous record of 1,604 set by Tyler Badie two years ago.
Named the game’s offensive MVP, Cook completed 11-of-18 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown and ran 19 times for 66 yards.
MU’s defense held Ohio State to 203 total yards and rang up four quarterback sacks. Johnny Walker, Jr. had 1.5 of those and was named the game’s defensive MVP. Jaylon Carlies and Triston Newson were the top tacklers with 11 and 10 respectively.
The victory upped Missouri’s all-time bowl record to 16-20 and was its first since 2015 and the first of Coach Eliah Drinkwitz‘ four-year MU career. It was also the Tigers’ third straight Cotton Bowl triumph. The Tigers, who beat the Buckeyes for the first time since 1976, are now 3-2 all-time bowl in matchups against Big 10 opponents.
Ohio State’s only points came on a 44-yard first-quarter field goal by Fielding who also banged a 48-yard attempt off the upright in the third quarter.
Missouri had just 112 total yards in the first half but finished with 331.