2017 Texas Bowl Preview
One of the fun things about bowl games is you get match-ups of two teams who don’t usually play. However, sometimes you get a game featuring two schools who used to be rivals. That is what we have in this year’s Texas Bowl with Missouri and Texas. This game hasn’t gotten a lot of publicity but on paper appears to be a good game. With that in mind, let’s begin the 2017 Texas Bowl Preview by learning more about the sponsor, Academy Sports + Outdoors.
Who Is Academy Sports + Outdoors??
An interesting facet of the college football bowls is who actually sponsors these games. The official name for the game is the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl. Wow, that is a mouthful. Academy Sports + Outdoors is an American sporting goods discount chain founded in Houston, Texas in 1938. This is the first year they have sponsored the game. Played at NPG Stadium, the goal is to create a celebration of the football tradition of the Lone Star State. The inaugural Texas Bowl was played in 2006 between Kansas State and Rutgers. Now the game features teams from the SEC and Big 12. Last year, Texas A&M lost to Kansas State 33-28.
Bowl and Series History
As mentioned earlier, this is the first meeting of former Big 12 rivals since 2011. Overall Texas leads the series 16-9 with the Tigers winning the last meeting 17-5. Missouri has a 15-16 record all-time in bowl games. On the other side, Texas is 27-24-2 in their long bowl history. Both squads have played in the Texas Bowl once. Missouri lost to Navy 35-13 back in 2009, while Texas lost 31-7 to Arkansas in 2014.
Scouting the Tigers
Under Coach Barry Odom, Missouri comes into this game as one of the hottest teams in college football. Following a 1-5 start, the Tigers ran off six straight wins to make their first bowl game since the 2015 Citrus Bowl.
The high powered offense is led by quarterback Drew Lock. He led the nation in touchdown passes with 43. In addition, he broke the SEC single-season record for touchdowns of 40 set by Andre Woodson of Kentucky in 2007.
History in the SEC.
Drew Lock sets the single-season passing touchdown record with his 41st TD of the year. pic.twitter.com/OAtAJbjade
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) November 24, 2017
Lock has plenty of big-play threats at receiver including J’Mon Moore and Emanuel Hall. Moore has 60 receptions for 1,017 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season. Hall averages a whopping 25 yards per catch to go along with eight scores. However, the Tigers are not just a passing team as Ish Witter ran for almost 1,000 yards. In addition to Witter, Damarea Crockett could return for this game after missing the last six.
On the season, Missouri ranks seventh in the nation with 511 yards per game and averages 39 points. But they will be without their offensive coordinator when they play Texas. Josh Heupel was named the new head coach of Central Florida on December 5th, replacing Scott Frost. The school announced Heupel will not coach in the bowl game. It will be interesting to see how the offense performs without him.
Looking At The Longhorns
Tom Herman‘s first season in Austin wasn’t the huge success fans were hoping for when they hired him away from Houston. However, a 6-6 record and first bowl game since 2014 is an improvement on the Charlie Strong era.
The Longhorns have a good quarterback of their own in freshman Sam Ehlinger, who threw for 1,800 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was also the team’s leading rusher with 368 yards. All this while missing four games due to injury and splitting time with Shane Buechele. Herman says neither quarterback has stood out in the practices leading up to the game so expect both signal callers to play against Missouri.
Texas’ calling card has been on the defensive side where they have only allowed 21 points per game. However, they are going to be without several players for the Texas Bowl. All-American safety DeShon Elliott and leading tackler Malik Jefferson will not play in order to protect their interests for the NFL Draft. If Lock is on his game, it could be a long day for the Longhorns. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a number of players are now suspended for the game.
The hits keep coming for Texas. TE Garrett Gray, WR Lil'Jordan Humphrey, RB Toniel Carter all suspended for Texas Bowl, per Tom Herman. Violation of team rules.
— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) December 22, 2017
So now, Texas will be without Williams, Elliott, Hill, Carter, Humphrey, Gray and most likely Jefferson (turf toe) against Mizzou, winners of 6 straight.
— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) December 22, 2017
Who Wins The Game On Wednesday?
It is prediction time for the 2017 Texas Bowl Preview. On paper, Missouri appears to have a decided advantage over Texas. However, a closer look at the Tigers’ record shows an interesting disparity. All of Missouri’s wins came against teams that did not make a bowl and was 0-5 against teams that did.
Texas went 1-5 this season when allowing more than 260 yards per game with the only win against Kansas. Playing in the Big 12 the Longhorns are used to facing great quarterbacks such as Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. But with all the injuries and suspensions, it is difficult to see them coming out victorious.
Missouri 34 – Texas 23
Thanks for checking out the 2017 Texas Bowl Preview here at Last Word On College Football. As a reminder, Last Word previews all of the bowl games leading up to the National Championship game.
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