A former Big 12 matchup will happen in the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, when Texas takes on Missouri. They may not be conference foes anymore, but having bragging rights until the next time the teams meet would be nice. Here is the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl preview:
Texas Longhorns (6-6)
Texas had a .500 year for Tom Herman’s first campaign. Their three big wins over Kansas State, Iowa State and West Virginia are what put them over the edge for bowl eligibility. The Longhorns will be without a few players for this bowl game because they are preparing for the NFL Draft. Tackle Connor Williams and safety DeShon Elliot are both skipping the bowl game, while linebacker Malik Jefferson’s status is still up in the air.
Offense is Herman’s forte, but he doesn’t have his type of players at Texas yet. The Longhorns score 28.7 points per game and at times have trouble moving the football. Running the ball has been particularly tough for Texas. Their leading rusher is quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who didn’t even play all of the time due to injuries and battling with Shane Buechele for playing time. Running backs Daniel Young and Chris Warren both had over 300 yards rushing this season, but got fewer than 100 carries.
Ehlinger and Buechele both got playing time this season, but Ehlinger should be seen as the starter. He has thrown for 1,803 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Collin Johnson is the leading receiver leads the team 725 yards receiving. He is 6’6″ and creates mismatches for Texas to take advantage of.
The Longhorn defense has been solid allowing 21.7 points per game. They rank seventh against the run, but 107th against the pass. Without Elliot, and possibly Elliot, Texas will need defensive tackle Poona Ford to have a big day. He has 30 total tackles, eight tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks this season
Missouri Tigers (7-5)
The Tigers had a wild season. They beat an FCS opponent in Missouri State, then lost five straight before winning out to finish 7-5. Although it was a good season, they were not able to beat a team that became bowl eligible this season.
Missouri’s offense can score and averages 39.1 points per game. They average 200 yards on the ground per game, which ranks 35th in the country. Ish Witter is their lead back and has 992 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Larry Rountree III and Damarea Crockett have also been productive for the Tigers with Rountree having 629 yards and Crockett rushing for 481 yards.
The real star of the team is quarterback Drew Lock. Lock has 3,695 passing yards, 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions by virtue of slinging the ball all over the field. J’Mon Moore and Emanuel Hal are the two leading receivers for Lock. Moore has 1,017 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, while Hal has 817 yards and eight touchdowns.
Defensively, Missouri allows 31.8 points per game. They rank 62nd against the run and 109th against the pass. Defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school and has seven sacks this season.
Texas is going to be hurt by the players that are skipping the bowl game. Lock is on a roll and that won’t be stopped by a pass defense that wasn’t good to start with, but also loses Elliot in this game. Missouri will have a big offensive output in this game.
Missouri Tigers 48 Texas Longhorns 34
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