Missouri got a late fumble return for a touchdown to hold off Oklahoma State and win the Cotton Bowl 41-31 on Friday night in Arlington, Texas.
Both offenses struggled early in the first quarter, with each team turning the ball over.
Justin Gilbert intercepted James Franklin pass on Mizzou’s opening possession, but the Cowboys couldn’t do anything with it and had to punt back to the Tigers.
Later in the quarter, Missouri failed on a 4th down attempt at the OSU 32-yard line, but got the ball right back when Clint Chelf was intercepted by E.J. Gaines.
Missouri then took advantage, going 50 yards in 11 plays, with Henry Josey scored on a 3-yard touchdown run on an option pitch to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter.
OSU responded with a 5-play, 75-yard drive in just 1:16, as Chelf passed to Josh Stewart for a 40-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7.
Stewart had eight catches for 80 yards.
On the Cowboys first possession of the second quarter, they had to settle for a field goal attempt.
It was going to be from 29 yards, but a delay of game penalty pushed it back five yards to make it a 34-yard attempt.
Ben Grogan missed the kick, clanging it off the top of the right upright.
Missouri then brought Maty Mauk in at quarterback, and he provided an immediate spark, running for gains of 35 and 34 yards.
Then Mauk went to the air, finding Marcus Lucas for a 24-yard touchdown to give Mizzou a 14-7 lead with 10:20 left in the first half.
OSU’s offense struggled in the second quarte, and Missouri put together a drive late in the first half, and ended the half
with a 35-yard field goal from Andrew Baggett to make the halftime score 17-7 Missouri.
The third quarter was uneventful for most of the period until the two teams exchanged turnovers.
First Chelf was intercepted by Braylon Webb at the Missouri 41.
But the Tigers gave it right back, when James Castleman recovered a fumble by James Franklin at the Tiger 33.
OSU then punched it in, with Chelf passing to Jhajuan Seales for a 21-yard touchdown to cut the Mizzou lead to 17-14 with 2:10 to play in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was wild, with 41 combined points scored, and the two teams combining to score on six straight possessions.
The Cowboys defense made a big play to allow OSU to tie it up early in the fourth quarter.
Ryan Simmons recovered another fumble by Franklin at the Tigers 11.
OSU couldn’t convert with a touchdown, but settled for a 25-yard field goal by Ben Grogan to tie the game at 17 with 13:32 to play.
Mizzou answered with a 60-yard, six play drive, with Josey scoring on a 25-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 24-17 lead.
The Cowboy offense responded, going 75 yards in eight plays, with Chelf finishing the drive on a 23-yard touchdown run, tying the game at 24 with 9:51 left in the fourth quarter.
On Missouri’s next drive, it appeared OSU had taken the lead for the first time, when Tyler Patmon intercepted Franklin and returned it 37 yards for an apparent touchdown.
But Patmon was called for pass interference on the play, and the touchdown was negated, keeping the ball with Missouri.
The Tiger drive stalled, but Baggett kicked a 46-yard field goal to match his career best and the Tigers led again 27-24, with 6:29 to play.
Once again, OSU’s offense had an answer, going 75 yards in seven plays to take the lead.
The big play was a 41-yard pass from Chelf to Tracy Moore, who had seven catches for 100 yards.
Chelf finished the game 33 for 57 passing for 377 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Desmond Roland capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, giving OSU their first lead 31-27 with 5:04 left in the fourth quarter.
Mizzou had a response this time, marching to the go-ahead score.
On 3rd and 9 from the OSU 43, Franklin found Dorial Green-Beckham for a gain of 27 to the OSU 16-yard line.
On the next play, Josey scored on a 16-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers back on top 34-31 with 3:08 to play.
Josey rushed for 92 yards on just 12 carries and had three touchdowns.
Oklahoma State took over at their own 25 and moved into field goal range, but on 3rd and 7 from the Tiger 23, Chelf was sacked by Michael Sam, who knocked the ball loose.
Shane Ray scooped up the ball and rumbled 73 yards for a touchdown to give Mizzou a 41-31 lead with just 55 seconds remaining.
Missouri finishes the season 12-2, while OSU ends at 10-3.