Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Baylor's last visit to the Cotton Bowl in 1981

   This will be Baylor's third appearance in the Cotton Bowl Classic and its first since 1981. That one didn't go so well for the Bears. It was a 30-2 loss to Alabama, but this partial video of the broadcast is a hoot.
   The game featured a pair of Hall of Fame coaches in Alabama's Bear Bryant and Baylor's Grant Teaff. It also featured one of the all-time great players in Baylor linebacker Mike Singletary.
   But check out the broadcast booth before the game with legendary play-by-play man Lindsey Nelson and Dallas Cowboys great Roger Staubach wearing ten-gallon hats. Yee-ha!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Kilgore Rangerettes are high-kicking and helpful

Members of the Kilgore Rangerettes helped with the Dallas Cowboys Welcome Dinner at AT&T Stadium
   If you attend any of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic events, you're likely to see young women in familiar red and blue uniforms. Those are the world famous Kilgore Rangerettes, the talented drill team from Kilgore College that has become part of the fabric of the Cotton Bowl.
   Not only do the Rangerettes perform at every Cotton Bowl Classic game, they serve as hostesses throughout the week and assist at many other Classic events.
   In Texas, the only thing taken more seriously than football might be drill teams. The Rangerettes represent the best of the best when it comes to drill teams. If you ever get a chance to visit with a Rangerette, you'll find that these impressive ladies have more going for them than their high kicks.

Baylor band practicing at area high school

The Baylor Golden Wave Band practices at Lake Highlands High School

   It's not just the football teams that need practice. The marching bands of Baylor and Michigan State also need to get in tune for Thursday's game at AT&T Stadium.
   The Baylor Golden Wave Band is practicing this week at Lake Highlands High School in Northeast Dallas. A group of fans showed up to Wildcat-Ram Stadium on Monday afternoon to watch the first practice.
   The Baylor Band will also practice at Lake Highlands High, 9449 Church Rd., from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. It's a great opportunity to see a sneak peak of Thursday's gameday performances, as well as get an idea of all the hard work that goes into a first-class production.

Baylor, Michigan State players meet the press

Baylor QB Bryce Petty meets with members of the press during Sunday's media session.
   Part of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic experience is meeting with the media. For the past two days, members of the Michigan State and Baylor teams and coaching staffs have engaged in one-on-one sessions with the press.
   Well, as one-on-one as it can get with a popular player like Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty (above). On Sunday, members of the Baylor offense met with the media in "breakout" session at the Omni Dallas, the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic's media headquarters. Then Michigan State's defense met with reporters.
   On Monday, the teams were flipped with Baylor's defense meeting with the media, followed by Michigan State's defense.
   It all takes place starting at 8 a.m. so that the teams can get on to the rest of their bowl events, including - oh yeah! - practice and the media can get their stories done in time to relax a little in the evenings, too.
   On Tuesday, both teams will have their full squads available to reporters for their respective Media Days on the turf at AT&T Stadium. This is also when their official Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic team photo is taken. It's not quite as wild and crazy as the annual Super Bowl media day, but it's usually the best time to get to know the players better in a casual setting.
  Additionally, the media is allowed to attend the first 15 minutes of each team's practice. Buses are even provided to escort the media to the teams' practice sites.
   The final media commitment is the annual coaches' press conference on Wednesday, the day before the game. This is always a fun event for the media as the two head coaches usually share the podium and sometimes take a photo in a mock tug-of-war over the spectacular Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic trophy.

The Main Event before the MAIN event

Baylor players race to the finish at The Main Event.

A Baylor player chats with members of the Kilgore Rangerettes, the world famous dance/drill troup that serves as hostesses for many Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic events. 
   Saturday night, members of both teams were treated to a fun night of games at The Main Event, an entertainment center featuring arcade games and sports. The teams went to separated Main Event locations in Grapevine and Lewisville.
   The trip to the Main Event is always a highlight for the players, who invariably end up arguing over who had the better bowling score and who cheated at laser tag.
   It's all part of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic Week experience until the real competition kicks off New Year's Day at AT&T Stadium.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Michigan State coach phoned a friend, or two, about playing in AT&T Stadium

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio meets with the media upon the Spartans' arrival in North Texas
   There's no doubt that AT&T Stadium is one of the most unique sports facilities in the world. Playing in the home of the Dallas Cowboys is unlike any other place because of its size, first-class amenities and that giant video screen hanging over the field.
   While Baylor has played in AT&T Stadium several times, including earlier this season, this is Michigan State's first experience with the stadium affectionately known as "Jerry World." That's why it helps to have a few friends in the coaching business to prepare you for the experience.
   "I have just heard from people who have been down there, 'Wait 'til you see it,'" Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "I talked to [Oklahoma coach] Bob Stoops and [Texas A&M coach] Kevin Sumlin and a lot of other coaches, and they talked about how unique the atmosphere was."
   It's good to have friends like that.

Baylor's Briles joins exclusive Cotton Bowl fraternity

 Baylor coach Art Briles
   Baylor head coach Art Briles was a receiver on Houston's 1977 Cotton Bowl team that beat Maryland, 30-21, in the 1977 Cotton Bowl Classic.
   That puts Briles in an exclusive club of Classic coaches who have also played in the game. David McWilliams (Texas) and Ken Hatfield (Arkansas) also played and coached in the Cotton Bowl.
   "I know both of them. Extremely fine people," Briles said. "That's a pretty good fraternity."

Settling in

Michigan State players view a highlight film of their season on the big video screen at AT&T Stadium.

   Baylor and Michigan State are getting into their routines of Goodyear Cotton Bowl Week. It began with their arrivals on Friday. That night, the teams were treated to the annual Welcome Dinner by the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
   The evening featured food, entertainment and a chance to take a picture with Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. At the end, the players settled into seats in the stadium and watched a highlight video on AT&T Stadium's famous mega-sized video screen.
   Saturday night, the teams were treated to an evening at Main Event, an entertainment center with arcade-style games, bowling and laser tag.
   The morning press conferences began Saturday with Baylor's offense and Michigan State's defense engaging in one-on-one sessions with the media.
   Don't worry, the teams are also mixing in a few practices for the game.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A sneak peek at the Media Hospitality Headquarters

The talented interns from the UT-Arlington Department of Communication put together this video of the Media Hospitality Headquarters for the 2015 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. The Cotton Bowl is synonymous with hospitality and that extends to the media who cover the game.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A record-setting night at the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic

     At four hours and 19 minutes, the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic was the longest in the game's history. The previous record was three hours, 47 minutes in the 2003 Classic between LSU and Texas.

     The game was also the longest college game in AT&T Stadium history. The previous record for the building was the three hour, 55 minute game between Baylor and Texas Tech on Nov. 16, 2013.

     The combined 41 points in the fourth quarter is a Cotton Bowl record for points in any quarter. The previous record was 30 points, also in the fourth, in the 1975 Classic between Penn State and Baylor.

     Missouri's 24 points in the fourth quarter were the most by any team in Classic history in the final quarter. It ranks second to the record for points in any quarter set by USC with 28 against Texas Tech in 1995.

     The SEC is now 11-0 in games at AT&T Stadium, including 5-0 in AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic games.

     Missouri defensive end Shane Ray's 73-yard fumble return for a touchdown is the longest fumble return in Cotton Bowl history. The previous record was 65 yards by Nebraska's Steve Manstedt against Texas in 1974. Ray's return is also the longest miscellaneous return for a touchdown in the game's history.

     Tonight's attendance of 72,690 ranks as the 11th largest to attend a college football game at AT&T Stadium.

     The combined 101 passing attempts by Missouri (44) and Oklahoma State (57) are the most in Cotton Bowl history. The previous record was 84 by Oklahoma (49) and Texas A&M (35) in last year's Classic.

     Oklahoma State's 96 offensive plays (57 pass, 39 rush) are a Cotton Bowl record. The 187 combined offensive plays (OSU 96, Missouri 91) is also a record.

     OSU quarterback Clint Chelf set a new Cotton Bowl Classic record with 381 passing yards, besting the 364 by Graham Harrell of Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss in 2009.

     Chelf's 67 total offensive plays (57 passes, 10 rushes) ranks as the most in Cotton Bowl history. Harrell had the previous record with 64 in 2009.


Missouri reaches 12 wins for the second time ever

     Missouri's victory over Oklahoma State in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic gave the Tigers their second 12-win season. Missouri finishes 12-2, matching its mark for the 2007 season.
     It was Missouri's second win in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic in its third appearance in the bowl.
     Missouri also has a two-game bowl winning streak. The Tigers won the 2011 Independence Bowl over North Carolina in their previous bowl appearance.

Pinkel: "It was more about survival" at the end

     Missouri coach Gary Pinkel sounded as relieved as he was excited about winning the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.
     "It came down to the fourth quarter and we just got that fumble and he ran down there," Pinkel said. "It was more about survival there towards the end, but now I got that trophy. I'm going to have it forever."
     Pinkel became Missouri's all-time winningest coach with the win. Pinkel is now 102-63 in 13 seasons to surpass Mizzou legend Don Faurot who won 101 games from 1935-42 and 1946-56.
     Missouri running back Henry Josey was named the Outstanding Offensive Player after rushing for 92 yards and three touchdowns.
     Tigers middle linebacker Andrew Wilson was awarded the game's Outstanding Defensive Player trophy after making 15 tackles.
     The game will be remembered for its exciting finish as well as for its length: 4 hours, 19 minutes. The game began at 7:10 p.m. and officially ended at 11:29 p.m.

Missouri's win makes it six in a row for the SEC

     The confetti canons were firing off as Missouri celebrated its 41-31 victory in the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.
     Missouri's win makes it six wins in a row for the SEC in the final year of the Big 12-SEC pairing in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. Next year, the AT&T Cotton Bowl becomes part of the college football playoff and won't have conference tie-ins.
     And the last Big 12 team to win the AT&T Cotton Bowl? Missouri, back in 2008 when the Tigers were part of the Big 12.
     In the 16 years of the Big 12-SEC matchup in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, the SEC won 11 and the Big 12 won 5. The Big 12 dominated early in the series, winning four of the first five matchups.

The Missouri Tigers are champions of the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic

   No miracles for Oklahoma State in the final :55. Missouri closed out the win, 41-31, in a wild fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium.
     After the teams combined for 31 points in the first three quarters, they scored 41 points in the final quarter to make for a fantastic finish.
     And despite all that offense, it was a defensive play that sealed the game for Missouri. Michael Sam's sack and Shane Ray's 73-yard fumble return for a touchdown thwarted Oklahoma State's last-minute comeback bid.

Game-changer: Mizzou fumble return all but seals it for Tigers

    Wow, what a shocking turn of momentum.
    Oklahoma State drove to the Missouri 23 with a chance to take the lead when quarterback Clint Chelf is sacked by Michael Sam and fumbles.
     Shane Ray picks up the loose ball and rumbles 73 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Unbelievable.
     The turnover results in a 41-31 lead for Missouri with a mere 55 seconds left.

Another lead change! Mizzou up 34-31 with 3:08 left

     Henry Josey breaks into the end zone again, this time from 16 yards out, to give Missouri a 34-31 lead with just 3:08 remaining in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

Cowboys take the lead with 5:04 to play

     Desmond Roland powered his way across the goal line from two yards out to five Oklahoma State a 31-27 lead as we march toward the final minutes of the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.
    Your serve, Missouri.

Missouri back in the lead, 27-24

     Things are getting tense. After a pass interference call wiped out an Oklahoma State pick six, AT&T Stadium was filled with boos by unhappy OSU fans while Missouri drove for a go-ahead field goal.    
     Andrew Baggett drilled a 46-yarder to put the Tigers up by three with 6:29 to play.
     If this pace keeps up, this could end up being an all-time classic for the Classic.

Dez Bryant a happy alum after OSU ties it up

     Dallas Cowboy and former Oklahoma State Cowboy Dez Bryant has been on the OSU sideline tonight supporting his alma mater. Bryant has to like that OSU just tied it up again with a 23-yard touchdown run by quarterback Clint Chelf.
     That makes it 24-24 with 9:51 left. This one looks like it's head for a dramatic finish.

Mizzou reclaims lead with Josey jaunt

    The fourth-quarter fireworks are sparking up. Missouri jumped back ahead, 24-17, thanks to a 25-yard touchdown run by Henry Josey.
     There's still 11:32 left and a lot can happen. A game that started slow, at least from a scoring standpoint, looks to have a fast finish.

It's a new ballgame

     With 13:32 to play we are all tied here at the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Oklahoma State has scored twice in the second half to knot the score at 17-17 with Missouri.
     Jhajuan Seales hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Clint Chelf in the third quarter. Then a fumble recovered by Ryan Simmons at the Missouri 11 set up a 25-yard field goal by Ben Grogan early in the fourth.
     Buckle in for some fourth-quarter drama!

Kilgore Rangerettes lead a dazzling halftime performance

The Kilgore Rangerettes are an AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic tradition. They never disappoint!

Halftime stats

Mizzou Band rocks the house

Oklahoma State Band performs Beatles medley

FG ends the half with Mizzou up 17-7

    Andrew Baggett nailed a 35-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. The kick came at the end of an 11-play, 62-yard drive that last 1:35. James Franklin directed the drive for the Tigers, who hold a 17-7 lead over Oklahoma State at the break.

Maty Mauk sparks Mizzou

     Maty Mauk replaced James Franklin at quarterback in the second quarter and provided instant offense for Mizzou. Mauk broke runs of 35 and 34 yards to set up Missouri's second touchdown.
    After penalties pushed Missouri into a 1st and goal from the 24, Mauk lofted a pass to Marcus Lucas in the end zone to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead.
     Missouri's scoring drive took 3:49 to cover 80 yards in six plays. The score came with 10:20 left in the first half.

Another look

Bet he can't do that again

     Oklahoma State kicker Ben Grogan couldn't have done this if he tried - his 34-yard field goal attempt hit the top of the right upright, resulting in a miss.
     The missed field goal left the score tied, 7-7, with 14:09 left in the second quarter.

7-7 after the first quarter at the AT&T Cotton Bowl

     One quarter of action is in the books and the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic is tied at 7-7. The teams are almost even statistically, too, with Missouri gaining 118 total yards and Oklahoma State gaining 114.

Oklahoma State answers

     And just like that Oklahoma State responds! Clint Chelf connects with Josh Stewart for a 40-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7-all with 1:44 left in the first quarter.
     Oklahoma State's drive covered 75 yards in five plays and took just 1:16 off the clock.
     After waiting 12 minutes for a score, both teams found the end zone in less than two minutes. Could be a sign things are going to heat up the rest of the way.

We have a score!

     It took 12 minutes of game time, but we finally have points at the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Missouri RB Henry Josey took a pitch and scored from three yards out to put the Tigers up 7-0 with 3:00 left in the first quarter.
     What was supposed to be a matchup of two pretty impressive offensive teams didn't look like it for the first 12 minutes of play. It hasn't always looked pretty - and we had a long injury delay - but maybe the teams are shaking off the rust from the long stretch between the end of the regular season and the bowl game.
     Missouri's drive took 11 plays and covered 50 yards in 2:57. Now we will see if Oklahoma State's offense can come to life.

The AT&T Cotton Bowl knows how to do anthems!

Pat Monahan sings the national anthem as the Stars and Stripes are stretched across the field of AT&T Stadium.


Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge

     Before things heated up inside the stadium, the guys who are experts at putting out fires held their own competition. The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge drew competitors from all over to compete in various challenges related to their very important occupation.
     For more on the competition, read this story posted by KFOR in Oklahoma City.

Let's get it started!

We've had a stirring national anthem sung by Pat Monahan, lead singer of train, and a performance by the World-Famous Kilgore Rangerettes. The teams have run onto the field - it's time to light this candle!

Pre-game stretching

     Time to limber up and get ready for the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic!
     Missouri and Oklahoma State are finishing their pre-game warmups and there will be a whole slate of festivities before we kickoff. So do a little stretching yourself, then settle in for a great night of football.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Big Fun at the AT&T Big Play Luncheon

Truman the Tiger poses for pictures before the start of the AT&T Big Play Luncheon on Thursday.

     The festivities don't end with the AT&T Cotton Bowl, they just get bigger. A prime example is the AT&T Big Play Luncheon, the annual get-together the day before the game.
     This year the luncheon moved to the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine and was staged in the huge Texas Ballroom. The big room was filled with good food and good times, with the entire squads for both Oklahoma State and Missouri present.
     With Brad Sham, the voice of the Dallas Cowboys, serving as master of ceremonies, the luncheon started off with the invocation delivered by former Baylor coach Grant Teaff. After a welcome greetings by Cotton Bowl Athletic Association chairman Tommy Baine and AT&T's Mark Keiffer, the guests were treated to a rousing speech by Fox Sports' Charles Davis.
     The young winners of the Cotton Bowl Art Contest were presented, then Oklahoma State's Caleb Lavey and Missouri's Matt Hoch were present the Dan S. Petty Scholar-Athlete Awards.
     An annual highlight is the door prize drawing, with two lucky winners getting Apple TV devices. But first they had to catch - or at least attempt to catch - passes thrown by OSU quarterback Clint Chelf and Missouri QB James Franklin, who drew the winner's names.
     The luncheon concluded with highlight videos shown of both teams, followed by addresses from OSU coach Mike Gundy and Missouri coach Gary Pinkel.
Fox Sports' Charles Davis entertains the crowd.

The scene at the AT&T Big Play Luncheon

Master of Ceremonies Brad Sham is flanked by Missouri QB James Franklin and Oklahoma State QB Clint Chelf, who drew the names for the door prizes.

Coaches have the final say

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, left, and Missouri coach Gary Pinkel shake hands behind the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic Trophy at the conclusion of Thursday's news conference.
     The final media event of the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic is the traditional dual coaches' press conference held the day before the game. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and Missouri coach Gary Pinkel came together Thursday morning at the bowl's official media hotel to give their final words of insight before kickoff.
     Pinkel had a clever answer when asked for the umpteenth time to compare the SEC and the Big 12. For the second year in a row, the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic is a matchup of former Big 12 foes. Last year's game featured Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
     "That's probably the first time ever anybody has asked me that question," Pinkel said, which drew a chuckle from the crowd of reporters. "Kidding aside, we played in the Big 12 and it is a great league. The SEC is a great league."
    Gundy had an interesting revelation about attending the most recent football game played at AT&T Stadium.
     "I think it was special for our team and our coaches and families to be able to go to the Dallas Cowboys game the other day when they played the Eagles. It was actually the first NFL game that I had ever been to, which I know surprised people. But we're working that time of the season. It's hard to get away on Sunday and go to an NFL game."
        The 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic is Friday, Jan. 3 on FOX. Airtime is set for 6:30 p.m. CST with kickoff scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Making their fourth appearances as members of FOX’s broadcast crew, Gus Johnson and Charles Davis will describe all the action and will be joined by Kristina Pink reporting from the sideline. FOX is broadcasting the Classic for the 16thconsecutive year.
     ESPN Radio returns as the Classic’s national radio partner for a second-straight year. Brad Sham, the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys,” will partner with Ed Cunningham offering color commentary and Ian Fitzsimmons adding analysis from the sideline to provide the call of the 78th Classic to hundreds of affiliate stations around the country as well as subscribers of Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio in the United States and Canada.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Missouri Media Day fun

Linebacker Darvin Ruise interviews defensive lineman Marvin Foster. (Photo by Ian Halperin/CBAA)
     Missouri had a little fun at its official Media Day appearance on Monday at AT&T Stadium. That was when things were a little more relaxed with the game still several days away.
     The teams have met all their media obligations for the week.Now it's time to hunker down and get ready for the game on Friday night.
     The two head coaches, Missouri's Gary Pinkel and Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy, will hold a dual press conference Thursday in a final Q&A with reporters.
     Both teams will be at the AT&T Big Play Luncheon - always a good time - at the Gaylord Texan Resort on Thursday. Then they will sequester for the night as they prepare to meet in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.
Head coach Gary Pinkel is all smiles while the team photo is taken. (Photo by Ian Halperin/CBAA)
Another Tiger gets "grilled" by the media. (Photo by Ian Halperin/CBAA)

Tigers, Cowboys get their (arcade) games on

And they're off! A group of Missouri Tigers rev up at Main Event. (Photo by Ian Halperin/CBAA)

Oklahoma State Wednesday Practice Report

ARLINGTON – Head Coach Mike Gundy knew that game day was almost here Wednesday by the way his players practiced.
Oklahoma State punctuated a week of practices for the AT&T Cotton Bowl with a session high on concentration at AT&T Stadium. Players worked for about 90 minutes in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts in what equated to a regular-season Thursday practice, the last before the game.
No. 13 OSU (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) squares off against No. 8 Missouri (11-2, 7-2 SEC) on Friday.
“The players are settling in mentally and getting ready for the game,” Gundy said. “They’ve had a great five days here, so they seem to be more focused on the game now than they were yesterday.”
Hip hop tunes boomed out of the stadium’s sound system. Oklahoma State cranks up the music at all practices, whether preparing for a home, road or neutral-site game, Gundy said. Players learn how to operate in the loud conditions they typically face on game day.
Gundy lets the players pick the music.
“Every once in a while I make them throw in some ’70s and ’80s and Motown. That’s my stuff,” said Gundy, who grew up on those genres. “But other than that, I let them listen to what they want to.”
Gundy extended the team’s curfew to 1 a.m. for New Year’s Eve and rang in 2014 with his wife Kristen and their three children at the team hotel.
“It was hard for me to make it till midnight,” Gundy said. “Unfortunately, the last 10 years of my life it’s been hard for me to make it that late.”
Oklahoma State will conduct a walkthrough Thursday at the stadium. The walkthrough will be closed to the public and media.

Missouri Wednesday Practice Report

Arlington – The No. 8 Missouri Tigers hit the practice field one final time with a 90-minute workout at AT&T Stadium with the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic looming in two days.
Mizzou (11-2, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) took time to work on its final adjustments, while making sure to continue its emphasis on fundamentals in preparation for the No. 13 Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2, 7-2 Big 12 Conference).
Leading the list of 32 Tigers returning to their home state for the program’s 30th bowl game is senior QB James Franklin. Head coach Gary Pinkel said the Corinth, Texas native has been the catalyst in Mizzou’s breakout season in the SEC after the team was picked to finish sixth in the conference’s Eastern Division.
“A year ago was remarkable what he had to go through,” said head coach Gary Pinkel. “To see his maturity and see him be able to deal with all the adversity he had like he always does. It made him tougher mentally, a little bit more resilient and a little bit more determined. When you get hurt and you’re sitting on the bench and it’s something that’s real important to you, you sit there and shake your head a little bit. Our players have great respect for him. He’s a great leader and he’s had a great, great year for us.”
Franklin and the other seniors closed practice with the Tiger tradition of taking their last hits in a Mizzou uniform before their final game.
“The seniors give so much,” said Pinkel. “This is the last practice they are going to have. You add up the number of practices, how many times they lifted weights, all of the conditioning they’ve done and all the time they’ve put into this place the last four or five years, it’s the tradition of their last hit to honor them. It’s a lot of fun. They’re creative in their own way. It’s a great statement for the seniors and what they’ve done. It’s fun for our whole football team.”
Following its final practice, Mizzou conducted its defensive news conference for the media at the Omni Mandalay hotel featuring defensive coordinator Dave Steckel, DE Kony Ealy, CB E.J. Gaines, DT Matt Hoch, DE Michael Sam and MLB Andrew Wilson. The Tigers will enjoy another quiet night and then a restful day at their hotel headquarters prior to game day.