MO State HS Sports

Football Back On The Field Tuesday As Offense Meets With Media

122623_Cotton Bowl Practice

ARLINGTON, Texas – The No. 9 Missouri Tigers (10-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) moved a step closer to its matchup in the 88th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic during their Tuesday practice at AT&T Stadium.

The Tigers will face the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1, 8-1 Big Ten Conference) Friday, December 29th at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Missouri held its usual “Winning Wednesday” theme of practice, with gameday now only three days away.

“I thought we had good energy,” said Tigers’ head coach Eliah Drinkwitz. “I was actually pretty pleased with the execution and physicality. We’re getting a little bit closer to the game, and the guys are getting more and more focused on what we have to do.”

In a contest matching Top-10 teams, strength-versus-strength matchups are common as the Missouri offense preps for the tough Ohio State defense. The Buckeyes lead the nation in passing defense yielding 147.4 yards per game, rank second in scoring defense allowing 11.0 points per game, and third in total defense allowing 259.9 yards per game while also ranking in the Top 25 in third-down conversion defense, red zone defense, and rushing defense.

“They’re very sound in what they do, and they’ve got elite players,” Drinkwitz said. “They’ve got elite players at every level of their defense, and they’re really good at what they do. They don’t have a lot of weaknesses, and they don’t blow coverages. They stop the run, force you into long down and distance situations, and let their guys rush the passer.”

Conversely, the Tigers have the nation’s best red-zone offense, having scored on all but one of their 55 possessions inside the 20-yard line this season (34 touchdowns, 20 field goals). Missouri also ranks in the Top 30 nationally in scoring offense, total offense, and passing offense.

“It starts with our kicker (Harrison Mevis) being really good down on the red zone,” Drinkwitz said. “Obviously, we’ve got to continue to execute as we have throughout the season, but they’re pretty good on defense. So, it’d be strength on strength if we get the ball down there.”

Following practice, offensive coordinator Kirby Moore and five student-athletes met with the media to discuss the matchup with Ohio State.

The 88th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic is Friday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN and Tiger Radio Network. Kickoff is slated for 7:10 p.m. 

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This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics