MO State HS Sports

Football In The Community And On Practice Field Wednesday In Texas

122723_Cody Schrader - Scottish Rite Hospital

DALLAS – University of Missouri football split its Wednesday by serving the community and returning to the practice field with the 88th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic matchup with Ohio State approaching on Friday night at AT&T Stadium. 

Missouri started the morning by visiting patients and their families at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

The visit began with a welcoming from Scottish Rite Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Matt Chance, who briefed the team about the pediatric orthopedic hospital.
Head Coach Eliah Drinkwitz then presented honorary captain Rayne Urech with a custom Mizzou Tigers jersey. Urech serves as an assistant student coach at her high school and will get the opportunity to attend practices throughout the next couple of days.
The team then walked over to the atrium where Chance expressed his appreciation for Mizzou and the Cotton Bowl, followed by Cotton Bowl Athletic Association Chair Dave Brown.
“We value Coach Drinkwitz and his team’s time and effort to get here,” Brown said. “We’re going to try to make this experience the best it can be. This week has been incredible, Coach, and we feel your mark here as well.”
Drinkwitz was then presented with a Cotton Bowl-themed artwork that Scottish Rite patient, Emalyn, had created.
After the greetings, the players and coaches spent some time with patients, playing an assortment of games and signing autographs. Drinkwitz and his team were able to speak with some of the patients, doctors and families about their experiences.
“I want to say to the patients and doctors in this hospital, we appreciate the opportunity to serve you and be around you to hear your stories,” Drinkwitz said. “We draw inspiration and encouragement from your fight and battles.
Mizzou offensive lineman Marcellus Johnson echoed Drinkwitz sentiments and enjoyed witnessing the patient’s enthusiasm.
“It’s cool seeing the kid’s excitement,” Johnson said. “It’s almost like Christmas, their eyes get big when you play with them, they’re excited to see the tall players. That’s pretty cool.”
Junior quarterback, Brady Cook, really enjoyed taking time out of the busy trip to invest into the community and visit with patients and their families.
“A lot of this week and the Cotton Bowl experience is for us and about us,” Cook said. “I think this breaks it up and gives us a chance to see the community, offer a little bit of service, and give a little bit of our time.”
Each patient received a Cotton Bowl Classic goodie bag filled with items representing the big game which included gifts, such as a poster and a Mizzou Tiger pillow pet, provided by Goodyear and Dr. Pepper.

After the hospital visit, the Tigers headed to AT&T Stadium to put their Thorough Thursday practice in the books. Following a spirited contest of kickball between the offensive and defensive units, Mizzou zeroed in on the details of the game plan for Ohio State.

“I think you find comfort in the routine, and you find comfort knowing you are prepared, and what you’ve done each week to prepare,” Drinkwitz said. “You try to mimic it as close to a game week as possible and that’s what today was all about for us.”

Missouri’s defense allowed less than 350 yards per game on average this season, yielding just over 22 points per game with 18 takeaways. The defense will look to be stout against a Buckeyes’ offense that scores nearly 33 points and gains more than 425 yards per game. 

“It all starts with stopping the run, reacting to what they are trying to do with the quarterback, and then trying to limit their playmakers,” Drinkwitz said. “You’re not going to be able to eliminate them, but they have plenty of wide-receiver playmakers, and we have to limit their explosiveness.”

Approaching 48 hours to kickoff, the Tigers will emphasize recovery and rest prior to gametime.

“We want to focus on execution, focus on the details, and then get back and rested up to get our cold tub rehabs and hydration to play at full speed,” Drinkwitz said.  “Fresh horses run fast races.”

Following practice, Defensive Coordinator Blake Baker and selected Tigers met with the media.  

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