By Derek Brown
CNHI News Service
STILLWATER – The SEC has earned its name by defense. The Big 12 by offense. Oklahoma State and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich look to get through the Missouri defense Friday during the Cotton Bowl.
The Big 12 and SEC showdown is sure to be a game that will be eye-opening.
“We’re going to try to maintain balance,” Yurcich said. “We’re not going to go into a game saying we’re going to strictly run it or we’re going to strictly throw it. We’re going to try to complement ourselves and make sure to take what the defense is giving us.”
Clint Chelf and the entire Oklahoma State offense will need to be on their game to keep the chains moving.
“Their front is a good bunch. They are very, very talented,” Yurcich said. “It’s not like you can just sit there and key on one guy. They have several guys that give them depth, so they’re fresh. They all get up field with athletisicm and have heavy hands and quick feet.”
Missouri lost to Auburn 59-42 in the SEC title game. Things that Auburn did and the Cowboys are capable of doing are comparable.
“You always try to take certain things away from each game that you watch,” Yurcich said. “At the same time you have to do what you do. We can’t morph into just a totally different offense. There’s some things that Auburn does that we do and there some things that they do totally different than what we do.”
OSU and Missouri have some things in common. The two teams both lost their final games of the year in what would have given each team a conference title. Both teams come into the Cotton Bowl at 10-2.
The Tigers’ defense is something that Yurcich and the Cowboys will aim at dissecting.
“I think they mix up their coverages very well. They’re able to disguise what they do,” Yurcich said. “They give you a variety of different looks but disguise those things as well. I think they understand their schemes very well.”
For most of the Cowboys, the experience of being in a bowl game is nothing new. For Yurcich however, he is in uncharted waters.
“I can’t wait. I love everything about it,” Yurcich said. “The preparation that we’re able to have and being able to practice for it and being able to go down to Dallas. It’s going to be a fun event.”
The extended time between the Bedlam game and the Cotton Bowl gives Oklahoma State a chance to fine tune as a whole.
“You’re able to get back to fundamentals and really look at the basics,” Yurcich said. “The time allows you to get some younger guys some extra reps in practice.”
The Cowboys were disappointed in losing the Bedlam matchup the last time that they were on the turf. But making a bowl game allows Oklahoma State to end the season on a strong note.
“I think our players really understand that this is a great opportunity for us to play a very good opponent on a national stage. I think our players are really looking forward to the challenge,” Yurcich said.
The Cowboys want to win the game for the program as a whole. But the staff wants to send the seniors off with a positive feeling.
“We want to win this one for our seniors for as much as they’ve given us everything,” Yurcich said. “It’s important to send them away on a winning note for all they’ve done for our program.”
– Derek Brown is a sports writer for the Stillwater NewsPress.