When/where: 8 p.m. on Wednesday at NRG Stadium in Houston
TV/radio: ESPN; KMBZ (98.1 FM)
The series: Texas leads 17-6
Last meeting: Missouri 17-5 (2011 at Memorial Stadium, Columbia)
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The line: Missouri by 2 1/2
What’s at stake
Conference pride for starters, against its former Big 12 brethren. It’s also been almost five years since former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds told the Austin American-Statesman, “Our bad years are not that bad. Take a school like Missouri. Our bad years are better than their good years.” You can bet that reference been trotted plenty of times since the bowl pairing was announced and Mizzou love to provide hard evidence that disputes that assessment.
Cheers if ...
Missouri’s offense keeps chugging along. The Tigers are without offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, who became the Central Florida head coach after Scott Frost left for his alma mater Nebraska. Texas has allowed more than 30 points only once since a shocking season-opening 51-41 loss versus Maryland, giving up 34 points during a double-overtime win against Kansas State. Meanwhile, the Tigers have scored at least 45 points in every game during the current six-game win streak led by junior Lee’s Summit graduate Drew Lock, who set an SEC record with a nation-leading 43 touchdown passes this season.
Jeers if ...
The Tigers’ revamped secondary struggles. After Mizzou’s first seven opponents all had more touchdowns thrown than interceptions, the secondary allowed on three touchdowns against seven interceptions during wins against Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. But Arkansas senior Austin Allen carved up MU’s secondary for a 10.8-yard average and two touchdowns (with one pick) during the regular-season finale.
Three things about Texas
1 The Longhorns are missing eight players due to injury, suspension or the decision to skip the bowl game in preparation for the NFL Draft.
2 Sophomore Shane Buechele (131 of 199 for 1,350 yards wth 6 touchdown and 4 interceptions) and freshman Sam Ehlinger (147 of 260 for 1,803 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions) both are expected to play for first-year coach Tom Herman’s offense.
3 Texas also is returning to a bowl game for the first time since the 2014 season, but it’s been five years since the Longhorns won a bowl game. UT lost to Arkansas in the 2014 Texas Bowl and Oregon in the 2013 Alamo Bowl during its last two postseason appearances.
Missouri’s defensive line vs. Texas offensive line: Led by senior Marcell Frazier and junior Terry Beckner Jr., who each have a team-high seven sacks this season, the Tigers started to hit their stride after senior A.J. Logan returned from a six-game suspension. The Longhorns will be without tackle Connor Williams, who declared early for the 2018 NFL Draft.