All-America running back Cody Schrader rushed for 128 yards and bulled into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown to open the fourth quarter with Missouri’s first score, and the ninth-ranked Tigers capped an 11-win season with a 14-3 win over No. 7 Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night.
In a game with almost as many total punts (16) as points, the Tigers (11-2) suddenly scored touchdowns on consecutive drives after punting eight times before that. Brady Cook threw a 7-yard TD to Luther Burden III with 5:12 left in the game.
Ohio State (11-2), which was undefeated before losing its regular-season finale to Michigan, played without two-time All-America receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. The standout junior was on the sideline, but opted out of playing. He hasn’t announced yet if he will enter the NFL draft.
The Buckeyes were already without starting quarterback Kyle McCord, who left the program earlier this month to transfer to Syracuse. Devin Brown, who took over as the starter, left the game in the middle of the second quarter with an apparent left ankle injury. They finished with only 203 total yards.
After finishing 6-7 with bowl losses each of the past two years, Missouri wrapped up coach Eliah Drinkwitz’s fourth season by winning 11 games for the first time since 2014.
Missouri had only 120 total yards before the eight-play, 95-yard drive that ended with Schrader, the former NCAA Division II standout and walk-on, running through two defenders for his 14th TD — and 10th consecutive game with a score. Cook had a 15-yard run before a 50-yard pass to a wide-open Marquis Johnson.
The Tigers then went 91 yards in 13 plays, including Cook converting fourth-and-1 with a 2-yard plunge, for Burden’s score.
Brown appeared to get hurt when he was sacked on a third-down play late in the first quarter. He returned when the Buckeyes got the ball back, but true freshman Lincoln Kienholz took over midway through the second quarter and finished the game.
With McCord gone, Brown took over as the starter after not playing since Oct. 21, and was 4-of-6 passing for 20 yards while getting sacked three times. Kienholz was finished 6 of 17 for 86 yards and lost a fumble while being sacked with 3:13 left.
Ohio State’s only points came on Jayden Fielding’s 44-yard field goal with 3:12 left in the first quarter, and the Buckeyes punted their other six possessions before halftime. Fielding’s 48-yard attempt on the opening drive of the second half ricocheted high off the upright and back into the end zone. The Buckeyes never even reached the red zone on their 11 possessions (eight punts).
Missouri expects to have Cook back for his third season as its starting quarterback, along with top receiving target Luther Burden III. The Tigers open the 2024 season Aug. 31 at home against Murray State.
Ohio State will have another Brown, Lincoln Keinholz and five-star prospect Air Noland competing for the quarterback job in the spring. There is no certainty of who will be the starter when the Buckeyes play their 2024 opener at home against Akron.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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