The Longhorns started the game with the ball and didn’t take long to find the end zone. Quarterback Shane Buechele quickly drove his team downfield and found a wide-open Daniel Young down the sideline who scampered into the end zone from 22-yards out.
Missouri’s first possession would be a sign of things to come in the first half: it was a quick possession that ended in zero points. The Tigers struggles in the first half to do anything offensively. The lone bright spot was quarterback Drew Lock. Lock threw for 91-yards with no interceptions, however no touchdowns either.
Texas continued to pour the points on as Buechele’s back up Sam Ehlinger would also throw for a score, as Ehlinger found John Burt on a 7-yard connection. The Longhorns defense started to turn the Tigers offense over in the second quarter.
Defensive back PJ Locke forced a fumble that was picked up and returned for a 38-yard touchdown by Anthony Wheeler. On the next possession, Missouri’s running back Ish Witter coughed it up, and it was recovered by Breckyn Hager of the Longhorns.
The first half ended with a score of 21-7. The Longhorns were in complete control.
Longhorns punter Michael Dickson was a huge part of the Longhorns success in the first half as he was able to flip the field each time for the Longhorns defense. Dickson was able to punt seven of his first-half punts inside the 20-yard line.
The second half started with a bang for the Tigers, as Lock completed a 79-yard bomb to receiver Johnathan Johnson for a Missouri touchdown. The Tigers tried for the 2-point conversion, but it failed.
The Tigers defense also tightened up in the third quarter as well. Sam Ehlinger was on the run a lot of the time, and there was little to zero running room for the Longhorns backs. It seemed at halftime, the message Missouri Head Coach Barry Odom gave to his offense was to have Drew Lock throw more passes, and he did. After only having 91 yards going into halftime, Lock ended the third quarter with 217 yards.
In the end for the Tigers, it was just too much Longhorn offense and too much Michael Dickson. Dickson was the MVP on the night for the Longhorns, and how could a punter be the MVP in a game where over 30 points were put up? Well, Missouri’s average starting field position was their own 16-yard line. Dickson dominated on special teams.
A late Drew Lock interception would wrap this one up and put a bow on top, as after the interception, Texas’s Armanti Foreman found the end zone one last time for his college career and extend his teams lead to 33-16. That would be your final score, and the Texas Longhorns are your 2017 Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl Champions.
For the Longhorns, Sam Ehlinger had a solid game. Ehlinger went 11-15 for 112 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, PJ Locke and Gary Johnson led the way with key plays in the ballgame.
Missouri did not have many bright spots. Drew Lock was arguably the most productive player for the Tigers. 18-34 269 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Defensively, Cale Garrett led the way with 13 total tackles and 1 tackle for loss.
After the game, Longhorns Head Coach Tom Herman was ecstatic. When asked if this was his biggest win ever in this city, Herman replied, “It’s definitely up there. When I was here with Houston, that Louisville win was really big as well. But this win might just be a little sweeter”. Herman wasn’t shocked about his punter being the MVP. “Mike has been key for us all year long. We honestly expect that from him. Whoever drafts him will be very lucky”.
The Longhorns played really well tonight, and with Tom Herman having the third best recruiting class in the country, this team is set for the years to come. Missouri has their quarterback coming back but is losing 18 seniors. A lot of the seniors being key to this team. It will be interesting to see how the loss of OC Josh Heupel effects them next season