The Texas Longhorns (6-6) are back in action on Wednesday night in Houston as they face the Missouri Tigers (7-5) in the Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl. Texas will be without several starters who have decided to declare for the NFL Draft and sit out of the Longhorns’ first bowl game since 2014. They will also be without running back Toneil Carter and wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey, who were suspended for violating team rules.
The HornSports staff give their predictions on how things will play out at NRG Stadium in the Big 12 vs. SEC matchup.
Missouri has a potent offense and Texas has a really good defense that will be missing DeShon Elliot, defensive tackle Chris Nelson and most likely linebacker Malik Jefferson. Conversely, Texas has a relatively lackluster offense while Missouri boasts a defense that has played better and better as the season progressed.
The Tigers are a slight favorite in this game (-1), but Tom Herman has been in the ears of his players since the end of the regular season. The program knows how important a bowl win would be on a variety of levels. A winning season would make all the difference to the fans, recruits and boosters. In my eyes, this is a must-win for Texas. which is why I think Buechele and the offense get the job done through the air and pull off the upset.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, Missouri 31
As Herman’s first season as coach of the Longhorns come to a close, eyes are on the Texas Bowl to see how this season draws to a close for the ‘Horns. Unfortunately, it might not end well as many players have declared for the draft (S DeShon Elliot, LT Connor Williams, CB Hilton Hill) and others have been benched due to violation of team rules (RB Toneil Carter, WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and TE Garrett Gray) have left Texas razor thin in positions they desperately need help in. All in all it may prove to be too much for Texas as they go against one of the nation’s hottest offenses in
Mizzou. I predict the Longhorns losing their third straight game to end the year.
Score Prediction: Missouri 35, Texas 17
The Longhorns have struggled to catch a break since their loss to Texas Tech the day after Thanksgiving. Connor Williams declared for the draft and will sit out the bowl game, Deshon Elliott did the same, Malik Jefferson was ruled doubtful with a toe injury, Chris Nelson dislocated his elbow, Lil Jordan Humphrey and Toneil Carter were suspended, and Chris Warren transferred. To say the Longhorns are not in a good spot heading into this game is putting it lightly.
Missouri can put up points in bunches. Drew Locke is legit and he has guys at receiver that can absolutely fly. Their defense improved the second half of the season, but much of that had to do with who they were playing. Texas has to find a way to protect Shane Buechele and put together quality drives. If Texas starts slow, Missouri could be up 3 touchdowns in a hurry.
I think the Longhorns will hang around for most the night. These players know they haven’t had the opportunity to play in a bowl game for some time, and they will play hard. Unfortunately, Missouri’s offense will just be too much to handle with what the Longhorns are missing on defense.
Score Prediction: Missouri 31, Texas 21
Given the amount of injuries and players electing to sit out of this matchup, I haven’t been feeling very optimistic about Texas’ chances since the bowl was announced.
There’s two ways you can look at this. Mizzou is a team with a high octane offense that got hot down the home stretch of the year and looks dangerous heading into this matchup or they are a team who feasted on subpar opponents and got some easy wins after struggling against teams with a pulse.
I can hear arguments either way on the Tigers from Columbia, but one thing I know for sure is that the Texas defense who will be down several guys like DeShon Elliott, Holton Hill, and likely Malik Jefferson will have their hands full slowing down Drew Lock and the Mizzou offense.
The Texas offense that has struggled mightily all year will have to score points for Texas to even have a shot in this one and for them to end the season on the positive side of the ledger, but all things considered I’m not sure they will be able to manage that.
I think the Tigers will come out on top down in Houston.
Score Prediction: Missouri 35, Texas 24