Ohio State has spent that time both preparing for Missouri and dealing with a variety of personnel changes. Several notable Buckeyes starters entered the transfer portal since the November 26 game against Michigan (including quarterback Kyle McCord, running back Chip Trayanum and receiver Julian Fleming), while others like running back Miyan Williams declared for the 2024 NFL Draft.
To fill these voids, Ohio State will be relying on its pipeline of underclassmen, including sophomore quarterback Devin Brown and receivers Carnell Tate and Brandon Inniss. The future of Buckeyes football will be on display on Friday against the Tigers.
Meanwhile, Missouri has been dreaming about ending their phenomenal season on the right note. The Tigers enter the Cotton Bowl with a 10-2 record, which is not only their first winning season since 2018, but their first year with ten or more wins in almost a decade.
Eli Drinkwitz is 0-2 in bowl games as Missouri’s head coach, having fallen in each of the last two years to the Army Black Knights in the 2021 Armed Forces Bowl and against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at the 2022 Gasparilla Bowl. Chances are he will not get a better chance to earn his first post-season victory than facing an inexperienced Ohio State teamed armed with his red-hot Missouri squad.
Kick-off between the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes and No. 9 Missouri Tigers is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday, December 29. Coverage of the game will air live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on ESPN.