Looking back: Missouri football gets set for Texas Bowl

6 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago Monday, December 25 2017 Dec 25, 2017 Monday, December 25, 2017 6:21:00 PM CST December 25, 2017 in Sports
By: Ben Burke, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter

HOUSTON - The Missouri football team took an unlikely path to its first bowl game since the 2014-2015 season.

The Tigers will take on Texas in the Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.

Making a bowl didn't look likely for Mizzou halfway through the season. The Tigers started the year 1-5, with their only win coming in a back-and-forth encounter against in-state rival Missouri State, an FCS team.

Three of those five losses were by at least 25 points, and the only one of those that was actually a game was Missouri's six-point loss to Kentucky in early October. 

Right when it seemed like the Tigers would have to make some coaching changes in the off-season, things started to turn around. Mizzou won all of its last six games, beating conference and non-conference opponents by an average of 30 points per game. 

Two of those wins were the last games two Southeastern Conference head coaches coached with their respective programs. Tennessee fired Butch Jones a day after Missouri's 50-17 win over the Volunteers, and Arkansas fired Bret Bielema just minutes after his Razorbacks fell to Mizzou, 48-45. 

Missouri's six game winning streak, which the Tigers will take into Wednesday's game, helped them join Ole Miss as the only two schools in the history of the SEC to make a bowl after starting the season 1-5.

Two Tigers made their own history as well. Junior quarterback Drew Lock broke the SEC single season passing touchdown record, and freshman tight end Albert Okwuegbunam broke Jeremy Maclin's school freshman record for most receiving touchdowns in a single season. 

Lock takes 42 passing touchdowns, and Okwuegbunam takes 11 receiving touchdowns into Wednesday's game.

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