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OSU Football: Pre-Cotton Bowl Notebook

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, his top assistants and a handful of players met with the media on Thursday to look at the upcoming Cotton Bowl (Jan. 3 at AT&T Stadium) and the Cowboys' opponent, Missouri.

• Gundy said he forgets Missouri, Texas A&M (and sometimes even Colorado) aren't a part of the Big 12 anymore.

• He added that he doesn't view Missouri as an "SEC" school because it's only been two years since they joined. Gundy didn't shy away from stirring the SEC pot either. "I think the success they've had early in the SEC surprised most people across the country. The talk then was that Missouri and A&M were getting into a league that they weren't prepared for," Gundy said. "It's interesting that they made the change of going into the SEC and having tremendous success right away. It certainly makes us feel good about ourselves being in the Big 12."

• On the matchup the Tigers present, Gundy likened this team to the Gary Pinkel-coached Tiger teams a few years ago in the Big 12. He said Mizzou looks similar to the Cowboys.

• Gundy wasn't posed any questions about the Texas coaching vacancy or his candidacy for that position as reporters were informed before the press conference not to bring up that topic and that Gundy wouldn't answer any related questions.

• Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich used the phrase "very well" to describe several different facets of Missouri's defense. Understanding the defense, mixing up defensive coverages, understanding schemes and their safeties' understanding of the game all got a "very well" tag from Yurcich.

• Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer emphasized the importance of going out on top for the seniors on this Cowboy team. "We keep preaching to them that they have to finish strong. It's a big deal for the younger guys too, but we really want these seniors to go out with a win. That's a special deal for them, and I really want to win for those guys."

• Parker Graham, one of those seniors, said being a senior has finally sunk in with him. "Playing the last game in Boone Pickens Stadium was a lot of fun. Obviously it didn't go our way. We're very aware that this is going to be our last time putting on the pads and putting on the orange and black for Oklahoma State."

• Senior linebacker Caleb Lavey said a Cotton Bowl win would be the perfect way to get the bad taste of Bedlam out of his mouth. "We want to end the season with a win, especially against an SEC team. (Missouri) nearly went to the national championship. Being able to wrap it up in Dallas with a win would be the perfect way to end my career."

• Quarterback Clint Chelf, also a senior, reflected on the season going the way he wanted it to, "In the beginning I would have said no. But looking at the way we finished and ended up playing, that's all you can ask for. I tried to do the best I could. Going out with this group of seniors, this is the way that I would have wanted to go out. Have a fun bowl, enjoy it and relax. Take it all in. There have been ups and downs, and it's like that for everybody in every season, but I'm proud of the way we finished."

• Transfer Tyler Patmon, who played three years at Kansas, will be playing in his first bowl game. He said he's enjoyed his year at OSU. "The guys in the secondary have treated me like family. It feels like I've been here for four years instead of one. That's greatly appreciated."

• Many Cowboys hail from the Dallas area, so playing in Arlington feels like going home. "Last year at the Heart of Dallas Bowl, I had to find 26 tickets so this year with this bowl being a little bit bigger, I'll probably have to find more than that," said senior linebacker Shaun Lewis. Senior receiver Charlie Moore said he's excited to be playing an hour and a half away from his hometown, "I have a lot of family and friends coming out to this game. Playing in Texas in one of the greatest stadiums in the world and playing a good Missouri team is awesome. I'm very excited."

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