The Gophers will officially be playing in their first New Years Day Bowl game since the 1962 Rose Bowl. The Gophers have been invited to the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl and will play Missouri out of the SEC.The Game will kick off at Noon central time and will air nationally on ABC.
The Gophers can thank the College Football Committee for ranking Mississippi State #7, leapfrogging them over #8 Michigan State in their final rankings. That meant that the Bulldogs and not the Spartans would go to the Orange Bowl to play the ACC runner-up Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, and that due to the quirky Bowl assignment rules that were put in place for the first time this season, the Big Ten would in fact have a spot in the BWW Citrus Bowl and not the ACC.
Missouri went 10-3 this season and won the SEC East. The Tigers lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship game last Saturday by a score of 42-13. The Tigers went 7-1 in the SEC losing only to Georgia. However for Gopher fans, Missouri's most notable loss this season came way back on September 20th when they lost at home 31-27 to Indiana. Yes 1-7 in the Big Ten Indiana.
Overall, the Gophers have to be thrilled. They got to go to the Bowl they wanted, and will have a favorable match-up. Missouri is ranked 96th overall in the country in passing yards, 62nd in rushing yards, 79th in points for, and 26th in points against. Missouri is led by quarterback Matty Mauk who has thrown for 2,551 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. They have two quality running backs in Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy who have run for 935 and 698 yards respectively. Bud Sasser is their leading receiver with 70 catches for 935 yards and 10 touchdowns.
On defense, the Tigers are led by defensive lineman Shane Ray who was named a finalist for the Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end. He also was thrown out of the SEC Championship game against Alabama for targeting. However, since the penalty was committed in the second quarter of the game, he will be allowed to play fully against the Gophers.
Congrats to the Gophers for a great season and a great bowl game. We here at The Daily Gopher will have full Citrus Bowl coverage from now until after the game!