Missouri football coaches love playing in Texas.
In fact, Dave Yost, Missouri’s recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach, said he wished the football team could play one game in Texas every year. This year the Tigers have three. Missouri beat Texas Tech 38-21 on Oct. 7, in Lubbock, Texas, then lost to Texas A&M 25-19 on Oct. 14, in College Station, Texas, and Missouri plays Oregon State in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas on Dec. 29.
“We like playing down there,” Yost said. “It is constant publicity (for us) from El Paso to San Antonio to Houston to Dallas.”
Gary Pinkel, Missouri’s head coach, said playing in Texas for a third time is a plus for recruiting.
“The state of Texas, other than Missouri, is a priority,” Pinkel said.
Five of Missouri’s eight assistant coaches recruit in Texas.
There are 25 Texans on the Tigers’ roster including quarterback Chase Daniel, tailback Earl Goldsmith, wide receivers Brad Ekwerekwu, Jared Perry and Danario Alexander and lineman Mike Cook on offense. Safety David Overstreet, cornerback Domonique Johnson, linebacker Marcus Bacon, and defensive linemen Brian Smith, Ziggy Hood and Stryker Sulak are a few of the Texas players on defense.
According to powermizzou.com, a Web site that specializes in recruiting, four of Missouri’s 23 high school commitments are from Texas. The Lone Star State is tied for the second most commitments with California. Missouri leads with 10 in-state commitments.
Playing in the Sun Bowl has two major advantages than earlier Missouri bowl experiences. First, it’s a different location than the Independence Bowl and second, it’s a nationally televised game on a major network.
Missouri traveled to Shreveport, La., in 2003 and 2005 for the Independence Bowl, but the team has no players from Louisiana.
“Not that we don’t like going to Shreveport, but we don’t really recruit in Shreveport a lot, whereas Texas is a big, big recruiting thing for us,” Yost said.
Dominique Hamilton, one of Missouri’s commitments from Texas, is from El Paso.
Besides looking good to Texas recruits, the Tigers will also have the chance to impress a national TV audience. The game is on CBS at 1 p.m. Eight of Missouri’s 12 games were on TV during the regular season, but most of them were shown regionally.
“I think it’s great being on CBS. It’s going to be well received,” Yost said. “It’s a Friday before New Year’s weekend, so a lot of people will be watching it.”
The Sun Bowl is the only game on Dec. 29 that is on an over-the-air station. The game is Missouri’s first on CBS since Nov. 13, 1982, when the Tigers lost to Oklahoma 41-14.
BOWL SCHEDULE: The Tigers resume practicing today in preparation for the Sun Bowl. The team has 10 practices in Columbia before leaving for El Paso on Dec. 23. The team will not practice between Dec. 11 through the 14 because of final exams. Once in El Paso, the team will practice on the Dec. 24, 26 and 27, said Trent Hilburn, spokesman for the Sun Bowl.