Cotton Bowl : A tale of two turnover happy defenses

Cotton Bowl : A tale of two turnover happy defenses

Credit: Getty Images

Missouri CB E.J. Gaines (left) returns a fumble for touchdown against Auburn on Dec. 7. Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert returns an interception for a touchdown against Kansas on Nov. 9

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by Dan Greenwald / Missouri Football

KMOV.com

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 5:28 PM

(Missouri Football App) – Mizzou and Oklahoma State share more in common than high scoring spread offenses.

Both the Cowboys and Tigers can claim opportunistic defenses that feast on mistakes of opposing offenses and record turnovers.  Missouri’s defense came away with 29 takeaways this season, Oklahoma State recorded 30; The Pokes and Tigers rank #4 and #5 in turnover margin respectfully.

“You have two teams in the top 10 in the nation in turnover margin. That has a lot to do with why we’re both here. That (turnover margin) has been hugely important in their games. They’re really, really good and we understand that,” Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said.

Oklahoma State’s turnover machine is CB Justin Gilbert. Gilbert has intercepted opposing quarterbacks six times this season and will be a difficult challenge for QB James Franklin and the Missouri receivers.

Mizzou’s chief thief has been senior CB E.J. Gaines, who has snagged 4 interceptions.  It is safe assumption that the Pokes will try to throw away from Gaines as often as possible, but his presence is often enough to allow the Missouri secondary to play at a high level.

Does that mean fans should expect a sloppy turnover filled contest Friday?

The short answer is no. Both defenses gives up their fair share of yards and force takeaways in key situations. A shootout with big numbers on the offensive side of the ball seems like the more likely scenario.

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