The Sun Bowl pairs one of the surprises of the first half of the season with the surprises of the second half.
Missouri started 7-1, without record-setting quarterback Brad Smith, to clinch the Tigers' first back-to-back bowl appearance in eight seasons.
Sophomore Chase Daniel took the reins at quarterback and accumulated 3,590 yards of total offense.
But the Big 12 schedule was not kind to Missouri, which went on a 1-4 skid against conference opponents at midseason before a 42-17 win over rival Kansas to end the season.
As Missouri began to struggle, Oregon State began to find itself. The year didn't start promising for the Beavers, who missed bowl season in 2005 with a 5-6 record.
In the second game of the year, Boise State ran for 302 yards with five touchdowns from Ian Johnson in a 42-14 win over the Beavers.
But OSU regrouped for an unlikely upset of USC on Oct. 28 to end the Trojans' 27-game Pac-10 win streak. The Beavers ended the season on a 4-1 run, including victories over bowl-bound Arizona State, Oregon and Hawaii.
Sun Bowl: No. 24 Oregon State (9-4) vs. Missouri (8-4)
When: Dec. 29, 2 p.m. ET Where: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas TV info: CBS (Craig Bolerjack, Steve Beuerlein, Sam Ryan)
No. 24 Oregon State Beavers Conference: Pac-10 Record: 9-4, 6-3 Coach:Mike Riley (37-34 in six seasons at Oregon State) Passing leader:Matt Moore (198 of 324, 2,666 yards, 14 TDs, six INTs) Rushing leaders:Yvenson Bernard (273 carries, 1,210 yards, 12 TDs) Receiving leaders:Sammie Stroughter (66 receptions, 1,206 yards, four TDs) Defensive leaders:Derrick Doggett (80 tackles, 14 TFL, five sacks, three INTs)
Missouri Tigers Conference: Big 12 Record: 8-4, 4-4 Coach:Gary Pinkel (37-34 in six seasons at Missouri) Passing leader:Chase Daniel (271 of 423, 3,197 yards, 26 TDs, 10 INTs) Rushing leader:Tony Temple (173 carries, 869 yards, five TDs) Receiving leaders:William Franklin (48 receptions, 829 yards, six TDs) Defensive leaders:Marcus Bacon (103 tackles, 5.5 TFL, three sacks, two INTs, five forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered)
Oregon State running game vs. Missouri run defense: The Tigers' rush defense fell apart in the last half of the season against the meat of the Big 12 schedule. After allowing more than 100 yards only once in the first six games, they allowed teams to run for 150 yards in each of the last six games. Two of those teams ran for more than 200 yards. Oregon State's Yvenson Bernard is one of the more
productive backs in the country. He has run for more than 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns in the last two seasons. Edge: Oregon State.
Oregon State passing game vs. Missouri pass defense: Oregon State quarterback Matt Moore has gone from a maligned quarterback a year ago to a solid caretaker of the ball. The
senior, who threw 19 interceptions last year, has not thrown a pick since Oct. 21. He has thrown eight touchdown passes in the same span. Sammie Stroughter was the only Pac-10 player to break the
1,000-yard barrier with 1,206 receiving yards. The Tigers lost a key cog in the pass defense with a season-ending hip injury to defensive end Brian Smith, who had 7½ sacks in the first eight
games. Edge: Oregon State.
Missouri running game vs. Oregon State run defense: The Beavers' run defense is in the top 20 nationally, even after struggling against Boise State's Ian Johnson earlier this year. Tony Temple leads the Tigers with 869 rushing yards, followed by the quarterback Chase Daniel at 393 yards. Oregon State has depth in the front seven to go with experience. Edge: Oregon State.
Missouri passing game vs. Oregon State pass defense: Missouri's 6-0 start was fueled by Chase Daniel and the spread attack, but that stalled down the stretch. With tight ends Chase Coffman and Martin Rucker, the Tigers can get creative with the offense. Daniel will have to face the Beavers' greatest strength, the pass defense. Oregon State is fourth in the country with 44 sacks. They also have 17 interceptions - five from safety Sabby Piscitelli. Edge: Oregon State.
Oregon State coaches vs. Missouri coaches: Both coaches earned a little more respect this year. Oregon State's Mike Riley has a chance to double his win total from last season with a victory in El Paso. The defense has become an asset, while the offense is able to succeed either running or passing. Gary Pinkel has capitalized on the strengths of
his offense with Daniel and the two tight ends. We'll give the edge to the coach who beat USC this year. Edge: Oregon State.
Oregon State will win if: The pass rush continues to create havoc. Chase Daniel can be forced into mistakes, and Oregon State can capitalize. If that
happens, the offense would need only a steady day from Matt Moore and Yvenson Bernard
Missouri will win if: It can continue the progress made in the 42-17 win over Kansas in the last game of the season. Daniel passed for 356 yards and four touchdowns to snap a three-game
losing streak. Daniel needs to limit mistakes and the line needs to protect him from the Beavers' pass rush.
Injury situation: Oregon State left guard Jeremy Perry will miss the bowl game with a sprained knee he suffered against Hawaii. … Linebacker Alan Darlin (shoulder) and defensive
end Joe Lemma (ankle) should return from injuries that kept them out of the Hawaii game. … Wide receiver Anthony Wheat-Brown will return after a three-game suspension.
Worth noting: Purple, black and white ribbons will be painted on the 25-yard lines to honor former Northwestern coach Randy Walker, who coached his final game at last year's Sun Bowl. Walker died of a heart attack on June 29. … Missouri is making back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time since 1997-98. ... More than 20 Missouri players were held out of practice Tuesday with cold and flu symptoms.
Line: Oregon State by 3½
Fox's pick: Oregon State 28, Missouri 21. Other Rivals.com Expert picks: Olin Buchanan, national college football writer: Oregon State 27, Missouri 23. Bobby Burton, editor-in-chief: Oregon State 38, Missouri 17. Steve Megargee, national college football writer: Oregon State 31, Missouri 24. Bill King, RivalsRadio host: Oregon State 28, Missouri 21. Make your picks on Rivals.com Bowl Pick 'Em.