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Press Release

2017 ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL TEAM LUNCHEON PRESS CONFERENCE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 26, 2017

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN

Opening Statement:

“Merry Christmas. Hope everybody enjoyed their couple days with friends and family. Nothing really in terms of an opening statement other than we are excited to be here, excited to be back in the City of Houston, excited to be able to practice at U of H (University of Houston). If you haven’t been to that new indoor facility, it is as good, if not better, than anywhere the in country. That thing is off the charts amazing, and hats off to Hunter Yurachek and Major Applewhite for finishing that thing really, really well. I mean, it is impressive. We’ve had a lot of friendly faces, a lot of familiarity. We’ve got a lot of guys on our team from the Houston area, so it was nice for them to get done with practice yesterday and be able to spend the afternoon and evening with their families and we are excited about the game tomorrow. Excited to be representing the University of Texas in a bowl game once again, and we’re going to have our hands full, though, with a really, really good Missouri team.”

Can you talk about, you’ve got seven of the Top-10 recruits in Texas. Usually if coaches go to a bowl game, this is part of the recruiting process, and you’ve already got a lot of that done, how much of a jump start does this give the program?

“Yeah, we needed to. This class had to be good and it’s not just good, it’s great. You know, not only did we sign that many of the top players in the State of Texas, but a lot of these guys are coming in in January. We’ll have nine early enrollees in whatever, two and a half weeks, and so to be able to have that extra six months on the rest of the freshmen class, really gets them hopefully prepared to play for us because we’re going to need a bunch of these guys to do that. Again, it was monumentally important that we keep the best players in the State of Texas at the University of Texas and we feel like we did that at an unprecedented rate, depending on which rankings you look at. But the thing I’m most proud of with that class is the – again, I keep stealing the line from Chris Petersen, “Our kind of guys.” These are – I didn’t have to worry about talking about depth charts and playing time and you know, any of the superfluous things that sometimes can get in the way of recruiting and really tarnish a kid’s competitive spirit. These are kids that all want to come in and compete, and that’s exciting.”

A lot of this, the bowl games, are which team really wants to be there. What indicators were you looking for from your team as the team that really wants to be there and what step do you want this team to take in this game heading into the spring?

“I mean, haven’t been in a bowl game in three years, so if that doesn’t excite you as a player, then you probably need to quit football and go do something else. Go join a club or something like that. But our guys, we have had some really, really spirited practices and that’s been really fun to watch, especially some of these young guys. We’ve gotten better and I think we’ve had 17 practices, something like that. You know, will it manifest itself in the game tomorrow? I hope. But if it doesn’t, it doesn’t mean we didn’t get better because we did. This is a team, if you’re an older guy on this team, you’ve had somewhere around 35 less practices than your opponents. Your opponents in Norman, Oklahoma or Stillwater (Oklahoma) or Lubbock (Texas) or whatever, you know, you’ve missed that, and that is crucial for the development of the student athlete. I’m just excited that we had that opportunity. And then, you know, I think winning this game will be important for us in terms of momentum. It’s not — you know, it’s not life or death, but we sure as heck could use this to springboard us into the off-season for 2018.”

Do you expect LB Malik Jefferson to play?

“No, but I’m hoping for a miracle.”

Big picture. Here you are, here at Houston, sitting at 6-6 in the Texas Bowl. If I could give you a few mulligans, as many as you wanted, what are some of the things you would have done differently this year?

“I don’t know. You know, I don’t think — obviously I thought about it there for a good few seconds but I think the timing for evaluation is after the season. You know, we’ve still got a game to play. You’re always evaluating schematically, you know, what can you do, what can’t you do. You know, how do you put your players in the best position to win. So that is ongoing. But I don’t know that you – I don’t know that I could give you a concrete answer without really diving into, you know, that kind of self-evaluation that goes on in an off-season.”

Since the Texas Tech game, you’ve been dealt a lot of blows: injuries, suspensions, going pro. How do you think the team has handled that and kind of responded to the challenge of getting through each time something like that’s happened?

“Great. We don’t – we don’t blink. These are guys that are still here and still playing. They are tough dudes, you know, and they just — you know, it’s just another day at the office, so to speak. But you know, I mean, it’s real. I mean, I feel for Tim Beck and our offensive staff. We have one tight end, one scholarship tight end that’s not being red-shirted. We have, you know, two running backs that have played in a game. So you’re really limited in terms of what you can do from a personnel standpoint and then the plays that you can call and then God forbid, a guy gets hurt and it’s like, ‘Okay, now we go to Plan B here real quick.’ But our team has responded at every turn and I’m proud of them for that.”

You’ve been with these guys for nearly a year now. What can you say you’ve learned about this team, some of the makeup, just the players, what different things have you been able to glean in about a year’s time?

“That three straight losing seasons takes its toll on kids, really does. It’s difficult for them, especially when you’ve dealt with – when you deal with adversity, it can be a ‘Here We Go Again Syndrome.’ So that has been an ongoing challenge of, you know, reestablishing the right way to handle adversity and the right way to compete and the right way to go about our daily business. But for the most part, I’ve learned, also, that these guys are hungry for that and that they want to be great and that they want to compete. And so — but it’s been a challenge to reprogram a lot of these guys.”

The decision to start QB Shane Buechele tomorrow, was there one main factor in that, and does that give him a leg up on starting position for next year or will it be a clean slate for all four?

“Definitely a clean slate. Neither of these quarterbacks have done anything so egregious that you would say that a guy is behind the other one, but neither of them have done anything really to take the bull by the horns. I think the decision to start Shane (Buechele) is just, you know, we didn’t play well at that position in the last game and probably, to answer your question, maybe one of the things to do different, probably should have played Shane a little bit more in that game. And so, you know, he hasn’t done a whole lot to lose our trust, nor has Sam (Ehlinger). So I don’t know that it’s – I guess it is externally, when you guys look, I mean, who takes the first snap. Great. It’s who takes the last snap and who is – because Sam’s going to play. So we’ll figure out who is playing better and who is in a rhythm and who is seeing the defense better and playing the game better and you know, ride that guy for as long as we can.”

You said that this team has gotten better during bowl practices. What do you want to see on the field, because you said even if you don’t win, it doesn’t mean you haven’t gotten better. What do you want to see tomorrow in the game? Are you going to be playing more guys that haven’t gotten as many reps during the season?

“No, I don’t think you’ll see any new faces out there. I think again, as long as we’re playing hard, and playing physical; we had a reaffirmation of – we got re-acquainted with a quote that’s around our building in a bunch of different spots, which is, ‘The pride and winning tradition of the Texas Longhorns will not be entrusted to the weak nor the timid.’ You can’t play timid. If we go out and we play with our hair on fire, figuratively, of course; if we play with our hair on fire and we’re flying around and we’re hitting people and we’re playing aggressively, then I think, one, hopefully the result will bare that, will be positive based on that level of play. But you know, that will be key for me in how we handle adversity. I mean, this is a really good Missouri team; one that they are averaging 52 points a game in the last six games, on a six-game win streak. They finished 13th in the country in tackles for loss and  top 25 in sacks on defense, too. So there’s going to be some adversity in this game and how we respond to it I think will be a big key for, you know, to judge our development.”

How do some of the absences affect matchups for this game?

“Not good. You know, when you lose your starting safety and starting corner for a team and a quarterback that led the country in touchdown passes, you know, that’s – we’re going to have our hands full on defense and then offensively, the strength of their team is their front defensively, and we’ve got to grow up in a hurry there. I feel good about where we’re at from a personnel standpoint. I mean, Derek Kerstetter is still a true freshman, but he got better over the bowl preparation. Elijah Rodriguez will start at left tackle and he’s had a really good session of practices. I feel as good about that group as I have all season. Now we’ve got to go do it.”

Specifically with Missouri QB Drew Lock, when you watch film, what do you see?

“Touchdowns (Laughter). I see a guy that is comfortable in the offense. He’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s getting the ball out of his hands quickly and accurately. But I also see guys, supporting cast, that are making plays for him, too. That is a very, very talented receiving core that they have and obviously you’ve got to get the ball to him and he does a great job of that, but they are also helping him out quite a bit, too.”

Is the plan still to run DB P.J. Locke III in DB DeShon Elliott’s safety spot, and how has he looked in practices?

“Correct. P.J. (Locke III) will play the boundary safety and Antwuan (Davis) will stay at nickel. P.J.’s looked great especially as we started to install the game plan, if you will, for Missouri early. Early in bowl prep, it’s a whole lot of just scrimmaging and not worrying about who you’re playing, because you get worn down if you are running the same thing over and over and over again. But P.J.’s looked great. I’m excited to see – I mean, he’s a captain. We have been – you think about just from a leadership standpoint, we’ve had one captain playing every game and that’s proved forward, I believe, and we’ve got five of them. Andrew Beck hasn’t played all year. P.J. was out significant time. Connor (Williams) obviously missed a ton of time. Naashon’s (Hughes) actually, probably I think he’s played in every game. But that’s been a leadership void, too, that it’s been nice to have him back.”

 

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI HEAD COACH BARRY ODOM

Opening Statement:

“Good morning. Thank you all for being here today and covering our football team and our football program and our great university. It’s been such an unbelievable week for us in the City of Houston and you know, a lot of – many, many thanks to all the folks, the great hospitality. We’ve had a number of kids from Texas on our roster and from the greater Houston area, and it’s great for them to be home and for us, continuing to build our program. The recruiting emphasis in the State of Texas will be a large part of our footprint moving forward. So for many, many reasons, it was great to be in the City of Houston and in Texas. The bowl game, you really look at the Academy Sports + Outdoors (Texas) Bowl, all of the different things that they have provided for our team and the experiences that they have provided this week for all of our young men and the entire travel party; so grateful and thankful for them. I know it’s a 365-day job for that organization and for them to put on the work and the tireless hours and all of the work that they have put into it for our kids and our student athletes, to have an experience that they will carry with them for the rest of their life, I am forever grateful for all the work that they put into it. The volunteers that over the Christmas holiday and holiday season, that they were away from their families to help make this the experience that it’s been. So thankful for that. And you know, congratulations to Coach (Tom) Herman and his staff and team on being here. Tremendous opportunity and challenge for our football team to match up against a really good football team. Very well-coached, as you start looking at the video when we did after the announcement, should be a great game tomorrow night. We are locked in as a football team and a program. In our small world, it’s Friday, Friday around 11:30. So we’ll get locked into that. We’ll have a walk-through and position meetings as soon as the luncheon is over, get to go to the stadium and have a chance to do a walk-through there which will be great for our guys and then we are into a normal Friday night routine for us. I’m proud of our football team. My staff and the group of guys, 18 seniors that we’ve got, I’m going to address some of the same things in here as I do next door. So if you go to the luncheon, you’ll be bored with my comments. But I believe with great conviction that I’ve got the best job in the world and the reason I have that is because of my team and my football players and the student athletes that we’ve got. I’m thankful for their efforts and all the things that they have done. We’ve learned a number of great life lessons this year together and they have shown great resolve. They have worked together, tremendous effort on holding together when things weren’t great and fighting through adversity and continuing to build our football program the way it needs to be built. I’m thankful for the things that they have done. And now we’ve got an opportunity to go play one more game together and that means the world to me and it means an awful lot to 115 guys that we’ve got that make up our university and the athletic program representing all of the things that this football team has done, we’re excited about it. So open it up to questions and again, thank you all for being here and all the coverage you’ve provided for our football team and this bowl game specifically.”

Does this still feel like a neutral site game to you? How does it affect your outlook on playing a former Big 12 opponent?

“Well, if you’ve covered our team and the local reporters that are here know that I’m not real good with two-part questions, so I may have to ask you to repeat some of that. But I know well enough on where we are geographically on how many people are going to be in the stands and what colors they are going to be wearing. We’ve talked about that. One thing with our program and our team and this group of guys, and every team is different, we deal with each other because we’ve built such true and trusting relationships. We deal in fact and in honesty. We know where the game is. We’re excited to have that opportunity to step into this environment, one of the greatest environments, and to play the game of football – I was at the stadium yesterday watching the Texans play and what an unbelievable environment it will be for our kids. We’ve got to the point over the course of the year that it doesn’t matter if we’re at home, away, playing in the parking lot – our guys are ready to go compete and go play. We had a press conference, or on with the radio show before the Texas game yesterday, Coach (Tom) Herman and I, and as I watched the fans interacting with us on the stage, there weren’t many waving at me. There were a whole bunch waving at him. We’ll take it for what it is. We’ll embrace the opportunity to go play a really good team in this environment.”

Have you decided who is going to be calling offensive plays for you and how does that change the performance on the field with QB Drew Lock getting the calls in his headset and relaying them to your offense?

“Well, on the plays that work, if we happen to have success, offensively, then I called those, okay. I made those play calls. In the college game, you can’t relay. The players don’t wear headsets or microphones. We signal all of our plays in. Our offensive staff has on a tremendous job on continuing to build on what they did during the season. Nothing has really changed as far as the approach on what we’ve taken, on putting our kids in position to be successful; and that’s any time that you go into a game plan, you take the personnel that you’ve got, you’ve got to be a tremendous teacher and then you put in play what you think will put your guys in position to be successful. So the offensive staff has continued to roll on moving in the right direction. Coach (Joe Jon) Finley, who was brought up in this system, will make the play calls tomorrow, and he has for the last couple weeks in practice. They have done — credit to them. They have done a heck of a job on stepping up, and everybody’s got a little more on their plate when you have coaching departures. That’s the name of the game. I wouldn’t say we see any noticeable change as far as what we are doing offensively as far as the play calls go.”

What did you specifically change after your 1-5 start? I’m sure half the coaches in the country want to know.

“I’m going to sell it for $19.99 and if you call now, you can buy one, get one free. We’ll see how that goes in the off-season. Really, we didn’t change much. We’ve got a really good group of kids that were bought in together; that cared about each other; that knew that we were doing a lot of things in our program the right way and we were getting so close to breaking down the wall. We just weren’t playing really good on Saturdays. The things they continue to do, their practice habits were exactly the way we needed them to be. Their preparation was getting close to what it needed to be to put us in position to play successful and then we started to gain some confidence, even though we were coming up short at the end of four quarters, we weren’t scoring enough and we weren’t holding to less points than we needed to. So we were gaining some confidence you know, and like I’ve said earlier, I wouldn’t recommend starting 1-5. That wasn’t really good on anybody, but our guys did enough. They believed and they trusted in the process and in each other to hold together and then we were able to execute a little bit better on the game field.”

Did you really have a bonfire?

“We did. It was big. It was large.”

What all was in the bonfire?

“It’s been well-documented. There was a whole bunch of stuff. I thought the players were going to throw me in there; they had enough of it. Really they drew a line in the sand and they were ready to go win a game. And again, we had done so many really good things within our program. Nobody wants to hear it but it’s important, about your class attendance, the way you work in the weight room, the way your locker loom – the health of your locker room. All those things that add up to having a chance to win a game on Saturday. We were doing all those things. They were moving in the right direction. We just weren’t winning football games, and at the end of the day, it’s a results-driven business. I understand that. Our guys continued to battle and show great resolve and got it done together.”

With all the guys that aren’t playing for Texas, does it make them a tougher scout when you’re watching them on film and certain guys aren’t going to be in the game?

“I think you read, there’s an enormous amount of information out there. I know this – they will have 11 guys out there when we start the game and so will we. You stick true to what you’ve seen on film. There’s always in-game adjustments as you go through. You don’t wait until halftime to make adjustments. You make them between series and a lot of times as the series is going on. So we feel like we’ve done a really good job game planning on who we think that they are and you look at a bowl game, in most of them, you’ve got about 15 opportunities to go through and change some things, either side of the ball, and you know, we’ve made some slight adjustments like we do week-to-week and I’m sure they have done the same thing.”

Specifically at quarterback, Texas Head Coach Tom Herman said both his guys are going to play. What do you see out of either of those guys and similar or does the offense change?

“There are similarities. Anybody that’s playing multiple quarterbacks, you’ve got to prepare, obviously, to see both of them, and I think we will. That’s happened throughout the course of this season and our conference that we’ve seen some of that. You also know that your calls don’t vary too much. You’ve just got to be aware on how you call it with which quarterback’s in. They are both great competitors, and you know, as I watched their – from start to finish on their season, they have improved on the course of the year and they are both really good players.”

What did you see in bowl practices that excites you about your defensive line heading into this game?

“Well, specifically with the defensive line, but overall, our football team, we had 14 really, really good practices. I mean, the guys were eager to get out on the field. They enjoy the opportunity to get better and compete, and they understand the process of what it takes to go play a complete game. We didn’t waste an opportunity. I was happy on really every day we made progress. We made progress of our vets that have been in the program, as far as game planning and executing the game plan out throughout practice. And then when we set aside time to fit in our younger guys and get some developmental work for our program, they approached that the right way. We have got a pretty mature football team, and they did a lot of really good things over the last three and a half weeks.”

What are some examples of what makes QB Drew Lock, Drew Lock?

“Well, I think you look at his approach to the game, his study and desire to be a great quarterback. He’s got a tremendous football IQ. He understands what we’re trying to do offensively. He’s got a good grasp on when we get a certain coverage on where we need to go with the football, or does he check the play and get us into a run option that will help us a little bit more. So all of those things have to do with, No. 1, he’s a tremendous competitor. He wants to be great, and there’s not anybody in our building that has out-worked him in his preparation on trying to lead this football program to wins.”

I’ve seen a lot of national people, in doing their bowl matchups, they look at this game and they seem to be sort of dismissive about your winning streak because of who you beat and how those teams ended up. I’m sure you’ve seen some of that talk, too. Does that get under your skin a little bit? Winning games in the SEC seems legitimate to me but is that –

“If you read a lot that’s been out there this year, and you know, there’s – you could let your mind go a number of different ways. For us, we’ve focused on trying to go 1-0 one more time and it doesn’t matter, like I said earlier, where we’re playing, who we’re playing. Our focus is on us, on making sure we do all the things and the steps necessary to get into the competitive environment and then go play our best game. So we’ve taken – this team serves it pretty well, just to look at it one game at a time, if you’re worried about what we did two weeks ago or three weeks ago or six weeks ago, then that has no effect on how we’re going to play on Wednesday night. And same thing for us, looking ahead, it does us no good. So we’ve got plenty of motivation. We’ve got internal motivation for us to do it for 18 seniors to finish the season the right way, to go 1-0 one more time, and I wouldn’t want to be lined up with another team in America trying to go get that done.”

-END-

Press Release

DENTON RYAN HIGH SCHOOL QUARTERBACK SPENCER SANDERS NAMED 2017 MR. TEXAS FOOTBALL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 18, 2017

HOUSTON – Denton Ryan High School quarterback and future Oklahoma State University Cowboy Spencer Sanders has been named the 2017 Mr. Texas Football winner. Sanders will be honored on field at the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 27 at NRG Stadium, where the University of Texas Longhorns will take on the University of Missouri Tigers.

Mr. Texas Football presented by Wells Fargo annually recognizes the high school player of the year in the state of Texas. The award, given in collaboration with Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, the leading publication for all things football in Texas, is voted on by fans, players and coaches throughout the state.

Sanders, a 6-2, 190-pound dual-threat quarterback, overcame a knee injury suffered in the state semifinals in 2016 to come back stronger than ever, guiding the Raiders to an undefeated season. A three-year starter, Sanders has thrown for more than 3,600 yards and 50 touchdowns — completing more than 66 percent of his passes — while also running for more than 1,200 yards and 14 scores.

In addition to being named Mr. Texas Football, Sanders was recently named the 2017-18 Gatorade Texas Football Player of the Year and is now a finalist for the national award, which will be announced later this month. Sanders will continue his football career at Oklahoma State, where he committed to as a junior, when he joins the Cowboys next season.

Former winners of the award include 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel (2010 winner, Kerrville Tivy), former Texas Longhorns running back Johnathan Gray (2011 winner, Aledo), Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers (2007 winner, Lamar Consolidated) and Carolina Panthers quarterback Garrett Gilbert (2008 winner, Lake Travis). Texas A&M freshman wide receiver Roshauud Paul took home the award in 2016.

Fans, coaches and players voted for the state’s player of the week each week during the high school season by going to TexasFootball.com. Each weekly winner was announced online on each of the voting sites and their social media pages. All of the weekly winners were nominated for the Player of the Year award. The Mr. Texas Football Player of the Year is selected at the conclusion of the high school football season, based on votes cast throughout the season as well as editorial staff consideration. The votes were tabulated by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.

The Academy Sports + Outdoors 2017 Texas Bowl will be played on Wednesday, Dec. 27 at NRG Stadium and will be televised on ESPN at 8 p.m. CT. The game will once again feature a matchup between Big 12 and SEC opponents, with this year’s conference representatives being the University of Texas Longhorns and the University of Missouri Tigers, respectively. Overall, the Texas Bowl has ranked fourth in attendance since 2014, trailing only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls in that time.

For more information on the Mr. Texas Football Award, visit www.academytexasbowl.com or www.texasfootball.com.

About the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment. The Bowl will showcase teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, two of the country’s premier conferences, for the next three years. The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over the years. The game has ranked fourth in attendance since 2014 behind only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls in that time. In terms of its community impact, the bowl has generated an average of $50 million annually for the Houston economy and through its relationship with DePelchin Children’s Center, its official charitable beneficiary, more than $1.2 million in financial support has been donated to the city’s oldest children’s charity.

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.7 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,700 locations, 12,800 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 266,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2015 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

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Press Release

CORY MORROW TO HIGHLIGHT ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL PREGAME FESTIVITIES AND PERFORM THE NATIONAL ANTHEM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, Dec. 15, 2017HOUSTON – Texas country star Cory Morrow will perform live on the Bud Light Stage, with special guest Kyle Hutton, at TexFest prior to the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl. Morrow will also sing the national anthem before the game begins. The pregame festivities begin at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 27 leading up to the 8 p.m. kickoff between the University of Missouri Tigers and the University of Texas Longhorns.

Houston native Cory Morrow is a country singer and songwriter who has become associated with big names, such as Pat Green, Roger Creager and Randy Rogers Band, all while making himself known across the country. With his rollicking, soulful, feel-good Texas country, Morrow has made thousands jump on tabletops, shimmy, scream and suspend worries for almost two decades, like a honky-tonk pied piper – and he shows no signs of stopping. Morrow is currently on tour across Texas performing hits off of his latest studio album, The Good Fight. Joining Morrow on the Bud Light Stage will be country singer and songwriter Kyle Hutton.

TexFest, the official pregame party for the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, will take place in and around Bud Light Plaza throughout the south end of NRG Stadium. Along with live entertainment, the event will feature $2.50 Bud Lights, great food, giveaways, interactive games and team spirit walks. The event is free of charge for all fans with tickets to the game. Over 60,000 seats have been sold to date for the Bowl.  Limited seats remain and can be purchased online at www.academytexasbowl.com or www.ticketmaster.com, on the phone at 832-667-2390 or in person at the NRG Stadium box office inside Bud Light Plaza. Ticket prices for this game range from $37-200. Special group packages are available by calling 832-667-2390. Fans can also call 832-667-2160 for more information on suites and premium hospitality.

ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment. The Bowl will showcase teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, two of the country’s premier conferences, for the next three years. The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over the years. The game has ranked fourth in attendance since 2014 behind only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls in that time. In terms of its community impact, the bowl has generated an average of $50 million annually for the Houston economy and through its relationship with DePelchin Children’s Center, its official charitable beneficiary, more than $1.2 million in financial support has been donated to the city’s oldest children’s charity.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Florida); Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); DXL Frisco Bowl (Frisco, Texas); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Baton Rouge, La.); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); The Home Depot College Football Awards Presented by Gildan (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball

AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Ramstein Air Base, Germany); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s  Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (Hartford, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); PK80 presented by State Farm (Portland, Ore.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off; State Farm Champions Classic (Chicago) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

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ESPN Media Contact: Anna Negron at 860-766-2233 or anna.m.negron@espn.com; @Anna_ESPN

Lone Star Sports & Entertainment

Lone Star Sports & Entertainment is an event management company founded in 2003 that is closely affiliated with the NFL’s Houston Texans. Since its founding, LSSE has established itself as the leading sports event promoter in Houston. In addition to the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl and the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff, LSSE has emerged as a premier promoter for international soccer matches, including the 2017 Manchester Derby, Copa America Centenario, the 2010 MLS All-Star Game featuring Manchester United, the 2006 FC Barcelona U.S. tour, 2003 and 2008 matches between the United States and Mexico, and the 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cups. LSSE has also reinvigorated the Battle of the Piney Woods presented by H-E-B rivalry between Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State and has promoted major concerts featuring country superstars including George Strait and Kenny Chesney.

CONTACTS:

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Contact: Allie LeClair, (832) 667-2050 or allie.leclair@houstontexans.com

ESPN Media Contact: Anna Negron, (860) 766-2233 or anna.m.negron@espn.com; @Anna_ESPN

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Press Release

2017 ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL CREDENTIAL APPLICATION REMINDER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017

Media members interested in covering the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl must apply for credentials by 5 p.m. CT on Monday, Dec. 18, through the game’s online application system. To apply for credentials, please click here.

Only recognized news organizations will be credentialed.  The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will not credential freelance reporters or photographers not on specific assignment by a recognized outlet. Freelance reporters or photographers working on assignment must have their editor submit an application on their behalf.

2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl credentials can be picked up in the Texans Lobby on the second floor of NRG Stadium (enter through Bud Light Plaza off Kirby and Westridge) beginning Tuesday, Dec. 19 through Friday, Dec. 22 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Tuesday, Dec. 26 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. On the day of the game, credentials can be picked up at the Media Will Call window at NRG Stadium, located on the west side of the stadium, beginning four hours prior to kickoff (4 p.m. CT) until the end of the first half of the game.

If you will not be able to make it to NRG Stadium to pick up your credential and parking pass in advance of the game, please email chloe.delclos@houstontexans.com and provide a FedEx number for overnight shipping and a mailing address.

The 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will feature a matchup between the University of Texas and the University of Missouri. The game will be played on Wednesday, Dec. 27 at NRG Stadium and will be televised nationally on ESPN at 8 p.m. CT.

To access the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Media Guide and other details pertinent to media, please click here. For more information on the game, visit www.academytexasbowl.com.

CONTACT:
Allie LeClair, allie.leclair@houstontexans.com

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Team Alert

John Harris on the Texas v. Missouri Matchup

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is set and it renews two former acquaintances – the Texas Longhorns and the Missouri Tigers. These two have met 23 times, with the majority of those coming from years 1996 to 2011 when they were both members of the Big 12. In 2012, though, Missouri moved to the SEC and these two haven’t faced each other since.

Much was expected of the Longhorns in 2017 as head coach Tom Herman took over the University of Texas program. Yet, the year was filled with ups and downs as Herman tried to put his stamp on the program. The Longhorns were a first down away from finishing 7-5, on track for a potential eighth win in the bowl game. However, an interception opened the door for Texas Tech to sneak in and escape out of Austin with the Longhorns’ possible seventh win. As such, the Longhorns come into this one looking to avoid seven losses in a season for the fourth consecutive season. It’s also a return for Herman back to Houston and to NRG Stadium where he led the Houston Cougars to an upset of the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2016 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff.

For Missouri, a bowl game was a distant blip on the radar screen as late as middle of October. Then, the Tigers got hot. After a 53-28 loss to the playoff bound Georgia Bulldogs, Barry Odom’s Tigers were 1-5. To get to six wins, the Tigers had to beat Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas. They did, in addition to Idaho and U Conn. They ran the table, averaging nearly 50 points a game in the process. Quarterback Drew Lock lit up the airways, completing 58.2% of his passes for 3,695 yards and 43 touchdowns. Yes, FORTY THREE touchdowns…in a season.

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will be one of the most intriguing bowl games, given the winding paths that these two teams followed to get to Houston on December 27, 2017.

By: John Harris

Press Release

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI ACCEPT BIDS TO PLAY IN ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017

Buy Tickets

HOUSTON – The University of Texas and the University of Missouri have accepted bids to play in the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, the bowl organizing committee announced today. The University of Texas will represent the Big 12 Conference and the University of Missouri will represent the Southeastern Conference. The 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will be played on Wednesday, Dec. 27, at 8 p.m. CT and will be televised nationally on ESPN.

“We are thrilled to announce the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl game between the University of Texas and the University of Missouri, two excellent programs from the Big 12 and SEC,” remarked Board Chairman Don Faust, Jr. “Our community is eager to host these teams and their passionate fan bases for a festive bowl week of Texas-themed events across Houston and at NRG Stadium on game day. We look forward to this exciting meeting between these two teams at this year’s Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl.”

The University of Texas and the University of Missouri have met 23 times with a 17-6 record in the Longhorns’ favor. The history between the two teams began in 1894 where the Tigers were victorious in a 28-0 shutout. One of the biggest games between the two was the 1946 Cotton Bowl where the Longhorns’ star quarterback Bobby Layne accounted for all of the team’s points in a 40-27 victory. The last meeting occurred in 2011 where the University of Missouri came out on top, 17-5, at their home field.

Ticket prices for this game range from $37-200 and may be purchased online at www.academytexasbowl.com or www.ticketmaster.com, on the phone at 832-667-2390 or in person at the NRG Stadium box office inside Bud Light Plaza. Special group packages are available by calling 832-667-2390. Fans can also call 832-667-2160 for more information on suites and premium hospitality. To date, over 50,000 seats have already been sold for the 2017 game.

The 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will mark the University of Texas’ second visit after a 31-7 loss to the University of Arkansas in the 2014 edition of the bowl game. In his first season with the team, Head Coach Tom Herman led the Longhorns to a 6-6 regular season with a divisional record of 5-4 in the Big 12, in which they are in a four-way tie for fourth. The team has played in 53 bowl games, a tie with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for second most in all-time bowl appearances following the University of Alabama’s record of 66. The Longhorns hold a 27-24-2 bowl record and this will be their first bowl appearance since the 2014 Texas Bowl.

This year’s trip to the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will be the University of Missouri’s second visit to Houston for postseason play after a 35-13 loss to the United States Naval Academy in the 2009 edition of the bowl game. The Tigers are 15-16 overall in postseason play and have not made a bowl appearance since their 33-17 victory against the University of Minnesota in the 2015 Citrus Bowl. In their second season under Head Coach Barry Odom, the University of Missouri finished their regular season with a 7-5 record and a divisional record of 4-4 in the SEC East, which put them in a tie for third. This will be the team’s first bowl game under Odom who has led the team to a record of 11-13.

ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment. The Bowl will showcase teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, two of the country’s premier conferences, for the next three years. The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over the years. The game has ranked fourth in attendance since 2014 behind only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls in that time. In terms of its community impact, the bowl has generated an average of $50 million annually for the Houston economy and through its relationship with DePelchin Children’s Center, its official charitable beneficiary, more than $1.2 million in financial support has been donated to the city’s oldest children’s charity.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Florida); Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); DXL Frisco Bowl (Frisco, Texas); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Baton Rouge, La.); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); The Home Depot College Football Awards Presented by Gildan (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball

AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Ramstein Air Base, Germany); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s  Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (Hartford, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); PK80 presented by State Farm (Portland, Ore.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off; State Farm Champions Classic (Chicago) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

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ESPN Media Contact: Anna Negron at 860-766-2233 or anna.m.negron@espn.com; @Anna_ESPN

Lone Star Sports & Entertainment

Lone Star Sports & Entertainment is an event management company founded in 2003 that is closely affiliated with the NFL’s Houston Texans. Since its founding, LSSE has established itself as the leading sports event promoter in Houston. In addition to the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl and the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff, LSSE has emerged as a premier promoter for international soccer matches, including the 2017 Manchester Derby, Copa America Centenario, the 2010 MLS All-Star Game featuring Manchester United, the 2006 FC Barcelona U.S. tour, 2003 and 2008 matches between the United States and Mexico, and the 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cups. LSSE has also reinvigorated the Battle of the Piney Woods presented by H-E-B rivalry between Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State and has promoted major concerts featuring country superstars including George Strait and Kenny Chesney.

CONTACTS:

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Contact: Allie LeClair, (832) 667-2050 or allie.leclair@houstontexans.com

ESPN Media Contact: Anna Negron, (860) 766-2233 or anna.m.negron@espn.com; @Anna_ESPN

###

Transcript

2017 ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS vs. UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI HEAD COACHES CONFERENCE CALLS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, December 3, 2017

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN

What are your first initial thoughts about Missouri, a team that’s won six in a row, although they didn’t play Alabama or anything, but they’re still on a six-game winning streak?

“They’re playing some of the best football in the country right now. The quarterback I think finished the season with the most touchdown throws of anybody in FBS. They’re playing really, really well offensively. Obviously, I haven’t watched them on video. I’ve been out recruiting, but I know just from the numbers that are pretty gaudy. And I want to commend Coach (Barry) Odom for, this is a guy that’s had some adversity early in his tenure there and has stayed the course and has turned this season and this team around and, like I said, they’re playing as good of football as anybody right now.”

Obviously, the big news of the week was OL Connor Williams and DB Deshon Elliott, where do you think LB Malik Jefferson stands right now, and do you expect anybody else to pull out of the bowl game?

“No, I think the rest of them will wait to get their grades back and make some informed decisions based on some of the NFL stuff.”

For you personally, what does it feel like to go back to Houston to coach your first bowl game with Texas?

“I think it’s neat. It’s a city that my family and myself have called home on a couple different occasions, at Rice, at the University of Houston. That was kind of the city that we gravitated to even in our four years in Huntsville at Sam Houston State. So, it’s a city that I have a lot of friends and people that I know back there and I’m excited to bring our team out to Houston to play in front of them.”

Just from a recruiting standpoint, what do you think a big performance and win in this bowl would do in such a hotbed for you?

“The unfortunate thing is your bowl practices are during a dead period, so not much contact with some of the recruits, but I think a lot of them have already expressed to me that they’re planning on attending the game and Houston has been good to us thus far in some of our commitments and it’s really, really good high school football as is anywhere else in the state, but it certainly would be a nice shot in the arm, just from a momentum standpoint.”

How important was it, because of the way this season went for you, to get these extra practices and this extra time with your team moving into next year?

“That is critical. This is a team that had not had that kind of development and for the last two winters had basically gone home for four weeks, five weeks, whatever Christmas break is. That development is critical in terms of staying with your competition that are going to bowl games and have that developmental time. That’s what we’re going to use the early part of bowl prep for is we’ve got a long time between now and the 27th, so we’ll focus early on just development, getting our team better, getting some of these young guys better and then start worrying more on Missouri and the game plan later in the bowl prep.”

Do you feel like the time will help take the sting away from how it ended last week?

“Yeah, I do. I think that we’re a resilient group and I think just getting on the field for practice on Friday. It was as good a practice as we’ve had, guys were flying around, they were excited to be a part of the postseason, excited to play football. So, I think the sting is gone already and we’re looking forward to this. When you win a bowl game, they call you a champion. You’re the Texas Bowl Champion or you’re the whatever, Rose Bowl Champion. So, we’ve got an opportunity now to play for a championship and send these seniors out the right way, but also develop our program and get lot of momentum heading into the offseason.”

Along those lines, just like the game against Texas Tech, you still have the chance to finish with a winning record and for this program, just how critical is it that Texas finishes with a winning record?

“Well, I think it’s important. I’m not going to downplay the importance of just winning a game, but I don’t think one number difference on either side is really going to be a make or break anything in our program. We’re going to stay the course and we’re going to continue to develop our players and we’re going to try like heck to win the thing and prepare as such. We know it’s going to be against a really good opponent in Missouri, but I don’t see it as one way or the other, if you win is it going to propel you to so many great heights or if you lose are you going to be devastated. It’s a game and losing is awful and winning is really cool and it feels really good to win and we’re going to do our best to win it, but the number on either side of the ledger, I don’t know that that has much relevance in the importance of the game.”

Do you expect anybody to miss the game that is not expected injury-wise?

“Again, I’m down here recruiting, so I don’t have all that information in front of me. I think P.J. Locke (III) will be back. Jeffrey McCulloch should be back. The guy that we’re hoping to get back if he stays on track would be Patrick Vahe. So, those three guys are, from a concern level, I would say Patrick’s number one in terms of is it going to be enough time. Jeffrey is already out there running around doing some stuff as well as P.J. So, I think we’ll be pretty good from a health standpoint.”

Is getting OL Elijah Rodriguez back for this game an option?

“He was cleared for the Texas Tech game. So, he’s been practicing with the two offensive lines right now and we’re hoping that and he’s looked pretty good doing it, so hopefully he can work his way back into the starting lineup.”

How do you feel your team matches up with this Missouri team this year?

“I think it’s too early to tell. Like I said, I got the news on where we were playing and who we were playing when I was on the road recruiting. So, all I know is, from a statistic standpoint, their offense is phenomenal and has been for the last six weeks and just doing some quick look at some of their stats, the TFLs and sacks on defense certainly stand out as well, but I’ll know a lot more when I watch video on them here in the coming days.”

Right now, you don’t know whether LB Malik Jefferson is going to play in the bowl or not?

“No, I don’t know whether he’s going to play in the bowl, whether he is going to play in the bowl, whether he’s going to declare for the NFL and still play in the bowl, whether he’s going to come back. I think all of those options are on the table and he’ll make a decision. I don’t want to speak for Malik (Jefferson) certainly, but I think he’ll make a decision after he gets the grade back from the NFL.”

What does this practice time mean for some of the young guys like TE Reese Leitao and TE Cade Brewer and any of the young guys you have on the roster?

“I mean it’s critical. It is absolutely critical, especially these true freshmen that got here in June. They haven’t had a spring ball, they haven’t had anything other than a couple weeks in training camp in terms of football development. So, any time you can extend that by 12, 15, 18 practices, that’s absolutely critical for their development. The Sam Cosmi’s of the world, the Reese Leitao’s of the world, as you said, the Montrell Estell’s and the Kobe Boyce’s of the world – it’s just going to be fantastic for them in terms of their development as they head into the offseason.”

Any word from OL Jake McMillon on what his plans are and if he and OL Terrell Cuney practicing for the bowl game?

“They are practicing and I don’t have any word or update.”

When do you think the guys will be getting their grades back?

“We put them in on Monday and I think they said seven to 10 days, but this is only the second or third time I’ve gone through this, so it’s usually been around 10 to 14 days, but I think as early as early in this week I would imagine.”

At what position is OL Elijah Rodriguez working?

“Right now, it’s at right guard, but I think the thing that we loved about Elijah (Rodriguez) through spring ball and training camp is his versatility. So, probably going to play him a little bit at tackle as well this week, but the first two practices he was at guard, but because of his versatility I think he’ll get reps at the tackle spot as well.”

Do you guys have anyone else besides TE Kendall Moore at tight end? Are you guys working anyone else in or is he going to be it for you guys?

“That’s it. That’s what we got right now. I’m sure we’ll have to – plan B would be some other form of personnel packages, whether that’s two backs and no tight end or four wide receivers and no tight end. But yeah, right now, he’s running with the first team at tight end and in practice Reese (Leitao) and Andrew Beck are getting those reps and it’s unfortunate the way the red shirt rule is. We can’t – our starting tight end is healthy, but we can’t play him because he’ll lose the entire year of eligibility and I can’t wait for, hopefully, this new rule to pass where we won’t be forced into situations like this. But, as of now, this is the way the rule states and we’re not going to waste either one of those kids’ year of eligibility on one game. So, it’ll be Kendall Moore and then we’ll get creative if we need to.”

Do you plan to approach the quarterback situation the same way you did for the Texas Tech game with QB Sam Ehlinger starting and QB Shane Buechele getting a drive or two early and then kind of taking it from there?

“I haven’t talked about it. They’ve been both – we’ve only had two practices and they’ve both taken, they’ve rotated reps with the ones and twos evenly. So, I haven’t really talked about it much. The good thing is with these bowl preps, you can put these guys in some very game-like situations, scrimmage-like situations and see how they do. So, we’ll keep evaluating them and we’ll make a decision as to the direction we’re headed after a couple weeks.”

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI HEAD COACH BARRY ODOM

Just kind of curious to what your read is on Texas right now?

“Thanks for the question. I know that I’ve had the chance to watch a couple of games from earlier this season, just a cross over from when you are in a hotel and have a night game and maybe they had an early game, so I’ve seen them play a couple times. I got started on the video pretty soon after we learned of the announcement on getting into some preparation for them. I know they have recruited well. We have great respect for their coaching staff. I know that it will be a tremendous challenge and a great opportunity for our kids. We’ve recruited at the University of Missouri, we’ve recruited the state of Texas a very long time. We’ve had a lot of great players from that area over the years, so very familiar with their roster and the guys they have signed over the last couple of years and know that they are a talented group.”

Do you think people are excited to reignite an old conference rivalry even if it’s only for one game? 

“Yes, it’s awesome. I think anytime you have a chance to play somebody in an atmosphere, in a Bowl game like this will be, and then you add the historic references to it about having the opportunity to play somebody from a conference that you were once in, that means a great deal to our fan base and I know our kids are excited about it.”

What is the mood like around there? Just for any team to win six games at this level is just an impressive deal. How would you gauge how you guys have turned the whole season around, from where you were in mid-October to where you are now?

“Our team has shown great resolve over the course of the year. We didn’t play very well on game days early in the season. That’s obvious, very maybe the most elementary statement there is. We were doing so many really good things; we just weren’t transferring that over to playing a complete game. Finally, we started getting a little bit better, really in all three phases of the game and doing it collectively together as a football team. Getting confidence, we prepared better as the season went on. We understood who we were. Our margin of error was absolutely zero and we had to win the turnover margin. We had to play efficiently. We had to play smart as a team. Then we started doing that. If you prepare the right way through the process of the week and the game week, how it unfolds, and if you do that, then you have the opportunity to go play freely and play fast. That’s what our team has done. They have embraced the opportunity to try and get it turned around. They have done a great job of holding the rope together and all pulling in the same direction. The excitement that we have and the confidence that we have on an opportunity to go play one more together; our locker room is fired up about the opportunity and the chance to go do that.”

What has been the key about your quarterback play? He has more touchdowns than University of Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield who is getting all the Heisman talk in our neck of the woods.

“Drew (Lock) is a tremendous talent. I can’t put it into words how happy and proud I am for him, so excited that he is our starting quarterback. Tremendous leader. There is not anybody in our program and I don’t think in college football that puts in more time and effort in the knowledge it takes to play the position. Coach (Josh) Heupel has done an unbelievable job on leading him and transforming him into that special arm talent and turning him into a great quarterback and all the things that it takes to go do that. He’s got the ability to make a lot of throws, but it’s also, he’s playing well because he’s a talented kid, but he’s also playing well because our offensive line is giving him time to see the field, scan the field and go through the reads. We have been able to run the football and block well to point of attack and then our receivers are making plays. So, it’s ten other guys around him playing well. They have the ability. When you can run the football for us, that helps in a lot of different ways and Drew has capitalized and really put us in a right situation. The offensive staff has done a nice job on game planning each week and building the offensive of the week to try and give us a chance and put the kids in a position to be successful.”

When you were 1-5, what was the biggest lesson maybe you learned and how did you apply it to maybe staying level headed over these last six as well?

“I knew it was not and it’s still, we have a long ways to go. It’s not going to be easy. I knew the hand that we were dealt. I knew what we had. I knew how close we were to breaking down the walls to winning football. We weren’t that far off even though it sure looked like it at times and seemed like it. We stayed the course. We did make a couple of personnel changes that got guys moved around that helped us out a bit. But, more than anything, credit to our kids to continuing to stay the course, keep their heads down and work together and understand how the slim, fine line of preparing and how that turns over. You can prepare and do everything, your checklist throughout the week, but then once comes game time you better be able to go execute and that was the biggest thing for us is with a little more attention to detail in our practice habits, the things that our kids prepared a little bit better, a little bit more and a little bit smarter, and then our playmaker stood up and made plays and played well together.”

Knowing what you know about the way everything went down, some of the things that were said down here, do you get the sense from the Missouri side of it that fans, administrators, everyone, there’s a little more to this bowl game than just the two teams that are playing?

“I think it’ll be exciting for a lot of different people and the opportunity for us to compete against a team from a conference that we once were in, I think that will show some importance, especially to the fan base and our kids are determined to try to finish the season the right way and I don’t ever make too big of a deal out of the headlines. Let’s focus on us, let’s focus on preparing the right way. Obviously, make our team aware of the situation of an opportunity to play against a really good team and what that will do for us if we go prepare the right way and have the chance to play in a great bowl game.”

How much does it help you in having an assistant coach in Defensive Line Coach Brick Haley who not only recruited a lot of the players that are on this current Texas roster, but also coached a lot of them as well?

“I think, No. 1, Brick Haley is an unbelievable person. He’s done such a great job since he’s been here. I’ve known Brick for a number of years through recruiting. He’s as outgoing and relationship driven with our kids and student athletes as I’ve ever seen. A tremendous hire for us. Our defensive line has played really well over the course of this season and he’s done a great job developing that group. I’m so appreciative and thankful for he and Tina and his family, just the approach that they take every day on the opportunity to be here and work together. We have a great staff and he’s a huge part of that. I’m sure they’ve got coaches on their side that are familiar with a bunch of our players too, so there won’t be much played into that as far as he, from a personal standpoint, I know that anytime you play against somewhere that you once were and play against kids maybe you recruited, that’s difficult and I understand that, I’ve been through that a couple times. So, he’ll do a great job on getting our team ready to go play and I know he’ll have a lot of familiar faces down there that’ll be excited to see him.”

What do you see as Texas’ identity on offense?

“You look at what they’ve done, I know the playmakers that they’ve got and they recruited well, they got them all over the field, just getting into really studying them from the schematic part of it, they’ve got an opportunity on the quarterback runs. Just the game I’m looking at currently, I noticed him being smart with the football, he’s able to get in and out of areas that maybe, could be a negative play and he turns it into something positive. He looks like a great, they look very, very competitive in every area. They look well-coached. We’ll have a tremendous challenge on trying to be able to match up and put together a plan for our kids to be successful.”

Is it too early to say if there’s a team they remind you of that you’ve played this year?

“I wouldn’t want to make a comparison yet. That would be unfair for me to do at this point with the amount of video that I’ve been able to look at at this point today.”

-End-

Press Release

2017 ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS TEXAS BOWL TO ANNOUNCE TEAMS SUNDAY, DEC. 3

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES
Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 - The matchup for the 12th annual Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will be announced Sunday, Dec. 3. Lone Star Sports and Entertainment expects to know the Big 12 team at approximately 2:45 p.m. CT. The SEC team will follow at approximately 4:30 p.m. Conference calls with both head coaches will take place around 5:30 p.m. Following is a tentative timeline for Sunday’s announcement.

WHEN                          WHAT

2:45 p.m.                     Big 12 team for Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl announced

4:30 p.m.                     SEC team for Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl announced

5:30 p.m.                     Teleconference with Big 12 head coach

5:45 p.m.                     Teleconference with SEC head coach

Media members interested in covering the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl may now apply for credentials through the bowl’s online application system.  Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, December 20.

To apply for credentials, please visit this link.

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.

The 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will be played on Wednesday, Dec. 27 at NRG Stadium and will be televised on ESPN at 8 p.m. CT.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl

The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment. The Bowl will showcase teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, two of the country’s premier conferences, for the next three years. The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over the years. The game has ranked fourth in attendance since 2014 behind only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls in that time. In terms of its community impact, the bowl has generated an average of $50 million annually for the Houston economy and through its relationship with DePelchin Children’s Center, its official charitable beneficiary, more than $1.2 million in financial support has been donated to the city’s oldest children’s charity.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Florida); Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); DXL Frisco Bowl (Frisco, Texas); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Baton Rouge, La.); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); The Home Depot College Football Awards Presented by Gildan (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball

AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Ramstein Air Base, Germany); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s  Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (Hartford, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); PK80 presented by State Farm (Portland, Ore.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off; State Farm Champions Classic (Chicago) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

Lone Star Sports & Entertainment

Lone Star Sports & Entertainment is an event management company founded in 2003 that is closely affiliated with the NFL’s Houston Texans. Since its founding, LSSE has established itself as the leading sports event promoter in Houston. In addition to the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl and the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff, LSSE has emerged as a premier promoter for international soccer matches, including the 2017 Manchester Derby, Copa America Centenario, the 2010 MLS All-Star Game featuring Manchester United, the 2006 FC Barcelona U.S. tour, 2003 and 2008 matches between the United States and Mexico, and the 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cups. LSSE has also reinvigorated the Battle of the Piney Woods presented by H-E-B rivalry between Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State and has promoted major concerts featuring country superstars including George Strait and Kenny Chesney.

CONTACT:

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Contact: Allie LeClair, (832) 667-2050 or allie.leclair@houstontexans.com

ESPN Media Contact: Anna Negron, (860) 766-2233 or anna.m.negron@espn.com; @Anna_ESPN

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Team Alert

John Harris: Championship Weekend is Upon Us

Championship weekend is upon us and it’s going to be one heck of a weekend. The CFP Final Four came a bit more into focus the past weekend, which then sets the dominoes in motion for bowl appointments, most importantly for all of us in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (the Bowl).

The Playoff seems clear to me at this point.
The winner of Auburn-Georgia in the SEC Championship game is in the Playoff.
The winner of Miami-Clemson in the ACC Championship game is in the Playoff.
If Wisconsin wins, it’s in the Playoff.
If Oklahoma wins, it’s in the Playoff.

Now…
If Wisconsin loses, the Committee has to compare Alabama’s and Ohio State’s resumes, which isn’t going to be easy.
If Oklahoma and Wisconsin both lose, then Alabama and Ohio State may both be in.
If Oklahoma loses but Wisconsin wins, then Alabama seems to be the next best option to go in with Wisconsin, ACC winner and SEC winner.

In summation on the playoff, here are the possibilities as I see them ACC winner, SEC winner, Wisconsin & Oklahoma ACC winner, SEC winner, Wisconsin & Alabama ACC winner, SEC winner, Ohio State & Oklahoma ACC winner, SEC winner, Ohio State & Alabama

The entire situation is fluid, honestly. What if Wisconsin loses to Ohio State 38-37 in the wildest game of the day? Could the Committee take both Ohio State and Wisconsin? Probably not, but then again, who knows?

Now, how does this all impact the Academy Sports + Outdoor Texas Bowl. Well, on the Big 12 side, if TCU beats Oklahoma, then the Big 12 will more than likely get two teams in New Year’s Day Six Bowls. With two teams in New Year’s Day Six games, it moves every Big 12 team up in the pecking order, so to speak, which takes away an option from the Bowl. But, if Oklahoma wins, TCU may not be able to hold a spot in the top 12-14, which could keep it from getting a New Year’s Day Six bid. For the Bowl, that’s a great thing. For TCU and the Big 12, not so much, I suppose.

On the SEC side, with Alabama at 11-1, the conference is 99.9% guaranteed to get at least two teams in New Year’s Day Six games. A third team getting invited, like in 2014 (Alabama, Mississippi State and Ole Miss), will create a domino effect for the Bowl, moving every team up in the pecking order.

So, even though the picture is clearer at the top, in some respects, the results on Championship weekend have far ranging effects for all bowls, including the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bowl on December 27th.

By: John Harris

Press Release

PRIMESPORT, ESPN Events Renew Partnership To Provide Official Ticket Exchange, VIP Hospitality and Fan Travel For College Football

ATLANTA (Nov. 29, 2017) – PRIMESPORT, an industry leader in providing VIP access to the biggest sporting events in the world, has announced a renewed and expanded partnership with ESPN Events to remain the Official VIP Hospitality and Travel Provider for all of their college football games. PRIMESPORT will also offer fans the chance to buy and sell tickets through an Official Ticket Exchange service for many of the ESPN Events College Football Games.

PRIMESPORT will provide premium VIP ticket packages and fan travel experiences for the Birmingham Bowl, Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl, Celebration Bowl, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Lockheed Martin Armed Services Bowl, Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, DXL Frisco Bowl and the 2018 Orlando Kickoff and Texas Kickoff game.

ESPN Events is a branch of ESPN charged with creating and organizing sporting events to be broadcast across ESPN networks. Over the years, ESPN Events has created and organized many high-quality bowl games and has become an industry leader in providing fans with great events and elite matchups in many of college football’s marquee bowl games.

As part of the renewed partnership, PRIMESPORT will continue to offer premium ticket packages for all of ESPN Events’ college football games that include college football tickets, plus VIP Experiences like pregame field passes or exclusive pregame party access. Choice Fan Travel Packages will also be available to include hotel accommodations, game tickets, official souvenirs and more. PRIMESPORT will further offer college football fans an officially designated and approved Ticket Exchange marketplace to buy and sell tickets in a convenient, secure and protected environment.

“We are thrilled to renew and extend our partnership with ESPN Events,” said Michael Huber, Senior Vice President for Business Development at PRIMESPORT. “Just as ESPN is one of the most recognizable name in sports, PRIMESPORT’s experiences are some of the most elite in the fan experience industry. Our top priority is to give fans the best experience possible when they enjoy premier events and this partnership ensures that quality.”

For more information on official tickets, travel packages or fan-to-fan ticket exchange to any one of the nearly 20 events, visit PRIMESPORT.com.

About PRIMESPORT: PRIMESPORT is an industry leader in providing direct access to the biggest sporting events in the world, offering tickets, travel, hospitality and VIP experiences on behalf of more than 25 bowl games and nearly two dozen universities. PRIMESPORT additionally partners with over 150 teams, leagues and events, including select NCAA Championships, NHL fixtures, 20 NFL teams, and many more. For more information, visit www.PRIMESPORT.com or call (800)591-9198.

About ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans. For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages. ESPN Media Contact: Anna Negron at 860-766-2233 or anna.m.negron@espn.com.