Sanford Trophy Winner (Offensive MVP) - Missouri RB Henry Josey
Missouri junior Henry Josey is a comeback tailback.
After suffering a season-ending injury in 2011 that would also sideline him for the next year, Josey has solidified his return to form, tallying three touchdowns and 92 yards in the 2014 edition of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic to claim the J. Curtis Sanford Offensive MVP award.
Josey’s three touchdowns Friday night at AT&T Stadium matched a career high and leave him with 16 for the season. He becomes one of only five players with three or more rushing touchdowns in the Classic.
Josey, who had three surgeries on his knee after the injury occurred during the Nov. 12 contest against Texas in 2011, sat out for over 600 days before returning to the gridiron this season. Unsure if he would be able play again after the injury, Josey recorded over 1,000 yards this year en route to becoming only the second Tiger tailback to reach the 1,000 rushing yard mark in multiple seasons.
In fact, the junior totaled 1,168 yards in 2011 as a sophomore and fell two yards shy of replicating the stat for the end of this season, finishing with 1,166 thanks to his 92 yards gained tonight. Josey concludes his junior year on a streak of five straight games with 90 or more yards and with a career 31 rushing touchdowns, fourth-most in school history.
“I have the best support ever,” Josey said after the game. “I have so many people who have been behind me and pushing me. That’s the main thing with my success is just having the right support.”
“He's a remarkable kid. He's special, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said. “That's what you see on the field. But the reason he's special, he's got great athleticism, he's tough, he's strong, all those other things. But his heart, you can't measure how big his heart is, his determination, his perseverance. Once he overcame that injury, I mean, you know, you grow from those things. He's no different now. Remarkably he's a better player now. He's a stronger player now even than before he had the injury.”
In Mizzou’s third Classic appearance, Josey put the Tigers on the board first with a three-yard touchdown run at the 3:00 minute mark in the first quarter. Totaling 13 yards on three touches in the drive, Josey gave Mizzou a 7-0 lead. The Angleton, Texas, native would wait until the fourth quarter for his other pair of scores.
With the contest knotted up at 17 and a 3rd and 5 for the Tigers, Josey rattled off a 25-yard touchdown run to put Mizzou ahead 24-7 at the 11:32 mark. Later in the fourth, with Oklahoma State holding on to its only lead of the game up 31-27, Josey capped off a seven-play, 69-yard drive with a 16-yard scoring rush. The score moved Missouri to a 34-31 lead with 3:08 left in the game. The touchdown quickly shifted the pressure back to the Cowboys, who fumbled on their following drive, a turnover that Missouri converted for a touchdown as the Tigers closed the contest with a 41-31 win.
Josey becomes the second Mizzou player to win the Classic’s offensive honor, joining tailback Tony Temple (2008).