ARLINGTON, Texas -- One second Oklahoma State was moving in for a possible go-ahead score in the Cotton Bowl. The next, Missouri defensive end Shane Ray was rumbling 73 yards for a touchdown that sealed a 41-31 victory for the Tigers on Friday night at AT&T Stadium.
Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf had already completed a pass to convert a fourth-and-8 and ran 23 yards for another first down during Oklahoma State's march in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
But when Chelf dropped back to pass on third-and-7, Tigers defensive end Michael Sam sacked him and stripped the ball. Ray scooped it and ran for a knockout touchdown as No. 8 Missouri downed the 13th-ranked Cowboys.
That decided a back-and-forth affair that looked like it might go Oklahoma State's way, simply because the Cowboys would have the ball last.
Before Ray's fumble return for a touchdown, Tigers running back Henry Josey ran 16 yards for a touchdown to put Missouri (12-2) ahead 34-31 with 3:08 left.
Josey finished with a game-high 92 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Chelf, who passed for 377 yards and ran for 52, heated up in the fourth quarter and seemed to be ready to lead Oklahoma State (10-3) to a come-from-behind win. But his third turnover of the game -- he threw two interceptions -- sank the Cowboys.
Missouri and Oklahoma State traded rushing touchdowns earlier in the fourth quarter as Josey ran 25 yards for a score and Chelf answered with a 23-yard run.
Oklahoma State took advantage of two fumbles by Missouri quarterback James Franklin to surge into a 17-17 tie early in the fourth quarter.
Franklin botched a handoff late in the third quarter and Cowboys defensive tackle James Castleman recovered at the Missouri 33. That led to Chelf's 21-yard touchdown pass to Jhajuan Seales.
Franklin then made an errant option toss that the Cowboys surrounded and safety Daytawion Lowe recovered at the Missouri 11. Oklahoma State couldn't turn it into a touchdown, but kicker Ben Grogan knocked through a 25-yard field goal to tie the score at 17 with 13:32 left in the fourth quarter.
Missouri opened a 10-point lead in the first half using an array of playmakers.
The Tigers went ahead 7-0 on Josey's 3-yard touchdown run with three minutes left in the first quarter. Josey's touchdown capped a 50-yard drive set up by cornerback E.J. Gaines' interception.
Oklahoma State answered Missouri's opening score when Chelf hit wide-open receiver Josh Stewart for a 40-yard touchdown to tie it at 7 just 76 seconds after the Tigers' opening score.
Though Franklin ran the ball effectively early, he shied away from running as the game continued. In his place for one series in the second quarter, quarterback Maty Mauk burned Oklahoma State with runs of 35 and 34 yards to move Missouri into Oklahoma State territory.
Mauk then scored a touchdown with his arm as he dropped a ball past the outstretched arms of Oklahoma State cornerback Ashton Lampkin into the waiting arms of wide receiver Marcus Lucas for a 24-yard touchdown.
Tigers defensive end Kony Ealy kept Oklahoma State from answering this time as he sacked Chelf twice on the ensuing drive. Ealy's second sack came on third-and-25 from the Oklahoma State 38, ending a drive that was already going backward.
Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett booted a 35-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter to give Missouri a 17-7 halftime edge.
NOTES: Missouri's game against Oklahoma State was its first vs. a Big 12 opponent since leaving the conference to join the SEC after the 2011 season. ... Oklahoma State entered having won nine of its last 10 games against the SEC's current roster of schools. The lone loss came against Mississippi in the Cotton Bowl in 2009. ... Missouri holds a 28-23 series advantage against Oklahoma State, though the Cowboys entered having won the last three meetings. ... This was the first time Oklahoma State and Missouri played each other at a neutral site.