"I definitely wasn't the happiest with how I played," Franklin said. "I think I was thinking more of not doing bad and trying to do good rather than just going out there and playing. ?It definitely feels good to be back and I'll try to learn from this game and apply it to next week's game."
"I thought James did a really good job," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said.
Pinkel added that some of Franklin's reads may have been off, but overall, he played well.
"A lot of pressure on him to play well, because Maty (Mauk) has been playing well," Pinkel said.
Four plays into his stint, Mauk had the Tigers (10-1, 6-1 SEC) in scoring position after a 60-yard completion to Bud Sasser. Missouri stalled in the red zone — a holding penalty on left tackle Justin Britt at the 5-yard line was especially costly — and the Tigers settled for a 33-yard Andrew Baggett field goal for a 10-0 lead with 7:31 left in the second quarter.
"It was really big," Franklin said. "It was a big boost for the offense because the previous (drive) we went three-and-out."
Mauk completed three of seven passes for 83 yards on his one and only possession. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said his coaching staff planned to play Mauk for another series in the second half but decided against taking Franklin out of the game.
"Not that he couldn’t have gone out there, but we just kind of stuck with James in that situation," Pinkel said. Mauk "played really well when he went in. He did an excellent job and drove us right down the field."
Midway through the second quarter, I found myself trying to figure out which quarterback I was more comfortable with having on the field. James Franklin looked fantastic on Missouri's opening drive, which alleviated a lot of concerns about rustiness. But the Tiger offense stalled a bit after that, and when Maty Mauk came into the game, complete with his customary big plays, a 50(ish) percent completion rate, and a long scoring drive, I felt totally comfortable having him in the game. Almost more comfortable, actually.
Regardless, Gary Pinkel and company felt comfortable enough to keep Franklin at the helm, and their faith was clearly rewarded. Though Franklin didn't have to do much late, he scrambled at just the right times and made just enough lovely passes over the course of the game for Mizzou to rack up nearly 500 yards (about 400 with him behind center). No complaints. And now the rust has been knocked off.
Kudos, by the way, to Maty Mauk. You know he wanted to play; you know he wanted to start. But he hit the ground running in his lone possession, and more importantly, he seems to have completely and totally accepted his role. He could end up a three-year starter for Missouri, and he has done everything Mizzou needed him to do this year. He has played the Chase Daniel role to Franklin's Brad Smith, and we know that if Franklin goes down again, Missouri's level of play won't change much. It's a great feeling to have.