We'll have a James Franklin post up pretty soon, but for now, let me just say this:
For those who went to bed last night feeling more sad about the loss of James Franklin than happy about the win, I would encourage you to reevaluate. There was a lot of "Only Mizzou..." self-pity floating around the Internet yesterday, a lot of "We even lose when we win!" sentiment. Guess what: That's not nearly as unique to Missouri as you want to think. Sports are pretty mean, and at the college level most fanbases don't get to experience national titles. And even those that do, don't that often (outside of Tuscaloosa). So even when your team is really good, you most likely play the what-if game and talk about that one injury and that one loss through the entire offseason.
We don't know how the loss of James Franklin will affect this team. Maty Mauk could be the Kurt Warner to Franklin's Trent Green, and he could be the Jim Dougherty to Franklin's Kirk Farmer. Those fearing the worse could be proven correct soon enough. But whether Mizzou goes on to win the SEC or finish 6-7, the Tigers still will have beaten Georgia yesterday in Athens. As I have said before, we are moment collectors, and yesterday was one hell of a series of moments, from the incredible second quarter, to the 180-degree momentum shift, to the Bud Sasser touchdown pass, to DGB's catch, to the late interceptions.
Mizzou just won in Athens. Mizzou just claimed its first win over a top-10 opponent on the road since 1981. And the Tigers won by 15 damn points despite losing E.J. Gaines in the first quarter and James Franklin in the fourth. That's incredible. No matter what comes next, that's worth celebrating.
Your fears may be realized (or, preferably, proven woefully incorrect) soon enough, but if you're not taking time to feel good about that game, I feel bad for you. It's a missed opportunity. Yesterday was why we follow sports.
MUtigers.com: No. 25 Missouri upsets No. 7 Georgia, 41-26
MUtigers.com: Postgame Notes
* Mizzou improved to 96-61 under Coach Pinkel with the win, moving the Tiger leader closer to Mizzou's all-time winningest coach, Don Faurot, who won 101 games (1935-42, 46-56). […]
* The 92,746 Sanford Stadium crowd Mizzou and Georgia played in front of is the fourth-largest in Tiger program history. The No. 1 mark of 104,578 came in 1975 at Michigan. […]
* The Tigers continued their nation-leading streak of games with a turnover gained with senior DL Michael Sam (Hitchcock, Texas) recovering a Georgia fumble after a strip and sack by junior DL Shane Ray (Kansas City, Mo.) at 5:46 2Q. The recovery was Mizzou's first of the 2013 season, with Sam returning the fumble 21 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers up 28-10. […]
* Senior WR L'Damian Washington (Shreveport, La.) matched his season-high in catches with touchdown grab from Franklin at 12:33 2Q, his 25th catch of 2013. Washington recorded 25 receptions for 443 yards and two scores last season. His 26th catch went for 12 yards on a 3rd-and-10 play in the second quarter.
* Washington matched his career-high in catches with seven grabs for 115 yards. […]
* Sophomore LB Kentrell Brothers (Guthrie, Okla.) set a new career-high with ten tackles. He made a previous-best six stops in the 51-28 win at Vanderbilt on Oct. 5. Junior DL Matt Hoch (Harlan, Iowa) set a new career-high in tackles with seven stops. He previously recorded six vs. Texas A&M last season.
Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel
"You get in the third quarter of that game and had great field position that our defense got, and Georgia came back with a couple of three-and-outs and the momentum just flipped and you saw it happen. Washington's third-and-nine pass was a big play for us, because had he not caught it, we would have punted the ball back to them. We called the double-pass and it worked. Just a lot of big plays for us today, including some turnovers. You always think that you are going to get turnovers and everyone works on them. Turnovers breed a lot of confidence and all of a sudden everyone thinks they are going to get one."
On the play of Maty Mauk...
"We see him in practice and we try to help him out there. We might see a lot of him now. I don't think James will be back next week, but I don't know for how long. Maty has a lot of good people around him and anything can happen in this business."
On the goals...
"There is no question that one of the goals for this team is to get back to Mizzou's winning ways. It is a big deal to them. They came in and inherited a lot of winning and it's important for them to leave the same way. They want to get back to competing for championships."
The Trib: Missouri scores signature win at Georgia, despite injuries to Franklin, Gaines
The Trib: Tigers show knack for crisis management
The first thing Missouri did when Franklin left early in the fourth quarter was call timeout. Quarterbacks coach Andy Hill grabbed Mauk.
"He set him down on the sideline and said, ‘OK, here’s the plays. Let’s go through them. What do you like?’ " offensive coordinator Josh Henson said. "Coach Hill relayed that to me, and I highlighted them. We said, ‘Here we go.’ Obviously, right now, you have feelings about James, but at that point in time you have to suppress your feelings and keep going." […]
Mauk, a redshirt freshman who lost a quarterback battle with Franklin in the spring, had seen his role dwindle to handing off during mop-up time in the fourth quarter of blowouts. The plan entering the season was to give Mauk a series in the second quarter of each game, but Franklin’s excellence and the tight margins of the games scotched those plans after Week 2. Mauk said he wasn’t bitter.
"I’m the No. 2. James should be the one playing," said Mauk, who completed 3 of 3 passes for 23 yards. "Whether I was getting those snaps or not, didn’t matter. I was still pushing him in practice, trying to get him better and vice-versa. It’s going to be different for the rest of the season, for how long I don’t know."
The Missourian: Missouri football upsets No. 7 Georgia with 41-26 win
The Missourian: 'Old-man football': Missouri's playbook had Georgia on its mind
KC Star: Missouri shows everything it’s made of in upset at Georgia
KC Star: Missouri-Georgia game report
Post-Dispatch: Tigers roar, topple Georgia as Franklin is hurt
Post-Dispatch (Burwell): Win at Georgia earns Tigers respect in SEC
(I was going to blurb this piece until I got to the "Put this down as the signature victory of the Gary Pinkel era" part. Come on, dude. This is an incredible win, but it's about No. 3 or 4 at best.)
This team has been beaten to a pulp over the last 12 months. They did a lot of it to themselves with a 5-and-7 regular season. No question. But the ridiculousness of the "Mizzou can never compete in this league, it should run back to the Big 12 with its tail between Truman's legs" outcry from national media had put this program at a low it hadn't seen in a long, long time. Yes, the claims were ridiculous, but you know what? Missouri needed to answer them.
That answer came on Saturday in the form of a 41-26 win over seventh-ranked Georgia. Sure the Bulldogs were beat up, missing five critical skill position players. But you want to talk injuries? Missouri played the last ten minutes of this one without its starting quarterback and the last two-and-a-half quarters without its best defensive player, leaving the secondary playing a true freshman and a redshirt freshman against one of the country's hottest quarterbacks.
After the game, a couple of Tigers said they were sure there would still be skeptics.
"People are gonna keep saying stuff every week," Markus Golden said. "For the rest of the year, they're gonna find more and more stuff to say. So you can't even listen to what people say. Me, myself, I don't listen to what people say. I just go out and work harder."
PowerMizzou: The Day After
Fox Sports MW: Road to SEC East title now runs through Columbia -- the one in Missouri
Team Speed Kills: Missouri Tigers 41, Georgia Bulldogs 26: The Tigers Win and Upend the SEC East
SI.com (Campus Union): Missouri upsets Georgia in Athens, opens up SEC East race in 2013
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Georgia Victory
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Georgia Post Game
AJC.com: PHOTOS: Missouri vs. Georgia
Athens Banner-Herald: Post-game videos: Mark Richt, Aaron Murray, Chris Conley and more
Yahoo Sports Radio: L’Damian Washington: Proud Of The Mizzou Tigers
ESPN.com: Missouri WR L'Damian Washington
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHT: Franklin Touchdown Run vs Georgia ties the score at 7
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHT: Washington 16 yard TD catch 14 - 7 Mizzou
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHT: Michael Sam 21 yard fumble return for a TD vs Georgia
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHT: Murphy 36 Yard Touchdown vs Georgia
Mizzou Network: Regions Bank Post-Game: Pinkel after Mizzou downs UGA
Mizzou Network: Regions Bank Post-Game: L'Damian Washington on Mizzou's win over Georgia
Mizzou Network: EXCLUSIVE: Mizzou beats Georgia Lockerroom celebration
Mizzou Network: Regions Bank Post-Game: Markus Golden on Mizzou's win over UGA
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHTS: Mizzou downs Georgia 41-26
Mizzou Network: Football Returns from Athens
Seriously, can L'Damian Washington be a team captain every year from this point forward. Perma-captain?
3. From the other side
Dawg Sports: Missouri 41, Georgia 26: Yeah, The Exact Opposite Of That, Please
Senator Blutarsky: About the defense…
Athens Banner-Herald: Missouri upsets Georgia, all but eliminates Bulldogs' BCS title hopes
Athens Banner-Herald: Four turnovers, red-zone troubles plague Bulldogs' injury-laden offense
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Murray runs out of tricks as Bulldogs lose to Missouri
Athens Banner-Herald: Defense can't come up with stops in crucial moments against Mizzou
Athens Banner-Herald: Freshman TBs Douglas, Green hold their own despite struggles
Athens Banner-Herald: No. 25 Missouri makes SEC East statement with upset of No. 7 UGA
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: BRADLEY’S SHORT TAKES: Georgia-Missouri
Augusta Chronicle: Dogs now just good, not great