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20 for 20 #7: Tigers Clinch First Ever SEC East Title

In 2013, the kings of the SEC East were the Cinderella Story Tigers of Missouri.

Texas A&M v Missouri Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

2013: No. 5 Mizzou 28 - No.19 Texas A&M 21

It was a brisk December night in Columbia Missouri, but that didn’t stop Tiger fans from packing Faurot Field. Nearly 75,000, all dressed in black, stood in the cold and hoped to witness history: Mizzou claiming their first ever SEC East championship. Mind you, this was the Tigers’ second year as an SEC team, but that only made the victory all that sweeter. Yet as a fitting twist in the story of Eastern glory, what would stand in their way? Why, an old friend from the Big 12, the Aggies of Texas A&M.

In 2013, the job title of quarterback belonged to James “Tanklin” Franklin. Franklin sits at such an interesting place among the great quarterbacks in Mizzou history. Though he wasn’t the flashiest quarterback to play at Mizzou and didn’t accomplish anything in the NFL (his CFL career has been excellent, however), he led this Tiger team to a place that no one thought was possible.

The opposition that night was led by Heisman winning quarterback, “Johnny Football” Manziel. The Aggies were certainly a formidable foe, ranking 19th in the country. They were the fifth top 25 team the Tigers would have to face in the 2013 season, having won three of those four match ups on the year, only losing to South Carolina at home in overtime in tragic fashion. Pinkel and his Tigers crew knew that they could not underestimate Manziel and the Aggies’ high powered offense.

Though the Tigers scored early in the second quarter on a 38-yard touchdown pass to Dorial Green-Beckham, they headed into halftime trailing the Aggies 14-7. A 3rd quarter opening drive rushing touchdown by Marcus Murphy tied the game at 14, and then another touchdown pass to L’Damian Washington gave Mizzou the lead heading into the 4th quarter. Manziel and the Aggies wasted no time in the final quarter, scoring a rushing touchdown early to tie things up at 21.

With the SEC East and a trip to Atlanta for the SEC title on the line, the Tigers had to stop the Aggies offense two more times before they went for a touchdown. With just over three and a half minutes to go in regulation, on a third and one, Franklin gave the handoff to Henry Josey, who slipped right through a hole and broke off for a 57-yard winning touchdown run.

That score propelled Mizzou to their first ever SEC Championship game. They inevitably lost that game to Auburn, but a win would have seen the Tigers headed to their first ever National Championship game in school history. Jameis Winston and the Seminoles were ultimately crowned the kings of college football in the 2013 season. But who knows? If it would of been the Tigers of Mizzou rather than Auburn, maybe it’s a different story...