Missouri Tigers: James Franklin Defying Expectations
The Missouri Tigers moved their way up to No. 25 after defeating SEC foe Vanderbilt 51-28 in Week 6. After early speculation that quarterback James Franklin would have trouble bouncing back after missing several games last season from shoulder, knee and head injuries, he has been nothing less than impressive.
In his senior season, Franklin has helped lead the Tigers to a 5-0 start to remain the only undefeated team in the SEC East. Against Vanderbilt, Franklin was 19-of-28 for 278 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He led the Tigers on scoring drives on their first six possessions, including three touchdowns and three field goals. Franklin also added 63 yards rushing.
Head Coach Gary Pinkel praised his quarterback, who has been able to utilize several receivers every game. In the Vanderbilt game itself, Franklin connected with six different receivers. Franklin has had help from Missouri’s exciting spread offense which has been retaining receivers and exploiting defenses.
The real test for Franklin comes against SEC East rivals Georgia, Florida and South Carolina in the coming weeks for the Tigers. Last season, the Tigers didn’t even make a bowl appearance in their first season in the SEC. This is sure to change this year, but it is a matter of how far Franklin can carry the team and his ability to stay healthy, especially after a history of injuries.
If his accuracy of 67 percent holds and he is able to continue to distribute the ball across the board, Franklin’s NFL stock is sure to rise, and the Tigers could be bound for an even higher rank after some key upsets within the SEC.
Lahari Subraveti is a College Football and NFL writer for Rant Sports. Follow her on Twitter: @Lahari_S