The Missouri Tigers have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2013 season, jumping out to a 6-0 start and top 25 ranking just one season after a disastrous debut in the SEC in 2012. They got a huge win last week when they knocked off the Georgia Bulldogs but suffered a major loss when quarterback James Franklin was lost to a separated shoulder. This week, they turned the offense over to freshman Maty Mauk and he responded by leading an absolute dismantling of the Florida Gators.
Florida has been one of the toughest defenses in the entire country and has been stingy with the yards and points they’ve given up in conference play. That all changed on Saturday against the Tigers as Missouri shredded the Gators for 500 total yards of offense. Mauk led the way throwing for 295 yards and a touchdown and capped the scoring off for the day with a 17-yard scramble for six late in the 4th quarter. He was poised and led the offense seemingly without any resistance.
With Mauk breaking out against arguably the best defense Mizzou has seen this season, the Tigers can feel good about their chances of maintaining their hot start while Franklin recovers from injury. The win gives Missouri a huge advantage in the SEC East as they improve to 3-0 in conference play as every other team in the division chasing them has at least two losses in SEC action. Many feared there would be a dropoff and Missouri would falter without Franklin but they look to be just fine with Mauk under center.
It may have been his first start as a freshman against one of the premier teams in the SEC but Maty Mauk was unphased by the spotlight. If he can keep this offense rolling like they did on Saturday, look for the Tigers to finish their hot start with a trip to the SEC title game.