Maty Mauk, Missouri Tigers Look Bound for SEC Championship Game

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri didn’t need Maty Mauk to be James Franklin in the Tigers’ game vs. Florida to defeat the Gators, they just needed the redshirt freshman to be himself and the rest would take care of itself. Four quarters later, Missouri is still undefeated and controls their fate in the SEC east.

Mauk passed for 295 yards and a touchdown with one interception while adding a score on the ground in a game that should have Tigers fans more than comfortable with Mauk leading the offense for however long Franklin is out with his shoulder injury.

Mauk completed 50 percent of his passes, but he didn’t seem rattled or lacking in confidence against one of the best defenses with arguably the best secondary in the country on Saturday afternoon. I have been preaching for the past few weeks that this team is legit, and yet the public perception is that this team is running into good luck.

They have been discounted by the national media who say they were “lucky” to beat an injury-laden Georgia team, and they’ll say that this team did the same thing against a Florida team without a number of key starters.

How about giving a little credit where credit is due? Missouri is not just a one-man team who would crumble without Franklin. Missouri had 500 yards of offense and held Florida to 151 in the total team win. This team has talent, heart, character and perseverance.

The player on this team who is the embodiment of all these characteristics, Henry Josey, was the MVP in their win over Florida with 136 yards and a touchdown. His biggest play of the game won’t show up in the box score, but it was among the game’s most important.

Josey stopped Brian Poole from running Mauk’s interception back for a touchdown. That could have destroyed Mauk’s confidence and altered the rest of the game, but Josey came up large as he has so often.

It’s time to stop wondering if Missouri is the team to beat in the east and time to start thinking if they can compete with the teams from the west in the SEC Championship Game.

Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and add him to your Google network.

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