Missouri Tigers Football: Maty Mauk's Play Forcing Gary Pinkel's Hand At Quarterback?

By Patrick Schmidt
Maty Mauk, James Franklin
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri teased us with the idea that James Franklin would be healthy to start at Kentucky, but Gary Pinkel made the smart move, erring on the side of caution and sitting him for the game against the woeful Wildcats.

Franklin had missed the past three games after injuring his shoulder in the win at Georgia, and his coach said he could have played last week if Maty Mauk struggled against Tennessee, but he didn’t and Franklin didn’t need to come in.

However, his status for Kentucky was very much in question leading up to Saturday. But with a bye week looming and Mauk capable of beating Kentucky, giving Franklin two more weeks for Ole Miss was the right move. Although it was odd to see Franklin come in late in the game, but perhaps that was a move to knock the rust off?

Rushing Franklin for the start at Kentucky to risk a setback would have been a panic move, and with Mauk playing so well, there was no need to risk Franklin’s health. If Missouri is going to have a shot at winning the SEC east and the SEC Championship Game, they need a healthy Franklin to do so.

But could there be a potential quarterback controversy after Mauk threw five touchdowns against the Wildcats?

This is Franklin’s team and Mauk did exactly what he was supposed to do as the team’s backup. He was a missed field goal away from potentially being undefeated as a starter. He gained some invaluable experience over the past month, and that will be beneficial for he and Missouri next year.

But make no mistake about it, Franklin is the leader of this team, and with a rejuvenated Ole Miss team up next, will need him at his best to win in Oxford.

Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and Google and email him at SchmidtPatrick@gmail.com for media inquiries.

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