The Missouri Tigers bounced back in a big way in 2013, winning the Southeastern Conference‘s Eastern Division after finishing 5-7 last season. For the most part, the Tigers were able to avoid the injuries that plagued them in 2012.
One spot where Mizzou did not go injury-free was at quarterback. Incumbent starter James Franklin went down against the Georgia Bulldogs and ended up missing all of three games, and parts of a couple of others, due to a shoulder injury.
The good news for Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel and his staff is that backup quarterback Maty Mauk was able to step in during Franklin’s absence, and that the Tiger offense never missed a beat. If not for a monumental rally by the South Carolina Gamecocks, the Tigers would have been undefeated heading into the SEC Championship Game.
While it’s never good to have the starting quarterback go down with an injury, Pinkel did get to see what Mauk looked like when facing SEC defenses. And the results were not bad at all. For the season so far, Mauk has completed 51.2 percent of his passes for 1,039 yards, with 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions. The mobile Mauk has also rushed for 156 yards and a score.
Expect to see Mauk logging some time during the Cotton Bowl, where Missouri faces its former Big 12 Conference rival, the Oklahoma State Cowboys. While Franklin will, and should, get the majority of the snaps, this will be another opportunity for Pinkel to put Mauk, his quarterback of the future, into a hostile situation to see how he reacts. And so far, his reaction has been pleasing to the Mizzou faithful.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.