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NCAA Football Missouri Tigers

Maty Mauk Must Prove He Can Lead Missouri Tigers

Mark Zerof, USA TODAY SPORTS

Mark Zerof, USA TODAY SPORTS

Last season, Maty Mauk saw quite a bit of playing time for the Missouri Tigers. With injuries limiting starting quarterback James Franklin, Mauk stepped in and played well, passing for 1,071 yards and 11 touchdowns, with just two interceptions.

However, Mauk now must prove himself all over again. This season, expectations will be high for Mauk and the Tigers, and the redshirt sophomore must show that last season was not a fluke, especially with Southeastern Conference defenses now knowing more about him.

Mauk will also have somewhat of a disadvantage due to an unproven receiving corps. The Tigers no longer have Dorial Green-Beckham, who was dismissed this offseason for violating team rules. That loss will be especially tough for Mauk, who seemed to have good timing with Green-Beckham.

In fact, none of last season’s top three receivers are back for Mizzou. That means the Tigers may lean more on experience than talent this season.

Senior Bud Sasser is back in Columbia, and he could be a prime target for Mauk. In 2013, Sasser caught 26 passes for 361 yards and a touchdown. Head coach Gary Pinkel will need much better production from Sasser this season.

Also returning is senior Jimmie Hunt, who snagged 22 receptions last season for 253 yards and a score.

From there, Missouri must find other pieces to fill out the receiver position. Seniors Garrett Otte and Darius White have some experience, but they will need to step up their games to help Mauk this season.

Mauk is now the man behind center, and he will have to overcome a few obstacles to improve on last season’s performance.

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.