BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In the first quarter of Missouri's 45-28 win on Saturday, quarterback James Franklin missed a coverage, and it resulted in his second interception of the night.
Franklin and the Tigers had been cruising, and if not for the two interceptions, could have put the game away. Instead, Indiana drove down the field and tied the game, putting even more pressure on Franklin and the offense.
The old Franklin would have been frustrated. He would have lost confidence and been pressing on the next series. He also would have continued to try to do too much, which could have caused even more issues for the offense.
But on Saturday night, Missouri was lucky to have the new Franklin, who isn't fazed by the mistakes and continues to trust his receivers — and more importantly himself — regardless of what happens early in the game.
"It's just a mentality thing really," Franklin said. "I know being sad isn't going to change anything, so I move on to the next play."
Franklin did just that, throwing for 343 yards, rushing for another 61 and producing two 100-yard receivers for the first time since he took over as the Tigers' starting quarterback.
"I don't even know what the stats are," coach Gary Pinkel said. "But he's been practicing like this since during camp."
Missouri has started to rally around Franklin. While he spent much of last season as a scapegoat, battling various injuries and inconsistent play, his teammates and coaches have been quick to praise the quarterback early in 2013.
Offensive coordinator Josh Henson even took the blame for Franklin's interceptions.
"He would like to have a couple of those balls back in the first half, but the other thing is I can call some better plays for him too," Henson said. "We called those thinking we were getting different coverage."
"It was a good learning experience. The thing I was happy with is that he still came back and played really well when we needed the big plays."
The praise may have been nice for the younger, less mature Franklin. But the senior captain has become an expert at blocking out the noise, good or bad. That's something he learned in his lowest moments last season, and something that has helped make him the leader Pinkel wants for his offense.
Missouri doesn't mind the mistakes, just as long as Franklin's new mentality helps make sure he doesn't stay down for long.