Missouri football: Franklin back, but 'Maty will definitely play'

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 | 8:35 p.m. CST
Missouri quarterback James Franklin rolls out for a pass as Tennessee linebacker Curt Maggitt falls on the ground during the third quarter of the football game on Nov. 10, 2012, in Knoxville.

COLUMBIA — When Missouri goes to Ole Miss on Nov. 23, one of the Tigers’ most exciting players will be back on the bench.

Well, sort of.

Quarterback comparison

James Franklin (2013 stats): 67.7 percent completion rate for 1,577 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. Has also added 290 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Maty Mauk (2013 stats): 51.7 percent completion rate for 951 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. Has also added 160 yards and one touchdown on the ground.

Missouri at Mississippi — 6:45 p.m. CT, Nov. 23

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Redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk has electrified fans over the past four weeks with his strong arm and scrambling ability, but senior James Franklin is back to claim his spot at the top of the depth chart.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said that his young playmaker would still get playing time in the coming weeks.

“Maty will definitely play,” Pinkel said in Wednesday's conference call. “There’s no question about that. He’s certainly earned the right to do that.”

No one knows how much Mauk will play, though. Pinkel said the decision on how much playing time he gets will be made by the coaches next Thursday.

After being forced into action by an injury to Franklin on Oct. 12, Mauk collected 10 passing touchdowns and two interceptions in starts against Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.

But the three-time SEC Freshman of the Week will be relegated to second string in practices leading up to the next game.

“I think our players have great respect for Maty and certainly trust him,” Pinkel said. “I don’t know if we need a huge confidence boost — they trusted Maty — but I think James obviously with his experience level has been around for a while and has a great relationship with his teammates. It’s certainly positive.”

Ole Miss will be a challenging game in a tough road environment. The Rebels have already upset Texas and LSU this year. After a matchup with Troy this weekend, they’ll begin preparing for Missouri and its “new” starting quarterback.

Before his shoulder injury against Georgia, Franklin completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 14 touchdowns against three interceptions. He also amassed 290 yards and three scores on the ground, and his play was beginning to draw comparisons to some of the best players in the nation.

“James was having as good a year as any quarterback in the country when he got hurt four weeks ago,” Pinkel said.

Franklin is now back in the fold, but Missouri won't keep Mauk on the sideline for long.

Supervising editor is Erik Hall.

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