Since Saturday, a narrative has developed: Mizzou would be a legitimate contender for the SEC East if James Franklin hadn’t got hurt. But without their senior quarterback, who’s out 3-5 weeks with a shoulder separation, the Tigers probably don’t have a chance.
Redshirt freshman Maty Mauk will make his first career start this Saturday in Columbia against No. 22 Florida, which brings a defense that ranks in the top five for a truckload of categories: scoring defense (4th), total defense (3rd), rushing defense (4th) and passing defense (3rd). The advanced stats back up those raw numbers — the Gators rank third in defensive F/+, and have the nation’s top pass defense by S&P+ (read about these numbers at Football Outsiders).
That’s not exactly the kind of opponent anyone would want a first-time starter to face, but Mizzou coaches said this week they’re not going to alter much with Mauk at quarterback instead of Franklin.
“We’re just gonna run our offense,” Pinkel said, via PowerMizzou. “He’s been doing it for a long time. When he went in the game, we didn’t cross things. We run what we run. That’s what we’re gonna do.”
Mauk completed 3/3 passes for 23 yards and rushed three times for 12 yards in Mizzou’s 41-26 win over Georgia last weekend.
Mauk said he’s confident because Mizzou’s put confidence in him. But the Tigers don’t have a better option, so if they’re going to continue to make noise in the SEC East it’ll be behind Mauk.