Thanks to Auburn’s miraculous win over Georgia and South Carolina holding on against Florida, Mizzou has to win its final two games to reach the SEC Championship.
They’ll embark on that quest with James Franklin back as their starter, coach Gary Pinkel confirmed Monday. The Mizzou quarterback, who injured his shoulder in the Tigers’ Oct. 12 win over Georgia, has been completely cleared to play. Redshirt freshman Maty Mauk, who threw for 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in four starts in Franklin’s stead, will play a to-be-determined role against Ole Miss and Texas A&M, Pinkel said.
Before Franklin’s injury, he accounted for 17 touchdowns (14 passing, three rushing) and 1,867 yards of total offense (1,577 passing, 290 rushing). Getting him back is a huge boost for Mizzou’s chances at Ole Miss, which has a win over LSU to its name as well as close losses to Texas A&M and Auburn.
A win in Oxford would set up one of the biggest games ever at Faurot Field, with Texas A&M coming to Columbia with a spot in the SEC Championship on the line. While Mauk was more than serviceable in place of Franklin, he wasn’t able to push Mizzou past South Carolina (a win in that game, as things stand now, would’ve locked up the SEC East for Mizzou).
A healthy Franklin gives Mizzou its best chance of making it to Atlanta. If he’s as healthy as the Mizzou camp says he is, those chances just got a lot better.