By Tim Kaiser, Editor-in-Chief
The Missouri Tigers overcame a season-ending injury to their star quarterback, James Franklin, to beat the seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in Athens 41-26.
Mizzou moved to 6-0, 2-0 in the SEC and took sole possession of first place in the SEC East. The victory was historic as it was Mizzou’s first over a top 10 team on the road since 1981 and ended Georgia’s 15-game home winning streak.
The high of the huge road win was dulled considerably due to the separated shoulder of Franklin. Early in the fourth quarter, a defender landed on Franklin hurting his shoulder and forcing him to leave in obvious pain. Bruce Feldman of CBS sports reported that the injury was diagnosed as a Grade 2 shoulder separation. If that report is correct, the recovery time is expected to be six weeks, effectively ending Franklin’s season. Head Coach Gary Pinkel has disputed the seriousness of the injury and does not believe his starting quarterback will miss the rest of the season.
Before leaving the game, Franklin led Mizzou to a 28-26 lead off one passing and one rushing touchdown. He threw for 170 yards by completing 18 of 27 attempts.
Franklin’s replacement, freshman Maty Maulk gave Tigers hope for the future as he was able to come in under fire in the games biggest moment and complete all three of his passes, rush for a key first down, and lead the Tigers on two touchdown drives to close out the win.
The most impressive performance of the day came from senior wide receiver, L’Damian Washington. Washington hauled in 7 passes for 115 yards and 2 touchdown. His biggest touchdown of the day was not even thrown by a quarterback. Just minutes after Franklin exited, Maulk threw a pass to the sideline that wide receiver Bud Sasser caught. Sasser then looked up field and threw a 40-yard pass to the corner of the end zone. Washington made a tremendous leaping grab over the Georgia defender.
The Mizzou defense arguably played the biggest role in the game, as they were able to turn over Heisman candidate Aaron Murray three times. Mizzou defenders picked off Murray twice in the final five minutes to seal the victory. They kept a high-powered, but beaten-up Georgia 11 points from their season total.
The now fourteenth-ranked Tigers will put their unbeaten record on the line against No. 22 Florida (4-2, 3-1) in Columbia. Maulk will start in place of Franklin. Florida is coming off a 17-6 loss to LSU in Death Valley.