In our final 2013 Missouri position review, ShowMeMizzou.com takes a look back at the QB position during the Tigers 12-2 season, a season that many have called "the greatest season in Missouri history".
According to Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel, senior QB James Franklin was "playing as well as anyone in the country" through the Tigers first five-and-three-quarters games. That's when he was driven into the ground after the whistle at Georgia, and he suffered a shoulder sprain from which he has reportedly recovered, although he has never really gotten back to playing at his pre-injury level. By his own admission, he hasn't played as well since his return from injury as he was playing before he went down in the second half at Georgia.
Before the Cotton Bowl, Franklin said that a win in Dallas would probably be the best win of his career. In any case, James Franklin was the starting QB on the best team to date of the Gary Pinkel era, and arguably the best team in Missouri history.
Franklin played in 11 games in 2013, and he was 9-1 as the starter. He finished his senior season 198-319-6 (62.1%) for 2429 yards and 19 TDs through the air. His completion percentage and passer efficiency rating both took a big hit in Dallas, and he finished his senior season with a passer efficiency rating of 141.92. In addition, Franklin rushed for 510 yards and 4 TDs on 122 carries (4.2 yards/carry).
For his career, Franklin has rushed for 1729 yards on 450 carries (3.8 yards/carry) and has scored 21 rushing TDs. And while Franklin's running ability was always a concern for opposing defenses, it's in the passing game where Franklin has been the most effective. For his career, Franklin was 586-943-25 passing for 6962 yards and 51 TDs. His 62% career completion percentage and his 136.70 career passer efficiency rating each rank second in Missouri history, trailing only Daniel in each category. In other words, James Franklin leaves Missouri as the second most accurate and efficient passer in school history.
Fortunately for Missouri, when Franklin was injured and missed the next four starts, red-shirt freshman Maty Mauk stepped into the void and performed very well, especially for a young QB. Mauk ended up playing in 13 games, and he compiled a 3-1 record in his 4 starts.
On the season, Mauk was 68-133-2 (51.1%) for 1071 yards and 11 TDs, which equates to a passer efficiency rating of 143.06. I find that passer efficiency rating amazing in light of a 51% completion rate. And after having watched Mauk hit numerous defenders in the hands and throw quite a few other errant passes, it's amazing to me that he ended up with just 2 interceptions.
To be sure, Mauk improved dramatically during the 2013 season. He was a lot better in game 6 than he had been in game 2, and he really got better after game 8.
Since the end of the season, Coach Pinkel has said that Mauk "has a good chance" to be the starter for Missouri next season, and he's also stated that there's "no established starter" going into the spring, and that there will be an open competition at the QB position.
Still, Mauk gained valuable experience, enjoyed some success, and played very well for such a young player. I would say that he has shown a lot of promise, but to be fair, he's done more than show promise. He's shown himself to be quite capable.
To begin the season, sophomore Corbin Berkstresser was Missouri's third-string QB, and he saw very limited action in 2013, with just a single incompletion to show for his season statistics. Berkstresser was injured during practice near mid-season, and he missed much of the remainder of the year.
In Franklin and Berkstresser's absence, freshman Eddie Printz moved up for a time to serve as Mauk's back-up, but fortunately, Coach Pinkel was able to preserve Printz's red-shirt. Another true freshman, Trent Hosick, also took a red-shirt, and he made a contribution on the scout team, as well.
If Missouri has learned anything in their first two years about the SEC, it's that you need a capable back-up QB. And in 2013, the Tigers had one.