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Missouri QB Franklin Expected Back

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Missouri will get back starting quarterback James Franklin in time for a final push to win the SEC East. Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images.
Missouri will get back starting quarterback James Franklin in time for a final push to win the SEC East. Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images.

Missouri has been able to hang onto its SEC East lead despite the absence of James Franklin (shoulder), but the team has to be thrilled to get its starting quarterback for the final two games of the season.

Franklin, who sprained his shoulder Oct. 12 at Georgia, has practiced and warmed up before the last two games, and took five snaps during Saturday's win at Kentucky.

"Our whole thing was we did not want to get him touched," coach Gary Pinkel said after the game according to the Kansas City Star. "I didn't really want him to throw the football. He's been throwing the ball great in practice the last few weeks, but the biggest thing is can he take that hit."

Backup Maty Mauk has completed 50 percent of his passes for 10 touchdowns against two interceptions in four starts, winning three, but has played at a level clearly below Franklin.

The senior from Corinth, Texas, will return to lead the Tigers Nov. 23 at Ole Miss and Nov. 30 against Texas A&M. The team can clinch an SEC championship berth against either Alabama or Auburn by winning both.

"With these two weeks (before the Ole Miss game), he'll start for us," Pinkel said. "He'll be ready to start when he comes back."