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Unbeaten Missouri Loses Star QB

By Christotpher Smith



Missouri quarterback James Franklin (shoulder) may miss the rest of the regular season, which puts the Tigers' surprise start in serious jeopardy. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.
Missouri quarterback James Franklin (shoulder) may miss the rest of the regular season, which puts the Tigers' surprise start in serious jeopardy. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

Missouri football fans chased elation with depression Sunday as it appears star quarterback James Franklin will miss an extended amount of time with a shoulder separation.

Franklin suffered a Grade 2 separation during Saturday's upset over then-No. 7 Georgia, a source told CBS Sports.

The network reported that Franklin is expected to miss at least six weeks, which would hold him out until the regular season finale against Texas A&M. Coach Gary Pinkel refuted the timetable Sunday.

"Anything out there about how long he'll be out is false," Pinkel said.

Franklin, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior, has completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 14 touchdowns and three interceptions, throwing for a career-best 8.1 yards per attempt and adding 290 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Missouri football embarrassed itself last season, its first in the SEC. The Tigers finished 5-7 and won just two conference games, a large step back from six consecutive seasons with at least eight victories.

Subsequently, many in the media did not expect much from the Tigers this year competing with Georgia and South Carolina, expected BCS championship contenders, and Florida, which won 11 games last season. Even a resurgent Vanderbilt got more publicity as an SEC East darkhorse.

But Missouri fleeced Vandy, 51-28, on Oct. 5, and took advantage of a wounded Georgia team Saturday to claim a spot atop the SEC East. Alabama is the only other SEC team without a conference loss.

Now Missouri almost certainly must face the Gators and Gamecocks the next two weeks with Maty Mauk, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound freshman with six pass attempts in his college career. The Tigers did score touchdowns on both drives with Mauk at quarterback in the fourth quarter Saturday, which helped ensure the upset against the Bulldogs.