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Friday, October 24, 2014

Mauk shines as reserves top starters in final scrimmage

Quarterback throws for 130 yards and runs for a touchdown.

April 19, 2014

The maturation of Maty Mauk continued Saturday afternoon.

The sophomore quarterback went 11-for-15 for 130 yards and a rushing touchdown against the second-team defense, highlighting Missouri’s annual Black and Gold Game at Faurot Field.

The “Tiger 2” reserves used a late touchdown from incoming freshman quarterback Marvin Zanders to steal a 21-20 win against the “Mizzou 1” starters. The reserves started the game ahead two touchdowns.

The game concluded Mauk’s first spring as the starting quarterback and the leader of the offense.

Mauk completed seven straight passes at one point. He hit 73.3 percent of his targets, much higher than his 51.1 percent from the 2013 season.

He scored the only touchdown with starters on the field, a three-yard run to the right side.

The Kenton, Ohio, native went through his progressions and checked down on a number of plays. Running backs caught four of his 11 completions.

“Just knowing these backs now, I know where they’re going to be every play,” Mauk said as he signed autographs for a swarm of fans. “If I hang on something too long, I know I’ve got the backs, I know exactly right where they’re going to be.”

It wasn’t just short passes, though. On his second attempt of the game, Mauk zipped one down the seam into the hands of senior receiver Darius White for a 38-yard completion.

Mauk spread the wealth, hitting seven different receivers on the afternoon.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said the game slows down for quarterbacks in their second season, helping them read defenses and make better decisions.

Mauk won the award for most improved quarterback from spring practices.

“You’d like him to come back now and make the same improvement now from Aug. 1 until Sep. 1,” Pinkel said.

Mauk often had ample time to throw and wasn’t sacked.

“We’re excited about the offensive line,” sophomore center Evan Boehm said. “We had a good day today, but we just have to keep Maty protected and keep him off the ground, but at the same time, we’re going out there and have a job to do, and when we accomplish those things, it’s going to be special.”

The starters played the first half of the scrimmage. The first-team offense scored 13 points, while the first-team defense shut out the second-team offense.

With sophomore running back Russell Hansbrough out due to injury, junior Marcus Murphy carried the load, rushing nine times for 39 yards.

Junior defensive end Markus Golden disrupted the second-team offense, registering a sack. Sophomore defensive end Shane Ray had four tackles on the day, including another sack.

Golden and Ray will replace Kony Ealy and Michael Sam. Both are expected to play in the NFL next season.

Former Tiger and current New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was on hand for the game. He told the current defensive line to make the playbook they’re own.

“There’s nothing else I have to tell them,” Richardson said. “Do what got you recruited, and you should be fine.”

Sophomore Andrew Baggett converted on two field goal attempts, hitting from 30 and 21-yards.

The offense heated up at the end of the fourth quarter, with the field littered with walk-ons. First, fourth-string redshirt freshman quarterback Trent Hosick hit redshirt freshman Eric Laurent for a 90-yard touchdown.

The next play, fifth-stringer Zanders took off on an 80-yard touchdown run.

With the conclusion of spring practice, the Tigers will go on hiatus until August, when fall camp begins. Missouri opens its season Aug. 30, hosting the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

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