New role for Mauk, similar outcome for Tigers

Franklin starts, but Mauk leads scoring drive in reserve role.
Senior quarterback James Franklin threw for 142 yards and ran for 42 more in his first game starting in six weeks. The Tigers defeated Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., 24-10. Daily Mississippian

For Maty Mauk, Ole Miss felt like Georgia.

“It was loud,” Mauk said. “Their fans were here early and they were yelling at us.... It just gave you that extra edge. You wanted to come out here and play in front of all these people.”

And like Georgia, Mauk, Mizzou’s redshirt freshman quarterback, wasn’t the starting quarterback. With senior starter James Franklin returning from a shoulder separation, Mauk, for the first time in four weeks, was the Tigers’ backup.

He didn’t throw the ball 36 times like he did against Florida. He didn’t run for 114 yards like he did against Tennessee.

Missouri topped Mississippi 24-10. Mauk was 3-8 through the air for 83 yards, and he’s comfortable with it.

“The last four or five weeks have prepared me, so when I come in I see what’s going on,” he said.

Mauk took the mental reps. He said he thought of where to throw the ball.

Then Missouri stalled on two straight drives, so it was Mauk’s turn.

He threw for 11 yards to junior Jimmie Hunt. He rushed for two yards. Then, a 60-yard strike to junior Bud Sasser that set up an a 33-yard field goal.

“It was a big boost in the offense,” Franklin said. “Because I think, the previous (drive), we went three and out. So for him to be able to make that throw and Bud to run the route, if he were a little faster maybe we would get a touchdown.”

But despite the success, Mauk never went back in. Coach Gary Pinkel said he didn’t even discuss with his staff keeping Mauk in to start the second half. The Tigers wanted Mauk to go in eventually, Pinkel said, but he didn’t want to ruin their momentum.

In a way, it was the same player under center, according to senior running back Henry Josey.

“I don’t think there is a difference (between Franklin and Mauk),” Josey said. “I mean, same quarterback. They both can throw the ball — with the right arm, especially. They both do a great job and they have that confidence. There’s no difference; they’re two confident guys, and they do a great job in the game.”

But on a personal level, it was different for Josey.

“It feels great,” Josey said of having Franklin back. “I can play around again, and joke around with (Franklin) like I always did during games, and just talk with him about stuff.

“I felt stronger having him back.”

So did senior receiver L’Damian Washington. He rose through the depth chart with Franklin.

“We’ve been connected since we were on third team together, and just to be on first team together — this team’s on a roll right now, and I think a lot of credit goes to him,” Washington said. “I think people kind of forget what he did for our team at the beginning of the year. Maty Mauk did a great job, but James is our leader; he’s our captain. And when he’s out there, it’s kind of a different ball game.”

The Tigers want to be a part of history.

“We love the 2007 team,” Washington said. “But we want the 2013 team to be remembered forever, and that’s our goal.”

That’ll start by defeating Texas A&M in Columbia on Nov. 30. If the Tigers win, they’ll be headed to Atlanta to play in the Southeastern Conference Championship.

Something less certain, though, is how much Mauk will play.

“Whatever they tell me to do,” Mauk said, “I’m going to be ready for all the scenarios.”

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