Pinkel: Franklin will start against Ole Miss

Franklin went into the game at the end of the fourth quarter.
Senior quarterback James Franklin warms up before No. 9 Missouri's 48-17 victory over Kentucky. Coach Gary Pinkel said Franklin will return to the starting lineup from a shoulder injury in two weeks against Ole Miss.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Senior quarterback James Franklin will most likely start against Ole Miss on Nov. 22 following the bye week, coach Gary Pinkel said.

Franklin, sidelined three games with a shoulder injury, was cleared to play in against Kentucky on Saturday in case of an emergency.

Franklin did see some playing time but it wasn’t for an emergency. He replaced redshirt freshman Maty Mauk in the fourth quarter when No. 9 Missouri was on its way to a convincing 48-17 win over the Wildcats.

Franklin did not throw the ball, but that’s what Pinkel said he wanted in postgame remarks. He said the way the coaching staff used Franklin was the ideal thing to do.

“We did not want him to get touched,” Pinkel said.

Franklin sprained his shoulder against Georgia on Oct. 12 and was projected to be out for three to five weeks. He threw the ball during pregame warm-up and Pinkel said he had been throwing well during practice.

In last year’s game against Kentucky needed Franklin to spark the offense and lead the team to victory.

Such an effort wasn’t necessary on the Nov. 9 contest in Lexington, Ky. Mauk threw for five touchdowns, tying a school record. Sophomore receiver Dorial Green-Beckham also had a breakout day with four touchdown catches, setting a school record in the process.

After Pinkel’s comments, this game is most likely Mauk’s last as the starter.

“I go back to the role I had before and do what I can to make this team better,” Mauk said. “It was a great end but a great start all at the same time.”

Mauk is 3-1 in his career as a starter, but Pinkel left little doubt in his postgame press conference that Franklin will start, eliminating questions about a battle for the starting job.

“He will start for us,” Pinkel said.

Senior left guard Max Copeland has enjoyed playing with Mauk and called his performance over the last couple of weeks inspiring.

“That dude is a true rock and roller,” he said. “I love playing with him.”

While it was fun playing with Mauk, Copeland is excited to get Franklin back.

“Whenever you have a brother that is hurt and he comes back to health, you share that joy with him,” Copeland said. “The more guys we can have healthy, the happier we are. We are excited to have another healthy brother.”

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