Missouri absolutely gashed North Carolina up and down the field last night in the Independence Bowl in Louisiana and won 41-24. The Tigers’ sophomore quarterback James Franklin, who was 15 for 23 for 132 yards and a touchdown, led Missouri. Franklin also led the charge on the ground carrying 18 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
SEC fans will have to deal with Franklin next year both on the ground and through the air as a new contender in the SEC East. Franklin threw for 2,733 yards and 20 touchdowns on the year during the regular season, and he also ran for 839 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground as well. He’s a legit dual-threat quarterback in any league.
But can Missouri run the spread offense in the SEC?
No one thought it was seemingly possible until Urban Meyer did it at Florida with Tim Tebow. And then Auburn did it with Cam Newton. Is Franklin and Missouri next in the short line of quarterbacks and programs that can run the spread offense in the SEC? We’ll have to find out.
I will submit to you that Missouri is most likely the third or fourth best team in the SEC East right now. Georgia and South Carolina are clearly the top two right now. Then, you have Florida, and who else? Tennessee, Vanderbilt, or Kentucky cannot beat Missouri right now.
Franklin will be a junior next year in Missouri’s first year in the East – a year stronger, and a year more seasoned. The 6-6, 225lb quarterback made UNC look silly, but clearly that UNC team last night is not SEC material. Can Franklin take the pounding in the SEC with 245lb linebackers hitting him head on?
There are a ton of questions that no one can answer right now about Missouri heading into the SEC East and how they will compete, but they will have a seasoned quarterback leading the charge. That always increases your chances.
I can’t wait to see Missouri running the spread against good SEC defenses. It will be fun to watch.