September was a rollercoaster month for Mizzou quarterback James Franklin. A shoulder injury hurt his play and confidence, and some questioned the toughness of the junior. Instead of talking about his on-field actions, there was debate on whether or not he should’ve taken painkillers. Franklin turned in a solid performance against Central Florida to end the month.
Now Franklin has a new opportunity to show why he was praised in the preseason as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in college football. More importantly, he can prove why he’s the face of the program in the month of October.
Coach Gary Pinkel said that Franklin is healthy and “he’s back” at Monday’s Media Day. Franklin’s good health combined with a confidence-boosting win at Central Florida makes October a fresh start.
The Tigers are in search for their first SEC victory after September losses to Georgia and South Carolina. The Tigers have three home conference games in October. Mizzou will be favorites to win against Vanderbilt and Kentucky, and are heavy underdogs against No. 1 Alabama on October 13. There are two winnable games this month and Franklin must make smart throws to gain full backing from the Tigers fans that liked what they saw from back-up Corbin Berkstresser.
It starts this week for Franklin against Vanderbilt. The Commodores are 1-3 and 0-2 in conference play, and just came off a bye week. A week before, Vanderbilt’s defense gave up 48 points and 567 yards to Georgia. It’s a defense that Franklin can attack with his arm and legs.
The Alabama game is a stiff task for Missouri. It is an afternoon game on CBS. The Tigers must execute with little to no error, and Franklin can do his part to impress a national audience. Kentucky is 1-4 and another team that struggles defensively.
October will be a very important month for Franklin to win football games and prove the public wrong. If he does that, his turbulent September will be an afterthought.