By Matt Fairburn
While some attention surrounding the Missouri football team’s spring camp has been on the quarterback competition, it was the defense that got the job done in the team’s first extended scrimmage, claiming a 24-10 victory over the offense. The score was based on a non-traditional scoring system specific to the scrimmage which rewarded points to each side based on important plays.
Led by senior defensive lineman Michael Sam, the Tiger defense spent plenty of time in the backfield, collecting four sacks and forcing three turnovers. Sam, who had four and a half sacks this past seaspn, collected a sack and a half in Saturday’s scrimmage to go with a tackle for a loss, forced fumble and fumble recovery.
On offense, James Franklin, Maty Mauk and Corbin Berkstresser split reps evenly with the first, second and third team players. Franklin and Mauk separated themselves on Saturday, as each threw a touchdown pass and an interception while Mauk also scrambled for a touchdown.
Mauk showed off his athleticism during the scrimmage, leading all players with 81 rushing yards on eight attempts.
“Maty’s mobility, that’s kind of just the way he is,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “That’s just part of who he is, his makeup. He’s got great feet, he can run, he’s got good speed. You can buy time, extend the play and make things happen.”
Mauk also completed 11 of 19 passes for a team-high 140 yards. Franklin went 13 for 23 passing with 115 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown pass to Dorial Green-Beckham, who led all receivers with seven catches and 81 yards. Berkstresser, meanwhile, lagged behind the pack, connecting on just eight of his 22 passes for 52 yards.
The Tigers may not have a settled situation at quarterback, but the rushing attack is rounding into form. Henry Josey opened up the scrimmage with a 17-yard run as, he works his way back from a knee injury that has kept him out of games since 2011.
“Today was a big step for me,” Josey said.
In total, the offense had four touchdowns on Saturday morning, as reserve running backs Greg White and Miles Drummond found the endzone
Missouri will have one more scrimmage before the Black and Gold Game on April 20.