Franklin returns in limited capacity
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Missouri senior quarterback James Franklin warmed up for the second straight week Saturday at Kentucky, but he didn’t start.
But Franklin did make an appearance for five snaps in the fourth quarter and is expected to return to the lineup Nov. 23 at Mississippi when the Tigers return from a bye week.
“Our medical staff felt that (Franklin) could play on an emergency basis only,” MU coach Gary Pinkel said. “We would be very limited in what we could call. … Our whole thing was we did not want him to get touched.”
As a result, Franklin, who has been sidelined since suffering a sprained shoulder in the fourth quarter Oct. 12 at Georgia, played two series and handed off on all five snaps.
“We just wanted to get some reps with him,” Pinkel said. “He hadn’t played for a few weeks. … I didn’t really want him to throw the football. He’s been throwing the ball great in practice the last few weeks, but the biggest thing is can he take that hit.”
Pinkel said there was value in simply returning to the field.
“You’re out there and you’re in the arena a little bit, you’re back in it a little bit,” Pinkel said.
Franklin was initially expected to miss three to five weeks.
“With these two weeks, he’ll start for us,” Pinkel said. “He’ll be ready to start when he comes back.”
• Junior Duron Singleton stepped in when sophomore Ian Simon needed to get an ankle taped and played significant minutes as Missouri’s nickel back, finishing with seven tackles and two tackles for a loss.
Simon returned in a limited role, but Singleton impressed in his place.
“(Singleton’s) been playing more and actually we were going to sub him a little more this week,” Pinkel said.
• Sophomore wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham wore a boot to the post-game news conference after suffering a sprained ankle late in the third quarter.
Pinkel also said that senior wide receiver L’Damian Washington picked up a toe injury, but that junior Marcus Murphy, who fumbled on a kickoff return and punt return (through the latter was negated by penalty), wasn’t injured.
“(Murphy) just lost the ball a couple times and we thought the right thing to do was give him a pause there for a little bit,” Pinkel said.
• Missouri matched its season-high with seven sacks against Kentucky. The Tigers also racked up seven sacks Oct. 5 at Vanderbilt.
Junior defensive end Kony Ealy led the way with two sacks, taking advantage of the Wildcats’ undersized offensive line.
“They got exposed on some things, because (Missouri’s defensive line) got some one-on-one,” Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown said of his offensive line’s struggles. “Those guys are good. Those guys over there are going to make a lot of money.”
Senior Donovan Bonner, juniors Markus Golden, Matt Hoch and Lucas Vincent and sophomore Shane Ray also recorded one sack each. It was the fifth straight game with a sack for Ray, a Bishop Miege graduate.
| Tod Palmer, email@example.com