(COLUMBIA, Mo.) — The Missouri Tigers (5) are in their second year in the Southeastern Conference, but will play Auburn (3) for the championship on Saturday.
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, who is a National Coach of the Year candidate, has led his team to a 11-1 season after finishing 5-7 last season.
Still, Missouri suffered a blow earlier this season when starting quarterback James Franklin missed four games after injuring his shoulder against Georgia in mid-October. Maty Mauk filled the void.
“I think everybody knows at this level, when you lose a starting quarterback who is having a great year, then all of a sudden you have to put a redshirt freshman in there who hasn’t played very much, [it’s tough],” Pinkel said. “…He did a phenomenal job. We’re very fortunate to have a player play at that level.”