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James Franklin provides 'lift' for Missouri Tigers vs. Kentucky

Missouri Tigers quarterback James Franklin was restricted but provided a calming influence against Kentucky.

Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE

With Corbin Berkstresser starting and struggling through the first half and into the third quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, Missouri Tigers coach Gary Pinkel decided to roll the dice with James Franklin, who was sitting out after suffering a knee strain weeks prior.

Pinkel said his staff discussed the possibility earlier in the week, according to the postgame transcript, and with five minutes left in the third quarter and Missouri leading 17-10, Franklin was inserted into the starting lineup.

"We needed a play," Pinkel said. "With great restriction, we got the OK from the medical staff. Corbin (Berkstresser) was struggling. He's not the first quarterback to ever struggle at all and won't be the last.

"I think any time you get a veteran player that comes in, who was the MVP of the bowl last year and had great success as a sophomore and plays the position and knows it well, I think that gives our offense a little bit of a lift. It's natural. It's nothing against Corbin (Berkstresser), it's just natural."

Franklin mostly handed the ball off to the Tigers' running backs, who amassed 186 yards on the ground. Kendial Lawrence led the way with 108 yards on 23 carries, as Franklin went 6-for-9 passing for just 16 yards.

Prior to Franklin's insertion, Berkstresser was struggling. The freshman completed 10-of-18 passes for 70 yards but also threw two interceptions.

The switch at quarterback leveled Missouri's play, as the Tigers rolled to a 33-10 victory.