Big 12 spring game recap: Missouri

What happened:

  • James Franklin completed 13-of-21 passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

  • Tyler Gabbert completed 8-of-22 passes for 48 yards and an interception.

  • Cornerback E.J. Gaines had the game's lone interception.

  • The Tigers put in a strong case for most ridiculous spring game scoring system. In the first half, the reserves were spotted a 14-0 lead and ended up beating the starters, 21-10. In the second half, once the score was reset, the offense beat the defense, 3-0.

  • A crowd of about 10,000 showed up on a chilly Saturday.

What we learned:

  • Missouri's quarterback race was already almost certain to continue into the fall, but the Tigers' final few practices, including Saturday, only further complicated the race. Gabbert was pretty clearly outperforming Franklin early in spring practice, but after spring break, Franklin outperformed Gabbert in the final scrimmage and pretty clearly outplayed a struggling Gabbert on Saturday. Gabbert was honored at the game as the team's most improved quarterback, but that improvement didn't show up on the spring's biggest stage. Ashton Glaser (14-of-17, 95 yards) had a pretty good day, but this looks like it's trimmed down to a two-man race. Heading into fall, it looks like a complete toss-up between Gabbert and Franklin, who both enrolled early before last spring.

  • As for an improved player who did show up, take a look at Kony Ealy. The freshman defensive end has had a lot of buzz this spring, and finished with four tackles and one of the game's three sacks. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, he's got some rare size, and as part of a loaded Missouri defensive line, he should be fun to watch this fall.

  • Missouri's biggest strength really seems to have shifted to the defensive side of the ball, which is a bit surprising considering how the program has operated under Gary Pinkel. In terms of experience, that's definitely the case. Brad Madison looks likely to blossom into a star next season, and defensive back Kip Edwards might do the same. The defensive line speaks for itself, and Zaviar Gooden is loaded with potential at linebacker. T.J. Moe and Michael Egnew rack up plenty of receptions, but beyond them, the Tigers don't look likely to put another offensive player on the preseason All-Big 12 team. Someone will have to surprise if Missouri's offense is going to put a player on the postseason team.

They said it:

"I don’t like getting involved in the process, I like to let it take care of itself. We have two great competitors. We will see where it goes. There is not a timetable. Let the competition begin." -- Pinkel on the Tigers' quarterback competition.

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