Should Missouri Tigers Stick with Maty Mauk Long-Term at QB?


On Saturday night, we saw one of the most peculiar blowouts in the history of college football, as the Missouri Tigers defeated the Florida Gators 42-13 despite the fact that they gained just 119 yards on 49 offensive plays. At the center of the Tigers’ offensive struggles was quarterback Maty Mauk, who is now going through a serious slump after getting off to a hot start in 2014. The redshirt sophomore completed six of 18 pass attempts for 20 yards (an average of just 1.1 yards per attempt) while throwing no touchdown passes and one interception.

Mauk has struggled ever since Mizzou began SEC play. On the road at South Carolina (where, to his credit, he was missing two of his top three receivers from an already depleted group of wideouts), Mauk went 12-for-34 (35.3%) for 132 yards. He was clutch enough to drive the Tigers down the field in the fourth quarter and help them win that game, but somehow his performance has continued to drop off as his receivers have returned. Last week, as the Tigers got shut out on their home turf against Georgia, Mauk went 9-for-21 (42.9%) for 97 yards while throwing four interceptions. Obviously, though he cut down on the turnovers, Mauk didn’t perform much better against the Gators.

Combining Mauk’s performance this year with his midseason spot-starting duty in place of James Franklin last season, he’s only completed more than 50 percent of his passes in one of his seven starts against SEC opponents. That one game was a 48-17 blowout defeat of Kentucky, when Mauk completed 17 of 28 passes for 203 yards and five touchdowns.

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  • Mauk is going to provide a boost to the offense through his proficiency as a runner, but it’s highly debatable whether that’s enough to offset his struggles as a passer. After all, he’s only put up standout numbers on the ground during one SEC game: his 2013 start against Tennessee, when he ran 13 times for 114 yards.

    One would think that since Mauk is now in his third year in the Mizzou system and has 11 starts under his belt, it’s about time for him to start being more consistent. But while many would like to see him challenged by a threat to his starting job, Mizzou has done nothing to even suggest the idea that a competition could be in the works.

    Mauk is the only Mizzou quarterback who has seen any game action this year. Redshirt freshman Eddie Printz, who was a big recruit for the Tigers out of Georgia and was ranked as the number 32 pocket passer in the country according to, did not even see the field in three-touchdown victories over non-conference opponents such as South Dakota State, Toledo, and UCF.

    So while Mauk is struggling, Mizzou is pretty much backed into a corner in regards to making a move at this point. Whereas it was an easy transition when Mauk became the Tigers’ starter midway through 2013, and would have continued to be if the coaching staff wanted to keep Mauk in place after Franklin was healthy, things would be much different in this situation.

    Unlike Mauk, who got his feet wet against non-conference opponents in Murray State and Toledo, Printz would have to be thrown into the fire against one of Mizzou’s final five SEC opponents: Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Tennessee, or Arkansas.

    While Vandy, Tennessee, and Arkansas are having rough years and Kentucky is not traditionally respected as a good football program, it’s simply a different animal for a quarterback to have to see his first action against a team who plays against the country’s best week-in and week-out. Just ask current Tigers third-stringer Corbin Berkstresser, who was pressed into action against a 1-3 Vanderbilt team as a redshirt freshman and went a disastrous 9-for-30.

    So while in an ideal situation, the Tigers would have a prepared quarterback that they could simply plug in and have a chance to win with, that’s just not the case this year. Despite the fact that Mauk is struggling as significantly as he is right now, they’re just going to have to ride it out with him and hope that he can keep it together enough for them to be able to make a second straight SEC Championship Game appearance.