Story by Ryan Gavin
Photo by Naveen Mahadevan
Published Sept. 1, 2013

The Tigers flew out of the gate, starting 2013 in style by racking up nearly 700 yards of offense in a 58–14 route of Murray State.

It was a big night for Mizzou running backs. Sophomore Russell Hansbrough had a breakout performance, rushing just eight times for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Henry Josey, who missed the 2012 season with a knee injury, returned in style by racking up 113 yards and a touchdown on a 68-yard run. After the final whistle, Josey got the game ball.

I’ve been around 23 years as a head coach, been coaching 35 years and never have been involved in giving a ball to a player because it is a team sport,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “After talking with the entire team, coaches, everybody, we brought him a ball and presented it to him. The team ball was for his courage, determination, his guts, his heart, his will for him to come back when there were a lot of people who said he couldn’t.”

Senior quarterback James Franklin was stellar, completing 26 of 38 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns. The captain, dubbed “The Distributor” by Pinkel in his postgame, connected with 11 different receivers including touchdowns to junior Jimmie Hunt, junior transfer Darius White and senior L’Damian Washington.

After I threw the ball, I kind of looked to see who I had thrown to,” Franklin said. “We had a lot of receptions from a lot of different guys, and that’s pretty exciting from my standpoint, just getting to see those guys get the ball.”

Braving a heat index over 100 degrees, 58,038 fans came out on Labor Day weekend. The game was also Military Appreciation Day and Band Day, featuring several Missouri high schools.

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Up next

The Tigers host Toledo on Saturday, Sept. 7, at 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPNU.

We are playing a very good Toledo team next week,” Pinkel said. “It’s going to be huge. Every game is huge.”