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Will Mauk sink or swim in the first test of his collegiate career?
Week 8 Matchup: vs. No. 22 Florida (4-2), Oct. 19, 12:21 p.m. ET
Fresh off an upset over then-No. 7 Georgia last weekend and an 11-spot jump in the latest AP Poll, the Tigers’ spirits should be flying high entering this weekend.
Unfortunately, that just doesn’t appear to be the case.
Sure, playing a stifling Gators defense is tough enough. However, doing so with redshirt freshman Maty Mauk making his debut at quarterback takes the cake.
Needless to say, this one isn’t going to end well.
With starter James Franklin out for three to five weeks, via The Associated Press, head coach Gary Pinkel and Missouri had no choice but to turn to Mauk to keep the undefeated season alive—a quarterback with just six career pass attempts.
OK, he’ll likely have a rowdy crowd behind him. However, they won’t be able to save him from going up against one of the toughest defenses in the nation.
Through six games, Florida ranks No. 4 in scoring defense (13.0 PPGA), No. 3 in total defense (235.3 YPGA), No. 3 against the pass (152.0 YPGA) and No. 2 in pass efficiency defense (85.5 QBR). Furthermore, the unit hasn’t allowed a single quarterback to throw for more than 165 yards through the air.
Expect Pinkel to try and rely heavily on the ground game to take pressure off of Mauk. However, the Gators are pretty good at stopping the run too—No. 4 in the nation (83.3 YPGA).
Sooner or later, Mauk will have to throw.
And it likely won’t end well.