As is usually the case this early in the year, Mizzou’s defense “won” the first scrimmage of the spring, 24-10.
Dave Steckel’s unit generated three turnovers, two coming on interceptions by redshirt freshman linebacker Michael Scherer. Scherer first picked off Maty Mauk on a pass that was batted up in the air. Later he jumped in front of a James Franklin pass the Tiger quarterback was trying to force into coverage.
Senior defensive end Michael Sam was very disruptive coming off the edge. He recorded 1.5 sacks, forced a fumble and recovered it.
On the offensive side of the ball, much has been made about the three-man quarterback carousel Gary Pinkel is riding to begin the year. Sure enough, James Franklin, Maty Mauk, and Corbin Berkstresser essentially split reps with starters and backups Saturday morning.
At this point, it appears two of those quarterbacks — Franklin and Mauk — have separated themselves.
The incumbent starter, James Franklin, completed 13 of 22 passes (59 percent) for 115 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Franklin, who carried the ball 217 times as a sophomore in 2011, had only one carry Saturday.
Maty Mauk, on the other hand, was Mizzou’s leading rusher in the first scrimmage. Employing the same kind of style in the pocket that Heisman winning Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has made famous, Mauk ran the ball eight times for 81 yards and a 13-yard score.
The redshirt freshman is certainly not shy about using his legs to escape the pocket and extend plays.
In the air, Mauk completed 11 of 19 passes (58 percent) for 140 yards and a 30-yard touchdown to redshirt freshman running back Miles Drummond (Hallsville, Mo.), that was more about the run after the catch than anything else. Mauk checked down to Drummond out of the backfield, who made a couple defenders miss along the sideline and plowed his way into the end zone on the final play of the scrimmage.
Sophomore wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was perhaps the most impressive player on Faurot Field Saturday. The highly-touted wideout caught a team-high seven passes for 82 yards and a 25-yard touchdown from Franklin.
Redshirt freshman Levi Copelin was the next most active pass catcher Saturday, hauling in five passes for 31 yards.
Playing at full speed in a game situation for the first time since injuring his knee two years ago against Texas, Tiger junior tailback Henry Josey ran for 28 yards on eight carries. Head coach Gary Pinkel was gushing with pride after the scrimmage talking with reporters about the adversity Josey has had to overcome, including three separate knee surgeries, to make it back to this point in his career.
Greg White, who scored the first touchdown of the day on a 27-yard run, rushed for 42 yards on four carries.