A winning night for James Franklin

COLUMBIA --- This turned out to be a good night for James Franklin.

But for James Franklin, it was an absolutely lousy night.

For the former, this just doesn't happen very often.

This James Franklin is the head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores, doormats of SEC football and life-long bottom feeders of the NCAA.

For the latter, it's happening more often.

This James Franklin, the Missouri quarterback, was hurt again and Missouri lost again, as the bottom-feeders gobbled up the Tigers 19-15 in a hard-to-watch affair before a disappointed gathering of 66,250 chilly fans at Faurot Field.

So, Missouri is still looking for its first-ever SEC win.

Next week, the Tigers play Alabama.

Good luck with that.

You could say the excitement of joining the SEC is waning a bit.

"I'm very disappointed, our players are disappointed," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "We just made too many mistakes if we expected to win the football game."

The Tigers (3-3, 0-3 SEC) came into the game hobbling. You could say they left it crawling.

They were without their leading tackler Will Ebner (hamstring); they lost punt return superstar Marcus Murphy (dislocated finger) finger in the first half; and the M*A*S*H unit that is the offensive line lost Mitch Morse (knee) in the second half.

Then there was Franklin, who was 5-for-9 for 56 yards in limited action. He was apparently hurt on his lone rushing attempt, a 23-yard gain.

"He's out for a few weeks," Pinkel said of Franklin, who's also batting a shoulder injury.

Franklin returned to the sidelines in street clothes in the second quarter to join his teammates. On the this night, one teammate he didn't rejoin was Dorial Green-Beckham, whose presence was not required, thanks.

In a way, you could say this game started going up in smoke Thursday night.

But with Franklin, the Tigers outgained the Commodores 128-3 in the early going --- but led only 6-0, having to settle for a pair of short Andrew Baggett field goals.

Field goals instead of touchdowns.

Eight points lost in a four-point loss.

Out went Franklin and in came redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser. Berkstresser did the best he could. Obviously, his best just wasn't very good.

He did find a wide-open Bud Sasser for an 85-yard touchdown play in the fourth quarter. But on his other attempts, he was just 8-of-29 for 104 yards.

Berkstresser only added to the stress level of Missouri fans.

"He's a young player and he was put in a difficult situation," Pinkel said.

The Missouri defense put up a game effort, allowing Vanderbilt just 84 total yards in the first half and 157 through three quarters.

The Commodores (2-3, 1-2) did score a touchdown on a 5-yard run by Zac Stacy with 3:47 left in the first half. This drive was extended, however, when Sheldon Richardson was called for "leaping" --- a 15-yard penalty --- on a Vanderbilt punt.

Here's what Richardson did --- he jumped into the air. Or, he lept.

Yes, really.

Even if you take away this play, the MU special teams weren't very special.

Punter Trey Barrow had a perfect snap goes through his hands and out the end zone for a safety in the final minute of the first quarter, helping the Commodores take a 9-7 halftime lead.

And with the Tigers trailing 16-9, Berkstresser's scoring toss made it 16-15 with 12 minutes left. But the Tigers botched the extra point and still trailed.

"Those plays," Pinkel said, "were huge."

MU's last chance stalled on downs at the Vanderbilt 25.

"Our guys work hard, they battle and they fight," Pinkel said. "They're very competitive and they want to win ... we've been here before and we don't like it.

"We're not going to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves."

Rest assured, nobody else is going to feel sorry for them, either.

Starting with Alabama.