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University of Missouri

Healed and Hungry

The 2013 Tigers look to improve in the SEC.

Memorial Stadium

Mizzou fans sold out Memorial Stadium for the Tigers’ inaugural game against Georgia Sept. 8, 2012. Photo by Rachel Coward.

Homecoming ’13

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Mizzou football’s SEC initiation was bumpy. Exacerbated by injuries and the nation’s second-toughest schedule in 2012, the team finished 5–7 and missed a bowl game for the first time in eight seasons.

The 2013 Tigers hope to return to form led by experience at the game’s most exciting positions. Senior quarterback James Franklin (Corinth, Texas) enters fall practice atop the depth chart for the third season. Through the air, he’ll look to high-profile wideouts, sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham (Springfield, Mo.) and redshirt senior L’Damian Washington (Shreveport, La.).

Missouri has multiple running backs to share the load with Henry Josey. Doubling as a special teams magician, redshirt junior Marcus Murphy (DeSoto, Texas) set a school record with four touchdown returns on punts and kicks in 2012. Russell Hansbrough, a 5-foot-9-inch sophomore from Arlington, Texas, also proved elusive during spring practice.

The offensive line caught the worst of the injury rash last season, but Coach Gary Pinkel feels confident about his current squad. Sophomore Evan Boehm (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) moves from guard to center in an attempt to rectify the Tigers’ recurrent snapping issues. Boehm will be flanked by fellow returning starters Justin Britt (Lebanon, Mo.) and Max Copeland (Billings, Mont.), both redshirt seniors, and redshirt junior Mitch Morse (Austin, Texas).

On defense, Mizzou looks to replace Sheldon Richardson, the Tigers’ sixth first-round NFL draft pick since 2009. Redshirt junior defensive end Kony Ealy of New Madrid, Mo., is poised for a breakout season, while redshirt senior defensive end Michael Sam (Hitchcock, Texas), redshirt senior linebacker Andrew Wilson (Peculiar, Mo.) and senior cornerback E.J. Gaines (Independence, Mo.) provide leadership and ball-hawking skills.

For the Tigers to improve in 2013, they will need defensive consistency, at least a partial return to the once-trademark offensive explosiveness and continued Saturday sellouts at the ’Zou.

MizzouGameday.com

2013 Football Schedule

08/31 Murray State Columbia
09/07 Toledo Columbia
09/21 at Indiana Bloomington, Ind.
09/28 Arkansas State Columbia
10/05 at Vanderbilt Nashville, Tenn.
10/12 at Georgia Athens, Ga.
10/19 Florida Columbia
10/26 South Carolina (Homecoming) Columbia
11/02 Tennessee Columbia
11/09 at Kentucky Lexington, Ky.
11/23 at Ole Miss Oxford, Miss.
11/30 Texas A&M Columbia