ARLINGTON — James Franklin didn’t have the game he might have envisioned for himself in his final collegiate game on Friday, but a quick look at the final score was enough to make him forget a subpar individual performance.
The former Lake Dallas standout had a rough outing in his first career game in the Dallas-Fort Worth area but came through in the clutch to give the Tigers a lead with just more than three minutes remaining and eventually beat Oklahoma State 41-31 in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium.
“James kept his composure,” Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said. “You look at a quarterback, and you can point to him easily. But there’s routes, protection and other things most people can’t see. We know exactly why things break down. I thought he came back and did really well for us.”
Franklin found Dorial Green-Beckham for a 27-yard completion on third-and-9 from the Oklahoma State 43-yard line in the final minutes. On the next play, running back Henry Josey scored from 16 yards out to give Missouri a 34-31 lead in a back-and-forth fourth quarter.
Franklin finished the night just 15-for-40 for 174 yards and an interception while rushing for 36 yards.
Backup quarterback Maty Mauk led the the Tigers on a scoring drive in his first action just before halftime, but head coach Gary Pinkel stuck with Franklin for all but one series in the second half.
Pinkel said the decision to play Mauk in the second quarter was one he and his staff made Wednesday.
“He’s been in a lot of clutch games,” Pinkel said of his decision to stick with Franklin. “You generally go with experience. With Maty, we have a really good, young player and we thought it was good to get him in that game.”
Bean has big night
Earlier in the week at Cotton Bowl media day, Oklahoma State senior defensive end Tyler Johnson said he has groomed Jimmy Bean to be a leader of the Cowboys’ defense in 2014 and beyond.
Judging by Bean’s performance in Friday’s loss to Missouri, it looks like the Oklahoma State defense will be in good hands despite losing seven starters to graduation.
Bean, a former Guyer standout who was part of a trio of Wildcats who signed with Oklahoma State in 2011, had a stellar game for the Cowboys to wrap up his redshirt sophomore season.
Bean was one of the players senior linebacker Caleb Lavey mentioned after the loss in talking about the solid core the Cowboys have returning.
“There’s only one way to go and that’s up,” said Lavey after his final collegiate game. “We’ve got a great group of underclassmen here, so I really look forward to the potential of this upcoming group.”
Bean finished the game with seven tackles, including a team-high three stops behind the line of scrimmage and a sack.
Stewart shines before injury
After throwing out the idea earlier in the week that he could declare for the upcoming NFL draft, former Guyer standout and Oklahoma State’s leading receiver Josh Stewart had a big night for the Cowboys before an injury forced him from the game in the final minutes.
Stewart, a junior who led Oklahoma State in receptions the past two seasons, finished his night with eight catches for 84 yards and two carries for seven yards.
He got the Cowboys on the scoreboard for the first time with a 40-yard catch-and-run touchdown with 1:44 remaining in the first quarter to even the score with Missouri.
On the Cowboys’ final drive — when they were trying to either tie the game with a field goal or take a lead with a touchdown — Stewart appeared to have a 19-yard reception for a key first down at the Missouri 30-yard line. But after further review, it was determined Stewart bobbled the ball on his way to the ground.
He got up slowly, then went back to the ground before leaving the field and not returning to the game.
Four plays later, Missouri put the game out of a reach with a 73-yard fumble return for a touchdown from Shane Ray after Clint Chelf was sacked with 55 seconds remaining in the game.
Stewart missed nearly two full games due to injuries during the regular season.
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.