COLUMBIA, Mo. — A week after folding in the fourth quarter, Missouri made enough big plays that quarterback James Franklin got some quality down time without feeling guilty.
Corbin Berkstresser ran for a score in his first career start in place of the Franklin, who has a shoulder injury, and Missouri's defense forced four turnovers to ease the pressure on the redshirt freshman in a 24-20 victory over Arizona State on Saturday night.
"It went pretty well, considering we got the win," Berkstresser said. "It was a game-time decision. It was exhilarating."
Coach Gary Pinkel said he told Berkstresser Friday night he might be starting. He said it was Franklin's decision not to play with what the school described as an inflamed bursa sac in the shoulder.
"That's up to James," Pinkel said. "No questions about toughness at all. It was just too painful for him, and he didn't want to play."
Pinkel didn't say whether he thought Franklin would be ready for next week's game at No. 8 South Carolina, Missouri's first SEC road game, saying "We'll find out next week on his health."
Missouri (2-1) led 17-0 in the second quarter and had another 17-point cushion in the third quarter in front of a sellout crowd of 71,004, the school's first for a non-conference game since Notre Dame in 1984. The Tigers held on late a week after fizzling late in a 21-point loss to No. 7 Georgia that spoiled the school's SEC debut.
Marion Grice scored on a pair of fourth-quarter runs that cut the deficit to four for Arizona State (2-1), which had a fumbled snap on the second extra-point kick.
"I'm proud that we came out in the second half and fought like that," said D.J. Foster, who had a 33-yard scoring catch. "But definitely, we beat ourselves."
Kendial Lawrence scored on a pair of short runs, and T.J. Moe was strong overall with eight catches for 88 yards and a 43-yard kickoff return to open the game for Missouri.
Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett made a 46-yard field goal early but missed from 37, 45 and 48 yards. Pinkel said there were problems with snaps throughout the game.
Kenronte Walker made two big plays late, a pass deflection on fourth and goal from the 2 to turn it over on downs and an end-zone interception and 49-yard return to clinch it in the final minute.
"Oh man, I was just running. Know what I mean?" Walker said. "I was eventually going to go out of bounds but if I had a chance to score for the team, I was going to do it."
Missouri had quarterback suspense until just before kickoff with Franklin the final starter announced, followed by intrigue when Berkstresser took the field while Franklin wore a cap and headset on the sideline. It was the first start missed by the Tigers' No. 1 quarterback since coach Gary Pinkel's first season in 2001.
Brad Smith didn't miss a start in four seasons, Chase Daniel made it three years in a row and Blaine Gabbert started every game two years. Franklin had made 15 consecutive starts and warmed up without obvious discomfort prior to the game, throwing several passes of 20 or more yards while watched closely by offensive coordinator Dave Yost.
Berkstresser, who subbed in the season's first two games, got plenty of help early as Missouri built a 17-0 lead. He cost the Tigers a scoring opportunity in the second quarter, throwing into coverage on Brandon McGee's interception at the Sun Devil 3.
The Tigers got touchdown runs from Berkstresser and Lawrence on a pair of 18-yard drives off turnovers, with Kip Edwards recovering a fumble and intercepting Taylor Kelly on consecutive possessions.
Arizona State had 27 total yards before putting together a 66-yard drive near the end of the half fueled by quick hitters and capped by Foster's score on a screen pass from Kelly that took advantage of an overzealous pass rush.
"We faced a lot of adversity, and those kids never broke," coach Todd Graham said. "They never dropped their head, there was never any bickering.
"They stayed true to who we are. Obviously, we're not here just to compete, we're here to win."
ASU punter Josh Hubner fumbled a snap late in the third quarter, recovering the ball after it slipped through his hands and rolled over the top of his head. He still managed to kick the ball, and the desperation 11-yard effort gave Missouri possession at the Sun Devils' 33. Lawrence had a 14-yard reception to the 2, then ran it in from the 1 for a 24-7 lead.