ORLANDO, Fla. • To hear Mizzou freshman receiver Dorial Green-Beckham tell it, his breakout 80-yard touchdown reception on Saturday afternoon against Central Florida didn't feel much different than it might have in practice.
And after breaking a tackle around the 50 yard-line and dashing untouched the rest of the way, he distinctly responded as if he'd been there before: He simply dropped the ball in the end zone and didn't so much as raise his arms before he turned towards a horde of teammates coming to congratulate him.
Still, it was a major moment for Green-Beckham, the consensus top incoming recruit in the nation who entered the game with six catches for 48 yards and no touchdowns in his first four collegiate games.
"We've just got to be patient," he said, adding that he felt MU has taken the right approach to breaking him in and noting, "There's going to be a lot more balls."
This ball came on a play that normally would go to T.J. Moe.
But before the play, quarterback James Franklin in the huddle told Green-Beckham he'd be looking at him and to 'stay skinny," referring to the 'skinny post" route he was to run.
Green-Beckham told himself, "The ball's going to come my way somehow."
Braced as DGB might have been, though, Moe said, "We hadn't even hit that hardly in practice."
But Franklin hit him coming out of his cut, and he accelerated through a would-be tackler to give MU a 10-7 lead on the way to a 21-16 victory and take another step toward his promising future.
NO MORE TENTATIVE-ITIS
Franklin had his best game of the season, completing 19 of 30 passes for 257 yards with a TD and an interception. At least four passes were dropped, another was on-target but broken up and he threw away two others.
Despite recent struggles, at least in part because of a shoulder inflammation, Franklin said he came into the game confident from a good week of practice.
And it was evident that he wasn't afflicted by the tentativeness that marked his play a week ago.
"I thought James was awesome," Moe said, adding, "A healthy James is what you're seeing."
After the game, MU defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was allowed to speak with the media for the first time since Sept. 1, when his blurtings about Georgia and "old man football" became a theme of that week's game.
Richardson said he spoke with Georgia coach Mark Richt and told him "best of luck to you the rest of the season" and "that comment shouldn't have gotten blown out of proportion. (Richt) said, 'I respect you more for coming and saying that.' "
Meanwhile, Richardson continues to rack up respect on the field.
He entered the game with 24 tackles, and he had nine on Saturday — including six unassisted and two for a loss — and preserved the win with a fumble recovery.
After allowing 269 yards in the first half, MU's defense yielded 126 in the second.
• Kendial Lawrence rushed for 104 yards on a career-high 19 carries, including 18 in the second half .
• MU entered the game 107th in the nation in third-down conversions (30.7 percent), then was just one of 11.