SHREVEPORT, La. - Missouri made sure its final football game as a member of the Big 12 Conference was decided early.
James Franklin ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, and the Tigers easily beat North Carolina, 41-24, on Monday night in the Independence Bowl.
Missouri (8-5) ended the season on a four-game winning streak for the first time since 1965. The Tigers will join the Southeastern Conference next fall, and they showed one reason they should be a factor immediately: the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Franklin, a sophomore who was named the game's most valuable player on offense. He rushed for 142 yards and threw for 132 in the cold and rain at Independence Stadium. Franklin led the Tigers to 31 first-half points - an Independence Bowl record.
For North Carolina (7-6), a season that started with a promising 5-1 record ended with a lopsided loss. The Tar Heels lost five of their final seven under interim coach Everett Withers, who is leaving to become defensive coordinator at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.
Missouri's mascot - Truman the Tiger - shattered most of the original Independence Bowl trophy in a pregame accident. The Tigers were more than happy to claim the replacement.