It may not seem like an important game for the struggling Florida Gators football squad, but Saturday’s game against the Georgia Southern Eagles of the FCS is a must win if Florida wants to have any chance of salvaging the season with a bowl game and a .500 record. But the Gators, who continue to be injury-plagued, will be shorthanded again. Starting offensive tackle D.J. Humphries, who has a sprained MCL, and starting corner back Marcus Roberson, who has some kind of leg injury and is also being disciplined for a violation of team rules, are out of Saturday’s game against Georgia Southern. Meanwhile, quarterback Tyler Murphy, with a sprained acromioclavicular joint in his throwing shoulder, has not been ruled out for the game.
Florida’s much maligned offensive line has struggled this season and currently has three starters out with injuries. Even with these three starters out for the past three games, the Gators o-line played well for the most part last Saturday against South Carolina. Florida rushed for 200 yards on the day and opened up some big holes for running backs Kelvin Taylor and Mack Brown. QB Skyler Mornhinweg started in place of Murphy against the Gamecocks and played well for what the coaches allowed him to do. Mornhinweg was limited to 13 pass attempts, most of them coming late in the fourth quarter when Florida was behind. He finished completing 10 of those 13 passes for 107 yards and the game clinching interception. If Murphy can’t go, we’ll see if the Gator coaches open up the playbook a little bit more to bring some of the pressure off of the running game.
Marcus Roberson also missed Saturday’s game in Columbia for either a leg injury or a violation of team rules, or both. There have been conflicting reports that support both reasons. Freshman Vernon Hargreaves III filled in for Roberson and played pretty well, although he did get called for a couple of penalties and got burned on a passing play. Hargreaves will likely fill in for Roberson again.
Saturday’s game against the Eagles is particularly important because the Gators’ streak of 26 straight bowl games is in jeopardy. Georgia Southern uses a triple option attack, so stopping the run and getting big bodies in the middle on defense will be key to a win. If Florida can win their last two games against Georgia Southern and second-ranked Florida State, they would be bowl eligible and likely play in the Gator Bowl. If they can’t pull it out, then they’ll be staying home this December/January for the first time since 1986 and the coaches will focus early on bringing in a strong class for 2014 National Signing Day in February.
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