Posted 09/18/2016 at 02:07 PM
Just when it appeared Florida had finally found a stable and solid starting quarterback for the first time in a long time, a North Texas defensive end took a cheap shot on Luke Del Rio's left knee that has him 'out' for this Saturday's crucial SEC East showdown at Tennessee.
On the bright said, an SEC Country report from Zach Alboverdi indicates that his sources are confident that Del Rio's injury is just a knee sprain and is not season ending.
Del Rio, a sophomore who is the son of Raiders' head coach Jack Del Rio, had completed 62-of-101 passes (61%) for 762 yards with a 6/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio through three starts.
Austin Appleby, a grad transfer from Purdue, will get the starting nod at Neyland Stadium (AKA: Swamp North). Appleby has seen mop-up duty for UF twice this season. He has completed 2-of-5 throws (40%) for 30 yards. He rushed for five yards on his lone attempt.
During his three years with the Boilermakers, Appleby started 11 games and threw for 2,767 yards with a 19/13 TD-INT ratio. He also rushed for nine TDs and has more mobility than Del Rio, who is the more accurate passer.
Things were testy after the hit on Del Rio. UF head coach Jim McElwain had to restrained by his players as he yelled at the North Texas bench after checking on Del Rio as he laid on his back while be attended to by the training staff.
Martez Ivey, the true sophomore offensive guard who is either the Gators' best or second-best o-lineman (behind only David Sharpe, if that), was ejected from the game. However, SEC officials confirmed last night that the ejection will not result in Ivey missing any playing time next week at Tennessee.
Florida star WR and special-teams ace Antonio Callaway missed the 32-0 win over the Mean Green due to a quad injury. He's listed as 'questionable' at UT, but you can count on him playing. It's simply a matter of whether or not he'll be at 100 percent.
Tennessee played poorly in Saturday's 28-19 win over Ohio as a 27-point home 'chalk.' The Vols did remain undefeated, but they were dealt a pair of key injuries.
Cam Sutton, one of the SEC best cover corners and punt returners, went down with a leg injury. Butch Jones said he "will be out for an extended period of time." One report out of Knoxville stated that Sutton has a broken bone in his leg.
Also, UT senior LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin sustained a shoulder injury vs. the Bobcats. The second-team All-SEC selection in 2015 is considered 'questionable' vs. UF. Another starting LB for the Vols, Darrin Kirkland, has a high ankle injury. In his post-game interviews Saturday, Jones said it's "doubtful" that Kirkland will be ready for the UF game.
Florida has beaten UT in 11 consecutive head-to-head meetings.