COLUMBIA, Mo. — In the midst of a dramatic game against Missouri on Saturday night, Florida quarterback Graham Mertz suffered a nondisplaced collarbone fracture, as confirmed by coach Billy Napier.
Mertz, a redshirt junior, had to leave the game after running for a first down with an 11-yard run in the third quarter. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Max Brown, who played well in the loss, completing 4 of 5 passes for 56 yards and running for 42 more on seven carries.
Napier expressed concern about Mertz’s injury, describing it as “significant” and predicting that Mertz will likely miss the regular-season finale vs. Florida State next Saturday. If the Gators make it to a bowl game, he would probably miss that as well.
“He’ll be out for a little bit,” Napier said. “Probably, we’ll have more information whether it’s surgical or not. I think right now the belief is that it may not be. We’ll need to get more images before we make that decision.”
Napier addressed the press right after Harrison Mevis’s game-winning 30-yard field goal, acknowledging Missouri’s quarterback Brady Cook’s strong performance with 326 yards and a touchdown.
Notable offensive performances came from Missouri’s Cody Schrader, who carried the ball 23 times for 148 yards and a touchdown, and Luther Burden III, who caught nine passes for 158 yards. Meanwhile, Mevis converted all four of his field goal attempts as Missouri (9-2, 5-2 SEC, No. 9 CFP) narrowly avoided losing to an unranked opponent for the first time this season.
Mertz had completed 14 of 21 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for the Gators (5-6, 3-5) before being replaced by Brown.
Napier praised Brown’s performance, stating, “Give Max some credit. Max settled in there a little bit and made a few plays. Obviously, he’s a good athlete and we were able to use his legs a little bit and the read game. He made some throws, as well.”
The upcoming rivalry game with the Seminoles now seems to be a potentially challenging matchup between the backup quarterbacks. Earlier on Saturday, in a 58-13 win over North Alabama, Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis was also injured and carted off the field. Tate Rodemaker, who had been Travis’ backup, entered the game and threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns for the Seminoles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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