Driskel out for year; Tyler Murphy leads UF over Vols


Trainers help Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel (6) after he was hurt on a play against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday Sept. 21, 2013 in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey/Staff photographer)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 7:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 10:07 p.m.

Florida made it nine straight victories over Tennessee on Saturday in The Swamp, but the victory came with a price.

The Gators lost starting quarterback Jeff Driskel with a broken lower leg in the first quarter. Driskel will be lost for the season after having surgery for the fractured fibula.

"When I saw him look at the sideline and wave," Florida coach Will Muschamp said, "I knew it wasn't good."

Fortunately for Florida, Tyler Murphy was ready.

The backup quarterback threw for 134 yards and a score and ran for 84 yards and another touchdown as No. 19 Florida won 31-17 in front of 90,074 fans.

Murphy, a fourth-year junior, had thrown one pass in his career -- an ill-fated two-point conversion attempt at Miami two weeks ago. His start Saturday was a little shaky as he fumbled a snap and had another snap hit him in the facemask before being recovered by Tennessee.

But Florida's defense dominated the first half and allowed Murphy to settle into the job. His screen pass to Solomon Patton became a 52-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and Florida never relinquished the lead.

"That play got my nerves settled," Murphy said.

Murphy led Florida on a pair of scoring drives to start the second half and Florida overcame a chaotic first half that saw the two teams combine for seven turnovers.

In addition, UF punter Kyle Christy dropped a snap on a punt attempt, setting the Vols up at the Florida 15-yard line in the first quarter.

"I'm really proud of our guys," Muschamp said. "Obviously, we had some adversity. We've shown some pretty good resolve around here."

In addition to having starters Marcus Roberson (cornerback) and Tyler Moore (offensive tackle) miss the game with injuries, Florida lost defensive backs Loucheiz Purifoy and Brian Poole during the game. Purifoy suffered a thigh injury and Poole became the first Florida player to fall victim to the new targeting rule.

Poole was ejected and may have to sit out the first half of next week's game at Kentucky pending a review by the SEC office.

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