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Friday, September 30, 2022

Notebook: Del Rio out for the year, Gators tie consecutive-game scoring record

<p>UF quarterback Luke Del Rio looks to pass the ball during Florida's 38-24 win against Vanderbilt on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.</p>

UF quarterback Luke Del Rio looks to pass the ball during Florida's 38-24 win against Vanderbilt on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

After failing to win Florida’s starting quarterback job out of fall camp and sitting on the bench through its first two games, Luke Del Rio finally got his shot last Saturday against Kentucky.

The redshirt junior didn’t disappoint.

Inserted into the lineup for starter Feleipe Franks halfway through the third quarter, Del Rio led the Gators on a 13-point comeback victory over the Wildcats, tossing a game-winning touchdown pass to receiver Freddie Swain.

When interviewed after the contest, Del Rio said he was pleased to finally see the field, but stated there was one thing he wished had happened differently.

“I actually never got hit,” he said. “I’m still looking forward to that.”

As the adage goes, be careful what you wish for.

One week after the win in Kentucky, Del Rio started on Saturday against Vanderbilt. He led UF on two drives that resulted in touchdowns and completed 7 of 11 passes for 64 yards.

But when he was sacked for the first time by Commodore defensive lineman Jonathan Wynn with less than seven minutes remaining in the first half, his day was done, leaving the field two plays later and never returning to the sideline.

The news for Del Rio only got worse after the game. The injury suffered to his non-throwing shoulder requires surgery, according to coach Jim McElwain. His season is over.

“It’s hard,” McElwain said. “Just horrible for him.”

Del Rio started six games last season, leading Florida to a 5-1 record, before a shoulder injury kept him off the field for the Gators’ final five contests. He then sat out Florida’s spring practices while recovering from surgery.

Franks, who replaced Del Rio on Saturday following the hit, wrote the name “Luke” under his wristband in respect for his teammate and friend.

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“It’s tough when you go out there and take a big hit like that and get hurt,” he said. “I’m praying for him. Everybody on the team is… Hopefully he gets a speedy recovery.”

Franks eventually led the Gators (3-1, 3-0 SEC) to a 38-24 win over Vanderbilt. He connected on 10 of 14 passes for 185 yards and has a 63.5 percent completion rating this season.

Expectations are Franks will continue to start for UF moving forward, with graduate transfer Malik Zaire serving as the backup.

Florida one game away from history

With Lamical Perine’s 1-yard touchdown run halfway through the first quarter on Saturday, UF’s streak of consecutive-games-scored-in increased to 365, tying the all-time NCAA record held by Michigan.

The Gators haven’t been shut out since Oct. 29, 1988, when they lost to Auburn, 16-0.

The Wolverines’ 365-game streak began on Oct. 27, 1984, one week after a 26-0 loss to Iowa, and ended on Sept. 6, 2014 when they were defeated by Notre Dame, 31-0.

Florida has a chance to set the new all-time record next Saturday when it hosts LSU (3-1, 0-1 SEC) at 3:30 p.m. The Tigers are averaging 18.3 points allowed per game this season.

UF has averaged 21.3 points per game against LSU over the past 10 years.

Davis ‘beat up pretty good’ following scooter accident

UF defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis, one of nine players currently suspended for alleged credit card fraud, remains hospitalized after he was involved in a serious scooter accident Tuesday night.

Coach Jim McElwain commented on Davis’ condition after Saturday’s victory over Vanderbilt, stating his injuries aren’t life threatening but have required multiple surgeries.

“Just feel really bad for him,” McElwain said. “He’s beat up pretty good… Got a long road ahead.”

Davis has two recommended third-degree felonies charged against him by University Police – one for possession and use of another person’s credit card without consent and one for fraudulently obtaining property for less than $20,000.

You can follow Dylan Dixon on Twitter @dylanrdixon, and contact him at ddixon@alligator.org.

UF quarterback Luke Del Rio looks to pass the ball during Florida's 38-24 win against Vanderbilt on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

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