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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Graham Mertz to miss Florida State game with collarbone injury

Max Brown is Florida's backup quarterback

Redshirt junior center Kingsley Eguakun hikes the ball to redshirt junior quarterback Graham Mertz in the Gators' 29-16 win against the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Redshirt junior center Kingsley Eguakun hikes the ball to redshirt junior quarterback Graham Mertz in the Gators' 29-16 win against the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.

Florida redshirt junior quarterback Graham Mertz will not be available in the Gators' final regular season game against the Florida State Seminoles Saturday.

He suffered a non-displaced collarbone fracture, said UF head coach Billy Napier after the Gators’ game against Missouri.

Napier said they will wait two weeks to see how Mertz's fracture heals and then discuss what the next steps will be going forward and to see if surgery is needed.

"In the meantime, we're going to do exhaustive research on like cases," said UF head coach Billy Napier Monday. 

The Wisconsin transfer quarterback has thrown for 2,903 yards, 20 passing touchdowns  — both collegiate-career highs — and just three interceptions on the season.  He finished the game against Mizzou with 183 yards on 14-of-21 passing with two touchdowns and one pick.

He ranked in the top five in the nation in completion percentage. Mertz had a 73% completion percentage going into the Missouri game. 

He left the game in the third quarter after he lowered his shoulder on a quarterback scramble to convert a first down. He stayed on for another play but grabbed his shoulder after the next play. 

He left the game for X-rays and later returned to the sideline in an overcoat with his arm in a sling. Mertz missed the fourth quarter of the game as the Gators fell 33-31 to Missouri Saturday night. 

Florida’s backup quarterback is redshirt freshman Max Brown. He is 10-for-12 on the season for 106 yards. He was 4-5 for 56 yards against the Tigers. He also ran it seven times for 42 yards in the game.

Napier said the game plan starts with the quarterback against FSU.

"We have to play a brand of football relative to Max and what he knows, what he feels confident in," Napier said Monday.

The Gators finish the season against in-state rivals, the No. 4 Florida State Seminoles, at 7 p.m. Nov. 25. The game will be broadcast on ESPN. 

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This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Jackson Reyes at jacksonreyes@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @JacksnReyes.

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Jackson Reyes

Jackson Reyes is a UF journalism senior and The Alligator's Fall 2023 Sports Editor. He previously served as Digital Managing Editor and was a reporter and assistant editor on the sports desk. In his free time, he enjoys collecting records, long walks on the beach and watching Bo Nix.


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