Image Credit: UAA
The Florida Gators had played well through two-plus games under their new starting quarterback. But as (bad) luck would have it for Florida, it does not look like he will be available for its massive rivalry game next Saturday.
Redshirt sophomore Luke Del Rio, who had completed more than 60 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and two interceptions (one tipped) on the season, suffered a knee injury in the third quarter of Saturday’s 32-0 win over North Texas.
A Mean Green defender hit Del Rio low on a drop back play, tackling the side of Del Rio’s left knee and forcing him crumbling to the ground. The quarterback stayed down for a short while as head coach Jim McElwain yelled at officials for not throwing a flag or ejecting the offending player. Eventually, Del Rio got up and walked off the field under his own power, albeit gingerly.
In his post-game interview, McElwain said Florida would “probably be missing” Del Rio next week against Tennessee. Later in his press conference, the coach added: “Luke is getting his leg looked at right now. It doesn’t look great.”
Del Rio will likely undergo an MRI and X-rays before his status is truly determined.
Asked about the hit Del Rio took, McElwain said he had never been that angry before in a college game but offered up that he doubted the North Texas player did it on purpose.
“Obviously, I took that low hit on Luke awful personal. I told [Mean Green coach Seth Littrell] after the ballgame that I’m sure his guy was just scrambling trying to make a play,” he said. “You know what, I really care about these players. I care about them in more ways than just as football players. When you see something like that, it’s my responsibility when their parents aren’t here to be their parents. Each and every guy on this football team knows how much I care for him. I got their back. Like I said, no bad blood there at the end at all. I’m sure, like I said, their guy was probably just trying to make a play. They had been called on it a couple times in previous games, but it’s not something they coach, I know that.”
OnlyGators.com will update this story when possible.