COLUMBIA, S.C. — To give you an idea just how painful a season it has been for Florida, consider this: The Gators traveled to South Carolina with only 51 scholarship players because at least eight starters will be sidelined, including seven for the season.
And there could be more.
UF might have to go with third-string quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg with Tyler Murphy nursing a shoulder injury that caused him to miss practice all week. Coach Will Muschamp said on his radio show Thursday of starting Mornhinweg, a redshirt freshman who’s never taken a snap in college: “That’s the way it’s looking now.’’
If Mornhinweg starts, it will be the first time in 16 years Florida has used three different starting quarterbacks; Jeff Driskel opened the year but suffered a broken leg.
In 1997, UF started Doug Johnson, Jesse Palmer and Noah Brindise as the defending national champions.
But Florida was holding out hope Murphy would feel better during Friday’s walkthrough and his status is expected to be a game-time decision.
Florida (4-5, 3-4 SEC) needs a win in its conference finale to keep realistic bowl expectations.
It won’t be easy.
South Carolina (7-2, 5-2) is riding a 15-game home winning streak and needs to win its final regular-season conference game and hope both Missouri and Georgia get another loss to advance to the SEC title game — likely against either Alabama or Auburn — on Dec. 7 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.