COLUMBIA, Mo. — Florida quarterback Graham Mertz suffered a non-displaced collarbone fracture in the Gators’ 33-31 loss to Missouri on Saturday night, coach Billy Napier said.
Mertz, a redshirt junior, left a Florida possession one play after running for a first down with an 11-yard run in the third quarter. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Max Brown, who completed 4 of 5 passes for 56 yards and ran for 42 more on seven carries in the loss.
Napier, whose team was playing to gain bowl eligibility, told reporters that Mertz’s injury is “significant.” The transfer from Wisconsin will likely miss the regular-season finale vs. Florida State next Saturday, and should the Gators qualify for a bowl, he would likely miss that, as well.
“He’ll be out for a little bit. Probably, we’ll have more information whether it’s surgical or not. I think right now the belief is that it may not be,” Napier said. “We’ll need to get more images before we make that decision.”
Napier spoke moments after Harrison Mevis kicked a 30-yard field goal with five seconds remaining, and Brady Cook completed 20 of 34 passes for 326 yards and a touchdown in Missouri’s victory.
Cody Schrader carried the ball 23 times for 148 yards and a touchdown, Luther Burden III caught nine passes for 158 yards, and Mevis converted all four of his field goal attempts as Missouri (9-2, 5-2 SEC, No. 9 CFP) narrowly avoided losing to an unranked opponent for the first time this season.
Mertz completed 14 of 21 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for the Gators (5-6, 3-5) before giving way to Brown.
“Give Max some credit,” Napier said. “Max settled in there a little bit and made a few plays. Obviously, he’s a good athlete and we were able to use his legs a little bit and the read game. He made some throws as well.”
The rivalry game with the Seminoles is now shaping up to be a battle of the backups. Earlier Saturday, in a 58-13 win over North Alabama, Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis was carted off the field with an air cast on his left leg.
Tate Rodemaker, who spent the past two seasons as Travis’ backup, entered the game and threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns for the Seminoles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.