TALLAHASSEE — Sean Maguire, an afterthought during FSU's offseason QB battle, is now the man who is a play away from keeping the Seminoles' national title hopes on track.
The redshirt freshman was a long shot at best against Jameis Winston, Jacob Coker and Clint Trickett. Winston, of course, won the job, Trickett transferred to West Virginia and Coker was named as the backup.
But Coker's season-ending knee injury puts Maguire No. 2. And his teammates have confidence in him.
"He's the person that seizes the moment, like Coker," Winston said. "When they go in the game, they try to make something happen."
"He studies a lot of film," TE Nick O'Leary said. "I live with him and when we're not (practicing), he's home on his iPad, taking notes and doing everything he needs to do to be ready in case anything happens to Jameis."
A New Jersey native, Maguire was lightly recruited out of high school, receiving one other scholarship offer (Buffalo), according to rivals.com.
UF: Murphy throws
GAINESVILLE — Gators QB Tyler Murphy, who missed the loss to South Carolina with a shoulder sprain, threw sparingly in practice Tuesday but remains questionable for Saturday against Georgia Southern.
Redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg will play for the second straight game if Murphy is ruled out.
"If we had to play (Wednesday), Skyler would start and be ready to go in the game," coach Will Muschamp said. "As we move closer to the weekend, we'll see where it sits."
CB Marcus Roberson (ankle) and LT D.J. Humphries (sprained MCL) are out Saturday.
Landon Watnick, Times correspondent
USF: Pass-happy foe
TAMPA — Shortly after USF honors its 17 seniors in a pregame ceremony Saturday, Southern Methodist will launch a three-plus-hour tribute to the forward pass.
"It's going to be seven-on-seven basically the whole game," Bulls defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan said.
Under coach June Jones, the Mustangs (4-5, 3-2 American Athletic) rank fifth in Division I-A in passing offense (380.1 yards per game). Senior QB Garrett Gilbert, who averages 54 attempts a game, leads I-A in total offense (405.7 yards per game), setting up the long pass with the short one.
Bresnahan said the key will be thwarting the Mustangs when they take their shots downfield and limiting big yardage after the catch. USF struggled to tackle effectively in a 35-23 loss at Houston.
"This team makes a lot of plays after the catch and they have a lot of great athletes that can make things happen," senior DB JaQuez Jenkins said. "So it's going to be vital for us to get them on the ground."
BIVINS Gone: Sophomore CB Chris Bivins, whose career was derailed by a pair of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in his knee, has left the program. The school confirmed Bivins departed a few months back.
Joey Knight, Times staff writer
UM: Wary of Cavs
CORAL GABLES — When Miami takes the field against Virginia, the Hurricanes will line up against a team with issues a lot bigger than their own.
The Cavaliers have a seven-game losing streak and are 2-8 overall. Their wins were 19-16 over BYU and 49-0 over Virginia Military Institute. They've been outscored 338-205 and their defense is giving up an average of 417.5 yards per game.
But Miami coach Al Golden said his team, mired in a three-game slide itself, won't take the Cavs lightly. "We don't sit on some high horse. We haven't been playing good football right now. We need to play better football. I need to coach better."
The Cavaliers have beaten the Hurricanes in the last three meetings, and five of the last seven.
South Florida Sun Sentinel