COLUMBIA, S.C. — All last week, Florida insisted it was holding out hope that QB Tyler Murphy would be able to play Saturday night at No. 11 South Carolina.
But by early Saturday afternoon, it was evident Murphy's ailing right shoulder wouldn't cooperate, leaving the Gators to turn to third-stringer Skyler Mornhinweg.
The redshirt freshman from Philadelphia made his first collegiate start in the 19-14 loss. While his first-half stats weren't impressive — 2-of-2 for 8 yards — the Gators did have a 14-6 lead. He finished 10-of-13 for 107 yards, no touchdowns and a critical interception late that clinched the Gamecocks' win.
Murphy sprained his shoulder Oct. 12 against LSU and aggravated it last week against Vanderbilt. He did not practice all last week.
Mornhinweg, the son of former Lions coach and current Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, was the first redshirt freshman quarterback to start for the Gators since Rex Grossman. Grossman led the Gators to a 41-9 victory over LSU on Oct. 7, 2000.
Mornhinweg is just the second quarterback to take his first career snap as the starter. Jacoby Brissett started as a true freshman in a 41-11 loss to LSU on Oct. 8, 2011.
Cornerback SUSPENDED: Just before kickoff, Florida announced that CB Marcus Roberson was suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules. The junior has played in six games (three starts) and has 11 tackles and three pass-breakups. He also leads the team in punt returns (9.5-yard average). Roberson missed three games earlier this season due to injury.
He is the seventh player to be suspended this season, joining: CB Loucheiz Purifoy, LB Antonio Morrison, DL Darius Cummings, WR Demarcus Robinson, OL Quinteze Williams and WR Latroy Pittman.
DAVIS VS. GATORS: At one time, Mike Davis was one of the top commitments of Florida's 2012 recruiting class. Until he changed his mind and decided to attend South Carolina.
Davis, who entered Saturday as the SEC's leading rusher at 117.6 yards per game, told reporters he was extra motivated to perform well against the Gators. Davis was orally committed to UF for nearly a year before he changed his mind in December 2011.
Florida coach Will Muschamp said last week he's not surprised by the success Davis is having with the Gamecocks.
"He's a really good player, a guy we thought a lot of coming out of Stephenson (High) there in Atlanta," Muschamp said. "He is having an outstanding year; certainly has been a huge difference in their run game, especially losing (Marcus) Lattimore last year. Mike's been a really good player for them."
Davis had eight carries for 49 yards in the first half but the sophomore left 2:23 into the second with a sprained right ankle.
DID YOU KNOW? When South Carolina's Elliott Fry missed a 38-yard field goal with 1:31 remaining in the first half, it ended a streak of 17 in a row made by Florida opponents.