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Gators turn to QB Zaire help halt slide

Published Nov. 2, 2017

The Gators are turning to Malik Zaire to try to end their three-game slide and salvage a season that's spiraling out of control.

The graduate transfer from Notre Dame will start Saturday at Missouri, Florida interim coach Randy Shannon announced Thursday.

Zaire will be the third quarterback to start for UF this season (after Feleipe Franks and Luke Del Rio) and the 12th since Tim Tebow left for the 2010 NFL draft.

Zaire is 12-of-23 for 142 yards in two games this season. He had two rushes for 30 yards late in last week's loss to Georgia and led UF on its only scoring drive of the game. "This is his opportunity to get this team where it needs to be and not to be satisfied just because he's the starter," Shannon said.

Franks, a redshirt freshman, has been pulled in three of his six starts. He is 75-of-125 for 830 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions.

UF (3-4, 3-3 SEC) enters the game at Missouri needing three wins in its final four games to be bowl eligible.

BASKETBALL: UF'S CHIOZZA HURT: Florida point guard Chris Chiozza sprained his left shoulder in an exhibition opener at Jacksonville. The senior hurt his shoulder in the opening minutes, headed to the bench, then tried to return and ended up in the locker room. He returned to the bench but did not get back on the floor. Chiozza averaged 7.2 points and 3.8 assists last season as a backup but is expected to be the primary ball-handler for the No. 8 Gators this season. "He's about as valuable to us as it gets, probably as any player is to their team in college basketball," coach Mike White said after an 88-47 win. "Hope it's minor." UF hosts an exhibition game Sunday against Tampa.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.