GAINESVILLE -- Florida rolled to a shutout victory against Kentucky on Saturday despite missing several key starters.
The most surprising was do-everything back Trey Burton, who was ruled out before the game with back spasms, according to coach Will Muschamp.
Burton was responsible for two touchdowns in last week’s win against Tennessee, but started to experience issues with his back on Friday, Muschamp said. He was not on the sideline during the game and Muschamp said he did not know the whereabouts of Burton.
“This was completely out of the blue,” Muschamp said. “As much as Trey does for us, that’s tough because it doesn’t just affect offense. … He does so much for us on special teams. It’s tough when you lose a guy that does so much stuff for you.”
Right tackle Chaz Green (ankle) missed his second consecutive game Saturday. He dressed and attempted to go, but was seen struggling in warm-ups and did not play. Junior Kyle Koehne made his second consecutive start at right tackle in place of Green. Starting defensive end Dominique Easley (knee) also missed the game after sustaining an injury last week against Tennessee.
Muschamp said Wednesday that Easley had been on crutches but purely for precautionary reasons, and he is expected to be ready for the LSU game on Oct. 6 following UF’s bye week. True freshman Jonathan Bullard started in his absence.
Florida also lost defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) and tight end Jordan Reed (shoulder) during the game. But Muschamp said he expects both to benefit from the week off and be fine for the game against LSU on Oct. 6.
Wide receiver Andre Debose did not play in the first half of Saturday’s game, but he was not injured or being disciplined. He worked at punt returner in the second half but fumbled his only opportunity. Muschamp said Debose simply needs to be more consistent in practice, which has been the knock on Debose for several seasons.
Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Quinton Dunbar, from Miami Booker T. Washington, caught his first touchdown of the season in the second quarter of Saturday’s 38-0 win.
On third-and-10 in Kentucky territory, Dunbar beat two defenders in the end zone on a 19-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel. Dunbar finished tied for the team-high with three receptions for 36 yards and the one score. The touchdown was his first since Florida’s regular season-ending loss to Florida State in November.
Florida started three freshmen this week, one more than last Saturday against Tennessee, and Muschamp said he won’t hesitate to play young players going forward.
Wide receiver Raphael Andrades made his first career start, as did defensive end Bullard, and linebacker Antonio Morrison picked up his second in place of injured starter Jelani Jenkins.
Freshman running back Matt Jones played a big part in the win, running 10 times for 45 yards to help close out the game. D.J. Humphries replaced Xavier Nixon at left tackle to start the second half and played well, and Buck linebacker Dante Fowler continued to play a good amount of snaps in a reserve role.
“If guys play well and they practice well and they prepare themselves well, I don’t care what year they are, we’re going to play the best guys,” Muschamp said.