Florida fully expected Todd Gurley to play Saturday (3:30 p.m., CBS), but No. 9 Georgia’s star tailback remains sidelined due to NCAA violations.
The Gators caught a much-needed break, as the NCAA announced Gurley must sit out an additional two games for accepting “more than $3,000 for autographed memorabilia” over a two-year period.
Georgia is appealing the ruling, released Wednesday, but UF coach Will Muschamp said the official announcement “doesn’t affect our preparation.”
“They’ve got a stable of backs that are very talented. Nick Chubb has done an outstanding job filling in while Todd has been gone,” Muschamp said.
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“It's a shame. Todd’s an outstanding player. He’s a great competitor. I think his biggest talent is his competitive edge.”
Gurley has been suspended since Oct. 9, with Chubb filling in admirably in the All-American’s absence.
UGA’s talented freshman has rushed for 345 yards and three scores the past two games.
In an effort to “compete against the best,” the Gators adamantly hoped Gurley would return to the field. But for a snake-bitten team, the former Heisman Trophy frontrunner’s absence provides an emotional lift.
Gurley has torched Florida in his two career meetings, tallying 318 total yards and three touchdowns in two UGA wins.
With Gurley still sidelined, Georgia’s tailback depth remains a concern, as coach Mark Richt said five-star freshman Sony Michel, a former star at American Heritage, and junior Keith Marshall are “doubtful” for Saturday’s showdown.
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Benched quarterback Jeff Driskel “could” see playing time in certain situations Saturday, but freshman starter Treon Harris won’t be looking over his shoulder. “It’s Treon’s game to play,” Muschamp said. … Florida is completely healthy, per Muschamp.