University of Florida

Flu bug hampers Florida Gators as they prepare for Ole Miss

Two days after sending Tennessee into a dizzy with a dramatic comeback win, No. 25 Florida is actually battling “a flu bug” as it prepares for this weekend’s prime time tilt with No. 3 Ole Miss.

“We’ve got about nine guys out today,” UF coach Jim McElwain said Monday. “In fact, today was our flu bug shot day. Our timing is impeccable.”

The Gators aren’t totally injury-free, either, but McElwain is more concerned with Florida overcoming its illness issue before Saturday’s critical conference game (7 p.m., ESPN).

“We’re going to struggle today,” McElwain said. “We’ve got some guys getting IV’s already. We had a bunch in yesterday and a bunch of guys today. … It hurts in preparation. But that’s OK, it’s something we’ve got to deal with.”

Florida was shorthanded against Tennessee, as linebackers Alex Anzalone (shoulder) and Jeremi Powell (foot), kicker Austin Hardin (quad) and tight end C’yontai Lewis (hand) were out with injuries. Also, quarterback Treon Harris and cornerback Jalen Tabor were suspended.

Harris and Tabor will return this weekend, but Anzalone and Powell remain sidelined, while Hardin and Lewis are questionable. Starting left guard Trip Thurman is probable with a chronic shoulder injury.

Walk-on kicker Jorge Powell, a Miami Belen Jesuit Prep standout, handed the kicking duties with Hardin on the bench, drilling all four extra points and making a touchdown-saving tackle on a second-half kickoff return.

“He was an unsung hero,” McElwain said of the redshirt freshman. “He got the extra points up quick, made a game-saving tackle. Poor little speed-bump. But he stuck himself in there. It was great to see.”

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