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Florida Gators QB Tyler Murphy
Following Jeff Driskel's season-ending broken leg injury, quarterback Tyler Murphy has shined in his first two tests as the starter in Gainesville.
As the starter, Murphy has notched a 24-7 win over the Kentucky Wildcats and a 30-10 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks. In those games, he's passed for 396 combined yards with four touchdowns and just one interception.
His ability to improvise with his legs has also sparked the Florida offense.
But now Murphy faces by far his toughest test of the season as the Gators travel to Death Valley to face the LSU Tigers, whose only loss has come to the Georgia Bulldogs two weeks ago.
LSU has the nation's 34th-ranked pass defense, giving up 207.5 yards through the air per game.
Some have criticized Murphy as simply a game manager against teams that are inferior to the Gators. But head coach Will Muschamp defended that reputation in a report by Jesse Simonton of the Miami Herald.
“I’ve been criticized a little bit for calling Tyler a ‘manager.’ That’s the greatest compliment you can give a quarterback,” Muschamp said. “Tom Brady is a great game manager. It’s about converting third downs. It’s about completing passes. It’s about getting your offense in and out of the right runs, the right protections, taking the ball to the right spot, taking care of the football, scoring points, moving your team, your team having confidence in you. That’s one of the greatest compliments you can have as a quarterback is a game manager. A guy that does what he’s supposed to do. I don’t know where that became a bad word in the coaching profession.”
Murphy has been a breath of fresh air for the Gators, who were reeling from their Week 2 loss to the Miami Hurricanes.
Saturday's game is sure to put Murphy's true worth into perspective, though. If he looks rattled and struggles to get into a rhythm, it could prove that Murphy simply shines against weaker SEC teams. But if he shines, it would be the start of a potentially legendary career at Florida.