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QB switch proves futile as Florida gets demolished by Missouri

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, center, runs between Florida defenders during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Going from Feleipe Franks to Malik Zaire was not the offensive boost Florida was aiming for.

Zaire and the Gators’ offense struggled so much in a 45-16 blowout loss to Missouri that Franks ended up taking over in the fourth quarter.

Franks had been Florida’s primary starting quarterback through the first nine weeks of 2017. With coach Jim McElwain gone and interim coach Randy Shannon in charge, Shannon decided to make a QB switch after opening up the competition in practice.

Franks, apparently, was displeased with the decision to install Zaire as the starter. Shannon told ESPN during a production meeting Friday that Franks came to him after the decision and said he felt he was a better quarterback than the Notre Dame graduate transfer.

Before he was pulled in the fourth quarter — and Franks led the team to a garbage-time touchdown — Zaire was 13-19 passing for 158 yards and an interception and had just 17 rushing yards. Things were so bad that Florida’s Twitter account had even given up.

It’s unclear who the starter will be for Florida going forward, and maybe it doesn’t even matter at this point. The Gators are now 3-5 and are two losses away from missing out on a bowl game. With South Carolina and Florida State remaining on the schedule, going 4-7 is suddenly a serious possibility.

Missouri, meanwhile, is at 4-5 thanks to a three-game win streak and could get bowl eligible after a disastrous start to the season. The Tigers have Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas remaining on the schedule. Mizzou could be favored in all three of those games.

The Tigers’ passing attack has been one of the most explosive in the country through 2017 but the ground game keyed Mizzou’s win Saturday. Mizzou ran for over 200 yards and freshman running back Larry Rountree III scored three touchdowns.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!