Jacksonville Sports Day

NO SURPRISE: Shannon Announces that Zaire will Make His First Start for UF

UAA Communications photo by Tim Casey

GAINESVILLE, Fla. –┬áSo much for QB competition. Florida Gators interim head coach Randy Shannon announced today that graduate transfer Malik Zaire will start at quarterback on Saturday at Missouri.

Anybody who followed Shannon’s career at Miami knew Zaire would get the nod.

“Malik is the starting quarterback for this upcoming game at Missouri,” Shannon said. “This is his opportunity to get this team where it needs to be and not to be satisfied just because he’s the starter.

A native of Kettering, Ohio, Zaire has been the backup for the Gators the entire season. Overall, he has appeared in two games in relief of redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks (against Michigan & Georgia).

“Today is an opportunity for him to run the offense and understand the expectations that we have for him,” Shannon said. “This is not a time for him to feel comfortable and feel like he’s made it. We want him to keep grinding and understand that competition is very good.”

During those contests, Zaire has completed 12 of 23 passes for 142 yards. Zaire made his first appearance since the season-opening loss to Michigan on Saturday in the loss to Georgia. He replaced Franks in the fourth quarter and led the Gators on a nine-play, 71-yard drive that resulted in Florida’s only score of the game.

Franks will serve as the backup at Missouri. He has started six of Florida’s seven contests this season and leads the team in passing yards with 830. Overall, Franks is 75 of 125 (60 percent) and has four touchdowns and four interceptions.

The Gators (3-4, 3-3) face Missouri (3-5, 0-5) in a noon ET kickoff on Saturday.

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