Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier announced on Monday that quarterback Graham Mertz will miss this week’s Florida State game with a nondisplaced fracture on his collarbone suffered last Saturday against Missouri.
“We took another image yesterday,” Florida head coach Billy Napier said on Monday. “We felt good about that image. We’re going to go on a two-week period here where the fracture will start growing back.”
Mertz arrived in Florida with hopes of recovering from a disappointing career at Wisconsin, and he surpassed expectations by leading the Florida offense. Throughout the season, Mertz demonstrated leadership, composure, toughness, and resilience for an offense that faced challenges with an injury-plagued offensive line and mostly untested wide receivers and tight ends. Mertz clearly proved that the quarterback he was at Wisconsin did not reflect the caliber of player the Gators acquired.
Playing at Wisconsin for four seasons — and serving as the Badgers’ starting signal-caller in all three years — Mertz compiled 5,332 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions on just under 60% completion.
Mertz’s production showed a significant improvement this season at Florida compared to his performance last season at Wisconsin. In 11 games with the Gators, Mertz completed 261 of 358 passes, resulting in a 72.9% completion percentage. He also averaged 8.1 yards per attempt, throwing 20 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Last season for the Badgers, Mertz completed 164 passes out of 286 attempts, resulting in a 57.3% completion percentage. He averaged only 7.5 yards per attempt, with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Mertz’s most notable improvement was in protecting the football.
Here are other notable stats for Mertz this season:
- QB Graham Mertz has completed 72.9% of his passes (261-for-358), which leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally.
- Mertz ranks sixth in the FBS and second in the SEC in TD-INT ratio (6.7), owning 20 touchdowns and three interceptions.
- Mertz threw his first interception in 240 attempts (239-consecutive – school record) in the second quarter at Missouri in Week 12. He broke Tim Tebow’s school record of 203 (2007-08) in Week 11 at LSU.
- Across the last six weeks, Mertz has thrown for 1,683 passing yards (280.5 YPG), 151 completions, a 68.9% completion percentage, 14 touchdowns and one interception.
- Mertz finished 26-of-38 (68.0%) for 311 yards and one TD for his third-career 300-yard passing game vs. LSU.
- Mertz has thrown a touchdown pass in all 11 of his starts as a Gator.
- Mertz opened his UF career with 11-straight games completing 62.0% of his passes and one passing touch- down (70.5%, 82.4%, 79.2%, 87.5%, 83.3%, 83.3%, 62.5%, 71.0%, 62.0%, 68.0%, 67.0%).
- Mertz opened the campaign with six-consecutive performances with a completion percentage above 70.0% (first Gator to ever do so) and has accomplished the feat in eight of 11 games this season.
Graham Mertz still has a decision to make regarding his return to Florida, as he has one more year of eligibility remaining.
“I’ll let him handle that, much like we’ve done with players in the past,” stated Napier. “They have their process they want to go through, and out of respect, we allow them to do that.”