Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

It's Grossman's Job to Keep QB Made Mark in LSU Game

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

It's Grossman's Job to Keep QB Made Mark in LSU Game

Article excerpt

Florida football coach Steve Spurrier said yesterday that redshirt freshman Rex Grossman could keep the starting quarterback's job for the rest of the season if he continues to play as well as he did Saturday in the Gators' 41-9 rout of Louisiana State.

"Rex played well; he really did," Spurrier said in his weekly, day-after-game media teleconference. "He's a natural passer, and, if he keeps his mind working . . . sure, he's got a chance to go the distance. He's our quarterback."

Told Friday he would make his first collegiate start against LSU, Grossman responded by completing 18-of-28 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

His second scoring toss came with 29 seconds left in the first half after a shotgun snap sailed over his head. Grossman calmly scooped up the ball on one hop, turned and threw a strike to receiver Jabar Gaffney in the end zone.

Spurrier called it "one of the most dramatic plays" he has seen at Florida Field.

And it was made by a player who, a week earlier, entered the Mississippi State game as the Gators' No. 3 quarterback.

In that game, however, senior Jesse Palmer suffered a sprained ankle while being sacked for a first-quarter safety and backup Brock Berlin struggled as his replacement. With his team trailing and in need of a spark, Spurrier gave the ball to Grossman, who completed 13-of-16 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

That off-the-bench performance prompted Spurrier to name Grossman his starter for the LSU game -- even though Palmer practiced Wednesday and Thursday.

"Jesse could've played yesterday," Spurrier said. "But we thought Rex played very well against Mississippi State and deserved a chance to start."

Barring a change of plans this week, Palmer will be on the sideline watching Grossman play against Auburn. …

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