UF quarterback Feleipe Franks’ right ankle was dislocated and his spirits we crushed as the Gators returned to the locker room ready to celebrate their dramatic fourth-quarter comeback at Kentucky.
Franks had been inconsolable much of the second half, with coach Dan Mullen’s wife, Megan, there to help the 21-year-old come to terms with the end of his season after just three games.
But in the afterglow of Saturday night’s 29-21 come-from-behind win, Franks rallied for his teammates and shared the victory with them.
“He sang the fight song with us,” UF senior receiver Josh Hammond said. “Obviously he’s down from being hurt, but he’s all about the team.”
Earlier, the Gators were there for their fallen quarterback.
Following the injury, Franks lay on the field in obvious pain as athletic trainers attended to him. Moments later, coach Dan Mullen and a group of receivers, including Tyrie Cleveland, Trevon Grimes and Tyrie Cleveland, came out and knelt beside him.
“I went out there. I was with him and told him I love him and that we are there for him,” Mullen said. “I told him that it will be alright. I think it shows what he means to the team. What the team thinks of him as a leader, that’s the type of guy he is. It shows a lot about him and it shows the respect that the team has for his leadership and the love that they have for him.
“It’s a pretty close team.”
The No. 9 Gators would come together behind redshirt junior backup Kyle Trask, who led the Gators back from a 21-10 deficit during the final 15 minutes.
Trask has never started a college game and played sparingly during four years at UF. But he quickly composed himself following emotional scene and devastating loss of a teammates.
“It was pretty emotional for our whole team in the moment,” Trask said. “I just let him know I got your back. It’s a next-man up mentality. I just did what I had to do for the team.”
In the locker room, Franks told the Gators he will be there for them the rest of the season.
“He just told us, ‘Make sure you stay together, don’t take anything for granted. Be ready to play your plays like it’s your last play because you never know when it could happen,’” Hammond recalled. “He’s definitely devastated, but he’s with us 100%. He’s still that leader.
“He’s going to try to do whatever he can to help us.”
The injury followed a bold call on fourth-and-one sniffed out and stopped by the Wildcats on their 38-yard line. Following a play-action fake, Franks could not find an open receiver and tried to scramble for the first down.
Franks’ right leg was pinned under him as he was tackled by a host of Kentucky players, led by 6-foot-9, 311-pound end Calvin Taylor.
Soon a medical personnel arrived and carted Franks off the field. He acknowledged the crowd with the Gators trailing 21-10 with 3:21 remaining in the third quarter.
“It’s tough and it was sad, the way he went out,” pass rusher Jon Greenard said. “But we know he’s gonna bounce back better than ever. Guys are gonna continue to keep him covered and keep his family covered, we’re always gonna keep him in prayer. But anytime you see something like that, that’s always hard.
“But it just fueled us more to continue to play and finish out the game for him.”
Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks ‘likely’ out for season with dislocated ankle
Feleipe Franks, the redshirt junior quarterback for the No. 9 Florida Gators, was carted off the field in the third quarter of Saturday night’s game at Kentucky after suffering a gruesome lower right leg injury. After the game, coach Dan Mullen commented on Franks’ status, noting that the team doctors believe he suffered a dislocated ankle and would likely miss the remainder of the 2019 season.
Franks took a snap on fourth-and-1 with the Gators trailing 21-10 and was flushed out of the pocket. He turned back upfield to try to get to get the first down but was swarmed 1 yard shy of the marker and bent backwards in half. The 6-foot-6, 238-pounder from Crawfordville, Florida, immediately went down in pain as the medical staff rushed out to the field.
The training staff tended Franks, who was clearly in major pain. Once they rolled him over, Florida players rushed to his side to console their quarterback. The staff placed an air cast on his lower right leg, brought him up to the cart and drove him off to the tunnel to get more medical attention.
Franks was 12-of-17 passing for 174 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a lost fumble on the evening . He threw for 524 yards four touchdowns and two interceptions in wins over Miami and Tennessee-Martin prior to this game.
Fellow redshirt junior Kyle Trask entered the game in Franks’ place when the Gators got the ball back at the start of the fourth quarter down 11. Trask went on to lead a furious comeback as the Gators scored 19 unanswered points and secured a 29-21 win in Lexington, Kentucky.