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Florida vs. Missouri: Johnny Townsend replacing Kyle Christy at punter

Florida's replacing its 2012 Ray Guy Award finalist with a freshman.

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Freshman Johnny Townsend will replace junior Kyle Christy as Florida's punter for Saturday's game at Missouri, Will Muschamp told reporters on Monday.

"Johnny Townsend will punt for us this week at Missouri," Muschamp said. "We need to make a change there."

Christy has struggled all season for Florida, after setting the school record for punting average (45.8 yards per punt) and single-game punting average (54.3 yards per punt against South Carolina) in 2012 en route to being named a Ray Guy Award finalist. He's averaging just 39.5 yards per punt this season, and mishandled a snap against Tennessee, giving the Vols great field position with his inability to get a punt off.

Christy had his best game of the 2013 season against LSU, punting four times for 176 yards and averaging 44 yards per punt, his best average of the season. But he also boomed two punts that could have pinned LSU deep in its own end into the end zone, and his finest play came on a ball that he threw; the best punt of the day by a Florida player came from Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy, who booted a quick kick that rolled all the way to the LSU 1.

Florida currently ranks 104th nationally in punting average, one year after it ranked eighth.

Townsend is a true freshman, and one of Florida's coups of its the 2013 class: He was committed to Ohio State on National Signing Day, but flipped to Florida two days later, after rumored interest from Alabama. Townsend, from Orlando's Boone High School, was ranked as the No. 2 punter nationally by 247Sports.

And he'll have a chance to prove he was worthy of that ranking in his first action as a Gator, which will come at Missouri, in chilly conditions, with control of the SEC East up for grabs, and after Muschamp's spent most of this year frustrated by Christy.

No pressure, Johnny.


Andy Hutchins is Alligator Army's managing editor. Follow Alligator Army on Twitter and Facebook.

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