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Florida to start Austin Appleby at QB in 2017 Outback Bowl, says Jim McElwain

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Florida isn’t looking to burn a redshirt.

Florida v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Florida will start Austin Appleby at quarterback in the 2017 Outback Bowl, and expects to have Luke Del Rio available to back him up, Jim McElwain said Thursday — dashing the hopes of Florida fans who wanted to see freshmen Feleipe Franks or Kyle Trask throw passes against the Hawkeyes.

Appleby took over as Florida’s starter twice in 2016, after injuries to Del Rio knocked him out of the Gators’ win over North Texas and kept him out of Florida’s home finale against South Carolina. He appears to be the Gators’ starter largely because of health, as Del Rio has been healthy enough to be available as an emergency against both Florida State and Alabama — but the shoulder injury Del Rio sustained against Arkansas would be almost two months in the rear view by the time Florida plays Iowa.

Appleby is 3-3 as Florida’s starter in 2017, with road wins over Vanderbilt and LSU and a loss at Tennessee in the games not mentioned in the above paragraph, while Del Rio is 5-1.

Franks and Trask have not seen any action in 2016, and both have been expected to redshirt for the majority of the season, despite calls this week from media outlets for Florida to play a freshman against the Hawkeyes.