Absence of All-SEC guard Jon Halapio hurting Florida Gators

Injured Florida offensive guard Jon Halapio, a fifth-year senior expected to be chosen in the 2014 NFL draft, was sorely missed by the Gators' offense Saturday in a 21-16 road loss to Miami (Fla.).

Halapio (6 feet 3, 320 pounds) is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle that has sidelined him since the beginning of UF's preseason practice. The preseason All-SEC pick is not expected to return until a Sept. 21 home game against rival Tennessee. But after Florida's offensive showing against the Hurricanes, it's clear Halapio's return can't happen soon enough for UF coach Will Muschamp. The Gators struggled to rush the ball effectively between the tackles with running backs Mack Brown and Matt Jones. Some of UF's most effective rushes came on perimeter plays with running back Valdez Showers, or quarterback Jeff Driskel keeping read-option plays around the edge.

Both Jones and Brown averaged less than three yards per carry, with Jones at 2.6 (18 for 47) and Brown at 2.9 (10 for 29).

UM took full advantage where Halapio was needed most -- at the point of attack. The 'Canes made a 4th-and-1 stop in the first half and the Gators faced 2nd-and-long situations for much of the game.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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