Freshman Antonio Callaway’s foot injury forced him to be carted off the field during Wednesday’s practice. Jim McElwain met with the media after practice and didn’t have much information on the injury but listed the freshman as questionable.
There wasn’t much clarity for McElwain until Callaway was able to go through the team’s walk through on Friday. That’s when McElwain started to get the feeling that his freshman sensation would be able to play in Jacksonville.
“He moved pretty good with trainers,” McElwain said.
The freshman started and didn’t look limited. He caught only three passes in the game, but Callaway made them count in big ways, just as he has all season. His first catch came on a scramble play. Florida quarterback Treon Harris tried to drop back in the pocket, but the Georgia pass rush forced him to scramble to his left. As he sprinted for the sideline, Harris took one final look down the field and saw Callaway sprinting with a step on a Georgia defender.
The sophomore quarterback tossed it up for the Gators’ best playmaker and hit him in stride, as Callaway finished a 66-yard touchdown to give the Gators a 13-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Callaway also had a 33-yard reception that kept a drive alive late in the third quarter.
It was another important play by a freshman that some of the Florida players thought wouldn’t play after seeing his injury on Wednesday.
“He was faking it I guess,” Florida offensive lineman Trip Thurman joked. “He’s a great player. For a freshman to come in and be as productive as he has been is incredible.”
The big game was also a historic one for Callaway. His three-catch, 110-yard performance forced some rewriting of the Florida record books. Callaway became the first true freshman in Florida history with three 100-yard receiving games, also reaching the mark against LSU and Tennessee. Reidel Anthony had two 100-yard receiving games as a true freshman.
Callaway also became the first Florida receiver to have back-to-back SEC games with 100+ yards since Andre Caldwell in 2007. The freshman already has multiple highlight plays this year -- his clutch 63-yard catch-and-run to beat Tennessee and the 72-yard punt return for a touchdown against LSU.
“That kid Callaway, man, every week he seems to be getting better and better,” Florida running back Kelvin Taylor said. “He just got us to step on these guys man and just keep it rolling, man, and the team bought into it and we just kept it rolling from there.”