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Gators turn to ex-Ohio State quarterback Jack Miller to start Las Vegas Bowl

Miller to make first career start against 17th-ranked Oregon State
Jack Miller, Ohio State transfer, to start for Florida Gators in Las Vegas Bowl
Posted at 11:59 AM, Dec 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-08 12:02:45-05

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida quarterback Jack Miller, who transferred from Ohio State last December, will make his first collegiate start when the Gators play 17th-ranked Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl next week.

Coach Billy Napier made the announcement Thursday, three days after standout Anthony Richardson left school early to start preparing for the NFL combine and a week after backup Jalen Kitna was kicked off the team following his arrest on child pornography charges.

Miller was slotted to be Richardson's backup during training camp, but injured his right thumb in August and needed surgery. Four months later, he'll get a chance to show he deserves to at least be in the mix for the No. 1 job next season.

He will do so a little shorthanded, since the Gators (6-6) had four players opt out of the bowl: Richardson, All-Southeastern Conference guard O'Cyrus Torrence, linebacker Ventrell Miller and receiver Justin Shorter.

Defensive tackle Gervon Dexter turned pro Monday but will stick around for the Vegas trip. Several teammates who considered skipping Florida's bowl also agreed to play the season finale, some of them surely because of the destination.

Florida State Seminoles defensive end Derrick McLendon II and safety Shyheim Brown sack Florida Gators QB Anthony Richardson in third quarter, Nov. 25, 2022
Florida State defensive end Derrick McLendon II (9) and safety Shyheim Brown (38) sack Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson during the third quarter Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Las Vegas Bowl is Dec. 17.

Miller played sparingly behind Heisman Trophy finalist C.J. Stroud last year for Ohio State, completing 7 of 14 passes for 101 yards. He also ran for 22 yards and a score in mop-up duty. Not wanting to sit behind Stroud another season, the 6-foot-3, 211-pound Arizona native landed in Gainesville to compete with Emory Jones and Richardson.

He quickly moved up the depth chart after Jones left in March (transferred to Arizona State) and Carlos Del Rio-Wilson left for Syracuse a month later.

With Kitna and Richardson now gone, the Gators are down four scholarship quarterbacks over the past nine months.

Napier has four-star commitment Jaden Rashada ready to sign later this month but is expected to hit the transfer portal for a polished starter and maybe another quarterback to provide more depth. Behind Miller, Florida has walk-on Kyle Engel and freshman Max Brown.