- Associated Press - Sunday, October 2, 2011

GAINESVILLE, FLA. (AP) - As quarterback John Brantley got helped off the field and into the locker room, the second-largest crowd in the history of Florida Field was nearly silent.

There was concern for Brantley _ and for No. 12 Florida’s season.

Brantley injured his right leg late in the second quarter of Saturday night’s 38-10 loss to No. 3 Alabama. The Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) had control of the game long before Brantley’s injury, but the severity of the setback could be problematic for the Gators the rest of year.

“When we lost John, that took the wind out of our sails,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said.

Muschamp declined to reveal the nature of Brantley’s injury, saying only that it was a lower leg issue.

This much is certain: The Gators (4-1, 2-1) are unprepared to play without him. Backup Jeff Driskel completed 2 of 6 passes for 14 yards and was sacked twice in the second half. The highly touted freshman also fumbled a snap.

And he might have to start next week’s game at top-ranked LSU, which boasts one of the best defenses in the country.

“I’ve got a lot of faith in him,” running back Chris Rainey said. “He’ll be ready to go, ready to take that challenge.”

Nothing about the Gators looked ready Saturday night.

If anything, the outcome showed how far Florida has to go to get back to championship form. It was the program’s worst home loss since falling to LSU 36-7 in 2002 _ the beginning of the Ron Zook era.

“We don’t take any loss as acceptable,” linebacker Jelani Jenkins said. “It’s definitely not up to our standards. We have to get a little better.”

The Gators started the game with a perfect deep ball from Brantley to Andre Debose on the opening play, a 65-yard touchdown pass that energized crowd of 90,888. It ended up being one of few highlights for the Gators, who couldn’t run, couldn’t stop the run and then lost Brantley.

A senior who has started 18 consecutive games, Brantley twisted his knee and ankle on a sack just before halftime. He did not return for the second half.

Brantley completed 11 of 16 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown, most of it coming before Alabama’s defense stiffened.

Courtney Upshaw intercepted Brantley’s outlet pass early in the second quarter and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown that changed the game. Upshaw later sacked Brantley and caused the injury.

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