Gators return to Top 25 after rout of ‘Dores

Ending a three-game loosing streak last week that had previously knocked them out of every Top 25 poll, the Florida Gators (6-3, 4-3 SEC) continued their progression upward with a 55-14 beat down of the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-7, 1-5 SEC) on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, TN. On Sunday, Florida reentered both the USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls. Out of the top 25 for the first time under head coach Urban Meyer after their loss to Mississippi State, the Gators did receive votes in both polls last week.

WeekResultBCSUSA TodayAssociated Press
Preseason--No. 10 (930)No. 10 (894)
2W 24-6 vs. Toledo-No. 9 (974)No. 12 (875)
3L 16-21 at Miami-No. 20 (410)No. 18 (405)
4Open-No. 18 (398)No. 19 (412)
5W 31-17 vs. Tennessee-No. 19 (449)No. 20 (414)
6W 24-7 at Kentucky-No. 19 (515)No. 18 (481)
7W 30-10 vs. Arkansas-No. 17 (574)No. 17 (536)
8L 6-17 at LSU-No. 22 (240)No. 22 (249)
9L 17-36 at Missouri-NR (4)NR (17)

USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Oregon (51), Auburn (4), Boise State (3), TCU (1), Alabama, Utah, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, LSU, Stanford, Arizona, Missouri, Michigan State, Iowa, South Carolina, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Baylor, Nevada, Florida State, North Carolina State
*Florida received four votes.

This Week 1-25: Oregon (50), Auburn (4), TCU (2), Boise State (3), Wisconsin, LSU, Ohio State, Nebraska, Stanford, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Iowa, Arkansas, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Arizona, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Central Florida, Florida, Texas A&M

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Oregon (49), Boise State (7), Auburn (2), TCU (2), Alabama, Utah, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Nebraska, Stanford, Oklahoma, LSU, Arizona, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan State, Arkansas, South Carolina, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Baylor, North Carolina State, Florida State, Nevada
*Florida received two votes.

This Week 1-25: Oregon (49), Auburn (2), TCU (2), Boise State (7), LSU, Wisconsin, Stanford, Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Iowa, Arkansas, Utah, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Florida, Central Florida

BCS
Last Week 1-25: Oregon, Auburn, TCU, Boise State, Utah, Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, LSU, Ohio State, Missouri, Stanford, Michigan State, Arizona, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Baylor, Virginia Tech, Nevada, Florida State, North Carolina State

This Week 1-25: Oregon, Auburn, TCU, Boise State, LSU, Stanford, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Alabama, Iowa, Utah, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Nevada, Florida, South Carolina, Kansas State, Texas A&M

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

Week 10: Gators post-game news & notes

Winning their second-straight game, this time in dominant fashion, the Florida Gators (6-3, 4-3 SEC) toppled the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-7, 1-5 SEC) 55-14 in Nashville, TN, at Vanderbilt Stadium. With so much to discuss, OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes following the contest.

RAINEY’s REDEMPTION PART II

Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey has been one of Florida’s best performers in back-to-back games. With two blocked punts and a 40-yard touchdown reception in which he came back for an under-thrown ball, Rainey is quickly proving to head coach Urban Meyer that he has his head on straight and is ready to be a valued member of the team. “He hit rock bottom and he had one way to go,” Meyer said after the game. “Good for him. To even be on football, good for him. He’s doing much better in school and the thumb is on him real hard, so his whole work ethic has changed and everything.” He also discussed Rainey’s punt blocks. “You talk about a momentum shift. [Chris] Rainey’s a very unique, skilled athlete that can come off that edge that’s skinny like that,” he said. “Ninety percent of the time we win or are undefeated when we get a hand on a punt. Great momentum change.”

TEAM CHEMISTRY AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH

Having won their last two contests, the Gators are feeling good – especially considering one was an overtime thriller and the other was a shellacking. Meyer is pleased with how the team is currently assembled and thinks, now that most everyone is healthy, they can continue their progress. “I just like the chemistry of our team right now. The way they hang out with each other at the hotel. You see a gelling right now,” he said. “You take some good players out of your team and you don’t look as good. I’m very excited about the chemistry of our team right now. We needed this.”

Florida is feeling so good these days that, before the game was even over, players on the sidelines were talking about playing South Carolina next week for the Southeastern Conference Eastern division title. “[They were talking about it] a lot. I tried to encourage them to. I wanted the focus,” Meyer said. “We’ve learned some great lessons around here in the past of a team being ready to play a big-time game and maybe a team not being ready to go play a big-time game. So that was my whole message to them. I like the look. If they’re talking about next week’s game obviously when this one is over, it’s real clear what the focus is. [...] I think we’re finishing strong and obviously it’s championship week in Gainesville, Florida. So we’re going to get back to work as soon as we can and everybody’s excited about it.”

REED-IRECTING OFFENSE

Saturday saw the emergence of redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed as a legitimate offensive option for the Gators as he accounted for 120 yards through the air, 84 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Meyer was complimentary of Reed after the game and hopes to utilize him more as the season goes on. “He’s a freak athlete. I think we did it right. Hindsight is 20-20 how we’re pushing him into this offense,” he said. “Obviously you can see what a dynamic runner [he] is, he’s got a nice arm. We don’t have that big runner – and he gives us that. […] He’s tight end and quarterback. He’ll be a single-wing quarterback and a tight end for us.”

PLAYER STATUS UPDATES

» Freshman defensive tackle Dominique Easley: “He’s not on the travel team – just not a part of the team right now. Lot of reasons. […] He’s not part of the travel team.”
» Freshman running back Mack Brown: “He’s been having hamstrings all year, so we just didn’t want to risk it. But his attitude has been fantastic.”
» Junior RB Jeff Demps: “Jeff was available, but we wanted to be smart. He didn’t practice much this week. It was very painful on him this week. We’ll know more this week, but I’m planning on him being ready for South Carolina.”
» Redshirt sophomore DT Jaye Howard: Meyer expects him to return next week after having nursed a serious ankle injury for 2-3 weeks.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Week 10: Gators post-game news & notes

Gators knock down ‘Dores 55-14 in Nashville

It may have been cold in Nashville, TN, Saturday afternoon, but no one was hotter than the Florida Gators (6-3, 4-3 SEC), who piled up 41 points in the first half on the way to a rout of the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-7, 1-5 SEC) 55-14 in Vanderbilt Stadium.

Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey stole the show early, blocking two punts and catching a 40-yard touchdown pass from redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, who finished the day 11-of-18 for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Rainey also had a career-high and game-high 75 yards receiving.

With junior running back Jeff Demps out of action as a precaution, sophomore RB Mike Gillislee led Florida on the ground with nine rushes for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed, added to the Gators’ quarterback rotation last week, also shined in the contest completing 11-of-19 attempts for 120 yards, a touchdown and an interception while also rushing 16 times for 84 yards and a score.

As per usual this season, Florida started off slow but got on the board with 8:47 left in the first quarter on Gillislee’s first touchdown run. The second quarter saw the Gators post 34 points including a 31-yard pass from Reed to redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson, Rainey’s 40-yard touchdown catch, a 45-yard fumble return touchdown from redshirt senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders, a 39-yard touchdown reception by redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. and a 42-yard punt block return touchdown from freshman WR Solomon Patton.

The Commodores finally got on the board in the beginning of the third quarter when Sanders missed a block on a punt; Vanderbilt knocked down the ball and cornerback Javon Marshall returned it four yards for a special teams score. They would also score on a six-yard reception from QB Jared Funk to WR Jordan Matthews made possible after a Reed interception.

Florida took its foot off the gas at halftime, substituting almost every starter and still scoring 14 more points in the third quarter on a 43-yard run by Gillislee and a six-yard rush from Reed. The Gators’ 41 first-half points were its most in a Southeastern Conference game since 2005, it’s 55 points on the road were the most since 1997 (Kentucky), and its 88 plays and 480 total yards of offense were both season-highs.

Defensively, redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins notched a team-high eight tackles, while freshman DT Sharrif Floyd had a breakout performance with a career-high seven tackles (three for loss) and some monstrous hits. Redshirt sophomore LB Lerentree McCray and senior safety Ahmad Black each forced fumbles, sophomore S Josh Evans grabbed an interception, and UF’s seniors also accounted for four sacks with one each from linebackers Brandon Hicks and A.J. Jones and defensive ends Duke Lemmens and Justin Trattou.

Florida’s win Saturday set them up for a showdown with South Carolina next week in Gainesville, FL, in a de facto SEC East title game with the winner advancing to the 2010 SEC Championship in Atlanta, GA. The game will air at 7:15 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2.

Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Week 10: Florida Gators at Vanderbilt Commodores

Location: Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, TN [Capacity: 39,790]
Weather Forecast: 47°F, sunny
Time: 12:21 p.m. (EST)

TV: SEC Network
Sirius/XM: 220/199
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Robbie Caldwell
Record: 5-3 (3-3) Record: 2-6 (1-4)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -14.5; O/U 46

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series 32-9-2 against Vanderbilt, are 13-7-1 in Nashville and have not lost this match-up since 1988, a streak of 19 consecutive victories.
» In their last three games against the Commodores, the Gators have won by an average of 26.3 points. The previous two contests were decided by an average of 6.5 points including a 49-42 double overtime victory in Meyer’s first season – 2005.
» Florida is tied for the national lead with 16 interceptions on the season. Six have been returned for more than 30 yards – three for touchdowns.
» The Gators are now 27-for-36 in the red zone in 2010 with 23 touchdowns and four field goals. Earlier this season, Florida had a run of 15 straight scores inside the red zone including 14 touchdowns.
» UF is unranked for the first time under Meyer. The Gators had been listed in every poll since he took over in 2005 until they lost to Mississippi State two weeks ago.
» For the first time in their last few games, Florida outranks their opponent in all four major statistical averages. UF is 80th in passing yards (190.9), 58th in rushing yards (153.3), 55th in points scored (28.4) and 34th in points against (20.3) compared to Vanderbilt being 110th in passing yards (114.1), 77th in rushing yards (142.6), 105th in points scored (18.3) and 78th in points against (27.9). Both fell to LSU, but UF defeated Georgia 34-31 in overtime last week, while VU fell 43-0 to them three weeks ago.
» The Gators’ offense has seen 12 different players overall score a touchdown this year – including defense and special teams.
» Florida is the only school in the nation that has four players with at least three interceptions. Overall, seven Gators have at least one interception.
» UF under Meyer is 40-1 when holding an opponent under 16 points, 29-3 when shutting an opponent out in the fourth quarter, 37-3 when holding an opponent to 35 percent or less on third down, 37-2 when giving up two or less big plays (15-yard run/25-yard pass) and 32-3 when the Gators defense scores or creates three turnovers.
» Vanderbilt defensive ends coach Mike Pelton was the defensive line coach under current Florida DL coach Dan McCarney when he was head coach of Iowa State.
» Three pairs of players were former high school teammates: Gators redshirt freshman left tackle Matt Patchan and Commodores offensive lineman Justin Cabbagestalk (Armwood – Tampa, FL), senior cornerback Moses Jenkins and defensive back Steven Clarke (Boyd H. Anderson – Lauderdale Lakes, FL), and redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown and defensive end Johnell Thomas (Boone – Orlando, FL).

KEEP AN EYE ON…

FLORIDA
» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who had thrown 156 consecutive passes without an interception dating back to 2009, now has a 6-6 TD/INT ratio this season after throwing another pick last week. He has completed 145-of-233 passes (62.2 percent) for 1,459 yards and has a passer rating of 118.2.
» Freshman QB Trey Burton…who set a school record and SEC freshman record by scoring six touchdowns in a single game against Kentucky. He has 10 scores on the season, has played five positions, is second on the team in rushing (49 carries for 248 yards) and is seeing even more time behind center with the team wanting to run the ball better out of the option.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and still leads the Gators in rushing (488 yards) after missing a full game and being limited in four others. He was Florida’s leading rusher in its first five games of the season.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey..who returned to action for the first time in over a month against Georgia and has 20 carries for 100 yards (along with 8 receptions for 43 yards) and two touchdowns this year.
» Sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr.…who is quickly becoming one of Florida’s most important pass catchers. He was the team’s leading receiver against Mississippi State and caught three passes for 46 yards against Georgia.
» Senior punter Chas Henry…who is the end-all be-all of Florida’s kicking game now that he has taken over for junior Caleb Sturgis (back) as the team’s field goal kicker. Henry had missed five-straight field goal attempts (one negated by penalty) before nailing back-to-back kicks in the fourth quarter and overtime last week.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted 11 balls this season including three last week against Georgia. Starters senior safety Ahmad Black (three), junior CB Janrois Jenkins, redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (three), and junior S Will Hill (two) have accounted for all of the unit’s picks.
» Black…who has led Florida in tackles five times this season: vs. LSU (13), Georgia (12), Miami (10), Mississippi State (10) and USF (8). He is tops on the team overall with 73 tackles, including five for loss.

VANDERBILT
» QB Larry Smith…a dual threat signal caller who has completed 89-of-176 passes this season for 1,030 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. Smith has also carried the ball 75 times for 205 yards (2.7 average) with a long of 57 and three touchdowns on the ground.
» CB Casey Haward…who shares the NCAA lead with five interceptions on the season and is the first Commodore in team history to grab a pick in four consecutive games.
» DE Tim Fugger…who ranks third nationally with four forced fumbles and is already third all-time in Vanderbilt’s single-season ranks in the category.

INJURIES and INACTIVES
Injuries
Active – Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot), sophomore RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring), redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody (thigh)
Probable – Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose
Questionable – Freshman WR Robert Clark

Inactives
Redshirt junior DT Jaye Howard (ankle), redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (broken wrist), junior K Caleb Sturgis (back), sophomore LB Dee Finley (fractured collarbone), freshmen RB Mack Brown, WRs Quinton Dunbar and Chris Dunkley (hamstrings)

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators at Vanderbilt Commodores preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Week 10: Florida Gators at Vanderbilt Commodores

OGGOA Caption Contest Result: Burton/Georgia

We received over 200 submissions for the third ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive caption contest and a winner has been chosen to receive a FREE Florida Gators rug ($149.99 value) courtesy of the generous folks at Gameday Rugs.

Reader Chris C. sent in two entries that made our top five and were eventually slotted at No. 1 and No. 3 during the voting process.

Official Steve Johnson demonstrates proper “technique” to UGA VIII in his first Florida-Georgia game.

Ascending from his hole at midfield, official Steve Johnson declared, “I definitely see a shadow. Sorry ‘Dawgs, six more years of losses.”

Because we had so many good entries, honorable mention for this contest goes out to the following readers for their submissions. We will do our best to try and find you folks a consolation prize to ease the pain of not being victorious.

First a graphic submission from Tim M.:

George A.: “Coach, what should I do? Should I score this touchdown mimicking Lebron’s layup at the end of his Nike commercial? Should I be like Tebow? Should I be a tight end, halfback, slot receiver or QB?”

OGGOA has given away multiple Florida Gators DVDs, a Game Day purse, T Bow Towels, Gillette Pro Fusion razors, a Turlington Scarf and a variety of other goodies throughout our 13 months of existence. There are a number of other giveaways coming up in the near future, so stay tuned!

Thank you to everyone who participated!

Tags:

Track the Florida Gators en route to Nashville

The Florida Gators are on their way to Nashville, TN, to face the Vanderbilt Commodores in their ninth regular season game of the 2010-11 season. An ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive EXCLUSIVE, the following is the flight information for the Gators, who are flying over on an American Airlines Boeing 737-800 twin-jet. You can also track the flight live while it is in the air!

ORIGIN: Gainesville Regional Airport (KGNV)
DESTINATION: Nashville International Airport (KBNA)

DURATION: 1 hour 10 minutes

DEPARTURE: 4:46 p.m. EDT [scheduled 4:45 p.m. EDT]
ARRIVAL: 4:56 p.m. CDT [scheduled 4:59 p.m. CDT]

TWO BITS: Noah featured in major publiations

1 » Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, featured both in the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated is just beginning his fourth NBA season. Signing a five-year, $60 million extension over the summer, the former Florida Gators star and two-time national champion finally feels at peace in the NBA and is making a case to be known as one of the best centers in the league. ESPN The Magazine‘s feature story focuses on Noah’s living arrangements, comfort in Chicago and acceptance by the fans, while Sports Illustrated‘s article concentrates on Noah’s ascension within the NBA, struggles since joining the league and turn from draft-day pariah to fan favorite.

Below is a video ESPN.com shot to accompany the Noah story as published online.

2 » With Noah and former Florida teammate, Atlanta Hawks forward/center Al Horford, signing nearly identical five-year, $60 million extensions, comparisons between the two players continue to be made in the NBA just like they were in college. Horford, who was taken No. 3 in the 2007 NBA Draft compared to Noah who was drafted in the No. 7 slot, was considered by many to be the better pro prospect coming out of college. However, when looking closely at their numbers and production since joining the league, many executives might take Noah over Horford if given the opportunity.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

11/4: Meyer delivers good, bad injury updates

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s eight game of the 2010-11 season on Saturday against the Vanderbilt Commodores. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

FIRST THE GOOD NEWS

Injured early against Mississippi State and out for Saturday’s game against Georgia, redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle) “looked really good” at practice on Thursday and is expected to play against Vanderbilt, according to Meyer. Joining him will be junior running back Jeff Demps (foot), who saw some action in Jacksonville, FL, but has been limited in practice all week for precautionary reasons. Earlier this week, Demps said he still had pain in his foot when cutting but feels fine when running straight. Meyer also affirmed his statement on Wednesday that both sophomore RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody (thigh) are 100 percent healthy and ready to return to the field.

NOW THE BAD…

Meyer announced Thursday that redshirt freshman tight end Desmond Parks – who has yet to see the field in 2010 – will miss the remainder of the season after having his third wrist surgery in two years. “He’s a tough kid, man. Good dude. The whole deal,” Meyer said. “He won’t play again this year, but we’re pushing for spring practice.”

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle) is still being hampered by his injury, has barely been able to practice this week and “doesn’t look good for the game.” Also out of action Saturday is redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (wrist) and freshman WR Robert Clark (ankle).

DUAL ROLES BENEFIT THE OFFENSE

Redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey and redshirt freshman TE Jordan Reed have been playing two positions for the Gators this season, with Rainey carrying the ball as a running back and Reed taking snaps as a Widcat quarterback. That will continue Saturday, according to Meyer, as Rainey will be taking at least half of his snaps in the backfield and Reed will continue to be used along with redshirt junior starter John Brantley and freshman Trey Burton. In fact, Meyer promised Reed would throw the ball this week, for what it’s worth.

QUOTES

On if the up-tempo offense is now second-nature and if there have been any tweaks to it: “Working through the glitches…you know, we had penalties last week. You couldn’t have done what we done without a bye week.”

On redshirt freshman guard Jon Halapio: “He’s one of our most improved players on the team. Just the way he practices, his work ethic, his toughness. He’s going to be a really, really fine offensive lineman in this conference. […] He’s what you look for in recruiting.”

On if players are looking ahead to South Carolina: “No, I don’t see that at all. My basic concern is getting them up to go play [the Vanderbilt] game. It’s an early game, that’s a pain in the rear end.”

On why they decided to bring the quarterbacks in-and-out: “If you take Johnny out of the game, they’ll play one defense. If [you] keep Johnny in the game, they’ll do blitz-a-thon like it’s been. The tempo, having them pop in and out, it’s hard – especially in a noisy stadium – to start changing defenses. You get mistakes.”

On sophomore tight end Jordan Reed playing more: “He’s really worked really hard. Coming of age. He’s earned his right [to play]. He can help us.”

On potentially resting Demps instead of playing him: “We’re just being smart right now. If he can go, he’ll go.”

On Burton: “Trey’s one of those rare breeds that knows the offense – knows it really well. He’s one of those guys that just picks it up [snaps his fingers] so fast.”

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