Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 15 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL season still in full swing, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 15 action, some of whom had an impact on their team’s performance.OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished during the 15th week of the season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: 8/16 for 138 yards, touchdown (QB rating: 100.5); eight carries for 78 yards (long: 40), touchdown [Video highlights]
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Four receptions for 31 yards, two touchdowns (targets: 5, long: 13); rush for 16 yards

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Three receptions for 61 yards, touchdown (long: 23)
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Four receptions for 89 yards [team-highs] (targets: 6, long: 53)
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Two sacks, three QB hits
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: Five receptions for 72 yards [team-high], touchdown (targets: 7, long: 23); rush for -1 yard
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: 25/43 for 322 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions (QB rating: 93.4)

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Three tackles (two solo)
S MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Three solo tackles
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Five tackles (two solo)
CB KEIWAN RATLIFF, Cincinnati Bengals: Three tackles (two solo)
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Eight tackles (seven solo)
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Reception for 32 yards (targets: 2)
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Two solo tackles
DL JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Solo tackle
LB CHANNING CROWDER, Miami Dolphins: Solo tackle
CB LITO SHEPPARD, Minnesota Vikings: Tackle
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Three tackles (two solo, QB hit)
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Two tackles (one solo)
DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Five tackles (four solo, two for loss)
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Reception for 14 yards (targets: 2)
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Onside kick recovery
LB BRANDON SILER, San Diego Chargers: Two solo tackles (one for loss)
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Four tackles (three solo)
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rush for -1; three rec. for 21 yards

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh Steelers), G Cooper Carlisle (Raiders) – DE Derrick Harvey (Jaguars), RB Fred Taylor (Patriots), DE Jarvis Moss (Raiders)

INACTIVES
LB Andra Davis (Bills), LB Brandon Spikes (Patriots), LT Max Starks (Steelers), RB DeShawn Wynn (49ers)

NOTES
– Tebow received his first career NFL start on Sunday.
– Nelson has scored a touchdown in three consecutive games.
– Grossman received his first start of the season on Sunday.
– Harvin returned after missing two weeks of action due to migraine headaches.
– Cooper’s onside kick recovery was key in his team’s come-from-behind victory.
– Ratliff signed with the Bengals on Wednesday.
– Spikes continues to serve his four-game suspension.

OGGOA RELATED: Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

Four-star CB Waisome drops Florida for FSU

Four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) became the third Florida Gators commitment to leave the program since Nov. 29 after switching his pledge to the Florida State Seminoles on Monday.

Waisome, who originally picked Florida over Florida State when making his official commitment on Aug. 18, said as recently as Dec. 3 that he was “firm” in his decision even after former head coach Urban Meyer stepped down.

After previously taking a trip to Tallahassee, FL, he met with new head coach Will Muschamp while taking an official visit this past weekend and apparently things did not go as well as all had hoped. Waisome’s final decision will likely stick as he is planning to enroll early at the university of his choosing in Jan.

Waisome had previously stated that his relationship with the Gators’ coaching staff was one of the main reasons for his commitment. With a lot of turnover likely – especially at defensive coordinator – he may have felt uncomfortable with the situation. Especially considering he would have been enrolling at Florida without a position coach in place.

Four-star linebacker Ryan Shazier (Plantation, FL) left the Gators for the Ohio State Buckeyes on Dec. 17, and four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, NC) decommitted in late Nov. Pagan had been back-and-forth over his decision. With Waisome’s departure, UF has lost their three best defensive recruits in under 20 days.

The Gators now have only five defensive commitments remaining as part of the 2011 class: four-star CB Louchiez Purifoy (Pensacola, FL), four-star athlete/safety De’Ante Saunders (Deland, FL), four-star DE Clay Burton (Venice, FL), three-star CB Chris Johnson (Ocala, FL) and three-star ATH/CB Valdez Showers (Madison Heights, MI).

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Jacksonville stuns No. 19/20 Florida in overtime

Coming off their biggest win of the season, the newly-minted No. 19/20 Florida Gators were looking to continue the momentum just under two days later against the Jacksonville Dolphins at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Florida (8-3) instead proved that they were not up to the task and dropped a 71-68 overtime thriller to their in-state visitors.

The Gators began the game just like their last: slow and inefficient. Florida only posted six points in the first seven minutes of the game while simultaneously turning the ball over five times. They completed the first half with 13 turnovers and only shot 9-of-20 from the field, allowing Jacksonville (7-3) to take a 29-27 lead into the locker rooms.

UF looked like it was starting to turn things around in the second half as they went up a game-high seven points on a trey by junior point guard Erving Walker with 6:58 remaining. That advantage would be short lived, however, with JU putting together a 7-0 run to tie the game up at 56 just three minutes later.

Up two with the ball and 33 seconds left in the game, the Gators looked to close out the contest. Unfortunately senior forward Chandler Parsons turned the ball over near mid-court; Dolphins guard Ayron Hardy stole it and dunked it with 21 seconds remaining to force overtime..

Walker hit three of four free throws early in overtime to give Florida a 64-63 advantage, but a turnover in the backcourt by sophomore G Kenny Boynton allowed Jacksonville to take a 65-64 lead.

Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin knocked in a missed layup by Walker to put UF back up one, but four-straight free throws by JU G Keith McDougald would end up icing the game for the underdogs.

Though he scored a season-high 21 points and made 9-of-13 free throws, Walker missed a game-winner in regulation and game-tying shot in overtime for Florida. He also shot only 5-of-12 from the field and 2-for-6 from downtown.

Filling out the box score for the Gators with double-digit points were Macklin (13), Boynton (12) and senior F Alex Tyus (10). Macklin and Boynton combined to go 10-for-27 from the field, part of the reason why the team as a whole only shot 35.6 percent (21-of-59).

The Dolphins were led by McDougald’s game-high 18 points but were also fortunate enough to have an impressive showing from Hardy, who scored 12 points to go along with eight rebounds.

Jacksonville out-shot Florida from the field and downtown, but the Gators out-rebounded the Dolphins 42-30. UF turned the ball over four more times than JU, but Jacksonville fouled Florida twice as often (26-13), part of the reason the offense was so off-balance.

The Gators will try to collect themselves before facing Radford on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will air live on Comcast Sports South (check your local listings).

Florida elevated in Top 25 polls after big win

The Florida Gators (8-2) took a step forward in the latest ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls after defeating the then-No. 6/6 Kansas State Wildcats 57-44 at the 2010 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL, on Saturday.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 7 (1,153)No. 7 (568)-
2W 68-45 vs. William & Mary1-0No. 8 (1,127)No. 7 (560)-
3L 69-67 vs. Miami
W(OT) 61-56 vs. ULM
2-1No. 18 (467)No. 16 (303)-
4L(OT) 65-66 vs. Georgetown
W 56-47 vs. UAB
L 64-75 vs. North Carolina
3-3NR (40)No. 24 (60)-

ESPN/USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Kansas State, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Baylor, San Diego State, Villanova, Missouri, Georgetown, Illinois, Michigan State, Kentucky, Purdue, Brigham Young, Memphis, Minnesota, Louisville, UNLV, Notre Dame, Florida, Texas

This Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Villanova, Georgetown, Missouri, Kansas State, Michigan State, Purdue, Kentucky, Baylor, Minnesota, Memphis, Tennessee, Florida, Notre Dame, Illinois, Texas, Brigham Young, Texas A&M, Louisville

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Duke (65), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Kansas State, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Villanova, San Diego State, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan State, Georgetown, Brigham Young, Kentucky, Memphis, Purdue, Louisville, Minnesota, Texas, UNLV, Notre Dame, Texas A&M
+ Florida received 55 votes (good for No. 27)

This Week 1-25: Duke (64), Ohio State (1), Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Villanova, Missouri, Georgetown, Kansas State, Michigan State, Kentucky, Purdue, Baylor, Memphis, Minnesota, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Illinois, Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Central Florida, Texas A&M

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

Tebow scores twice in first start as Broncos fall

Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow performed well in his first NFL start on Sunday. The rest of his team? Not so much.

Tebow completed 50 percent of his passes (8-of-16) for 138 yards and a touchdown and added eight carries for 78 yards and a rushing score as Denver fell 39-23 on the road to the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Both of Tebow’s touchdowns – a 40-yard QB draw on third-and-24 and 33-yard strike to wide receiver Brandon Lloyd – came in the first quarter and helped the Broncos jump out to an early 14-7 lead.

Unfortunately his defense and special teams failed to get him the ball more often. When they did, miscues followed.

Running back Lance Ball dropped a perfect pass from Tebow in the end zone for one touchdown, and Denver’s offensive line failed to provide the signal caller the type of protection he needed to make a number of other throws during the game.

Tebow’s 40-yard touchdown run was the longest by a signal caller in team history, and his 78 rushing yards are the second-most by a quarterback in a single game in the Broncos’ record books.

He also became only the third player (first rookie) in NFL history to complete a touchdown pass of 30 yards or more and run 40+ yards for a score in the same game.

It is unknown whether or not Tebow will retain the starting job for Denver’s next contest, a home game against Houston on Dec. 26.

Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

FOUR BITS: Tebow starting, Addazio leaving?

1 » Four quarterbacks were selected within the first 85 picks of the 2010 NFL Draft, yet Denver Broncos rookie Tim Tebow – picked No. 25 overall in the first round – is the only one of the bunch yet to start a game at QB for his team this season. That will change Sunday as Tebow will take his place behind center for the 3-10 Broncos in relief of injured starter Kyle Orton (ribs). Tebow, who has taken almost every first-team snap in practice this week, already has four touchdowns this year (three rushing) but has played sparingly for Denver up until this point. The head coach who drafted him and believed in him, Josh McDaniels, is no longer with the club, and Tebow will be starting behind an offensive line that allowed Orton to be sacked 34 times in the team’s first 13 games. Nevertheless, all eyes will be on Tebow at 4:15 p.m. (ET) expecting him to show he has what it takes to play QB in the NFL.

2 » According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Florida Gators offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio will interview for the head coaching job with the Temple Owls. Addazio, who has never been a NCAA head coach, has been coaching in college since 1995 and is not likely to be retained at his current position by new Florida head coach Will Muschamp. Though a majority of fans are pleased with Addazio’s past success as a recruiter and coaching the offensive line, his struggles managing the Gators’ offense over the last two seasons have drawn their ire. Addazio is not the only candidate for the job but would be a big pick-up for a smaller school as he could bring in top recruits and likely perform better as a head coach than a coordinator.

3 » Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin, who has missed his team’s past two games after his severe migraine headaches acted up again, is expected to return to the field this week. Harvin has undergone plenty of treatment for his migraines since entering the NFL, but doctors have continuously failed in pinpointing their cause or minimizing their affect on him. According to the player, he now has a “clear mind” and practiced “more explosive than when I left” after spending a week at a Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, meeting with a migraine specialist. Harvin is now on a new medicine that will help him control other triggers that might cause the headaches. “We covered pretty much every base. We’ve got a plan to prevent it, we’ve got a plan if it comes, and we’ve got a plan if it’s real bad,” he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

4 » Certain BCS bowl teams may be having problems selling out the tickets for their games, but Florida has had no issues getting rid of their allotment for the 2011 Outback Bowl. The Gators have sold their assigned 12,000 tickets for the event and fans are snatching up plenty of the non-allotted tickets to see head coach Urban Meyer lead the team for the last time against the Penn State Nittany Lions and soon-to-be 84-year-old head coach Joe Paterno.

Photo Credit: Ed Reinke/Associated Press

Gators shine in 57-44 win over No. 6 Wildcats

Saturday was a day of redemption for the No. 24 Florida Gators. Down 20-8 to the No. 6 Kansas State Wildcats late in the first half, head coach Billy Donovan’s team came back from their deficit with solid defense and efficient shooting to prevail 57-44 at the 2010 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, FL.

Florida (8-2), which improved to 8-2 all-time in the event, held Kansas State (9-2) to 27.3 percent team shooting and outscored them 37-21 in the second half for their most impressive victory of the season.

Things started off slow for both teams but especially for the Gators, who did not score until junior point guard Erving Walker drained a jumper eight minutes into the game. The Wildcats jumped ahead 20-8 on a three-pointer by guard Jacob Pullen with 9:05 remaining in the first half but went on a significant drought from that point forward.

Down 12 after Pullen’s trey, Florida went on a 12-3 run to end the half and added an 8-0 run coming out of the locker rooms to take a 28-23 lead. The Wildcats would reduce their deficit to three, but the Gators kept inching further and further ahead eventually going up a game-high 18 on two free throws by Walker with 2:38 left in the game.

Sophomore G Kenny Boynton, who played the first game of his college career near his hometown in Broward County, was named the contest’s Most Valuable Player after posting a team-high 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting (2-for-4 from downtown). He rebounded significantly from his last two games, in which he combined to go 3-of-21 from the field and 1-for-14 from beyond the arc.

Boynton started 0-2 and also missed two consecutive free throws.

Walker had his most impressive game of the season with 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting while dishing three assists and only turning the ball over once. Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin was his consistent self with seven rebounds to go along with 10 points.

Playing major minutes off the bench were freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin, freshman C Patric Young and sophomore forward Erik Murphy Young grabbed two big rebounds and swatted the ball away twice, while Murphy scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting while notching four boards.

Florida’s senior Fs, Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus had juxtaposed performances. Parsons grabbed four rebounds, blocked three shots and scored seven points in 31 minutes, while Tyus played only 19 minutes and made one basket.

Pullen was Kansas State’s only effective scorer, but even he went 6-of-17 (1-for-17 from three) for a game-high 19 points. No other Wildcats player posted double-digit points and only two others (non-starters) made more than one basket.

UF out-shot KSU 53.5-27.3 percent and blocked five more shots but turned the ball over nine more times (17-8) and was out-rebounded 26-28.

Kansas State’s point total was their lowest in five seasons under head coach Frank Martin, and Florida played the best defense it has all season, holding a ranked opponent to under 50 points for the first time since 1968.

The Gators return to Gainesville, FL, to face Jacksonville on Monday at 1 p.m. The game will air live on Sun Sports (check your local listings).

Photo Credit: Jeffrey M. Boan/Associated Press

No. 24 Florida Gators vs. No. 6 Kansas State

Event: Orange Bowl Basketball Classic
Location: BankAtlantic Center – Sunrise, FL [Capacity: 20,737]
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FSN
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 24 FLORIDA GATORS No. 6 KANSAS ST. WILDCATS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Frank Martin
Record: 7-2 Record: 9-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big 12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Kansas State -1.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida is 7-2 when participating in the OBBC with their last loss coming to Richmond in 2009. The Gators’ previous loss in the event was in 1997.
» This is the first-ever meeting between Florida and Kansas State.
» The Gators are 12-9 all-time against current members of the Big 12. The team has earned a 2-1 mark in such games under Donovan.
» Florida has out-rebounded eight of nine opponents this season including their two losses. UF is averaging +7.3 rebounds per game more than their opposition.
»The Gators have forced 15.9 turnovers per game in their seven wins but only 8.5 per game in their two losses this season.
» Florida is 79-21 under Donovan in the month of December.
» Donovan needs just three victories to move into sole possession of third place in SEC history for most wins as an SEC head coach.
» Kansas State bests Florida in three of four major statistical categories nationally including points per game 76.2-70.9 (67th-161st), rebounds per game 42.4-36.8 (13th-132nd) and assists per game 15.3-14.3 (65th-108th). However, the Gators shoot better from the field than the Wildcats .482-.452 (33rd-100th).

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton and junior point guard Erving Walker…a backcourt duo that has combined to average 24.2 points per game and has accounted for 33 of their team’s 48 three-pointers this season. Boynton, however, is struggling as of late after shooting a combined 3-21 (1-14 from downtown) over the last two contests for a total of seven points.
» Sophomore forward Erik Murphy…who is really coming on this season after only seeing the court sparingly as a freshman. Murphy has posted double-digit points three times and played more than 16 minutes in seven of nine games.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting 75 percent over the last three games and is becoming a force for Florida inside the paint.
» Senior F Alex Tyus…who, after going scoreless against Central Florida, has gone 15-23 from the field over the last two contests for 34 points.
» Senior F Chandler Parsons…who is averaging 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and is an integral part to the Gators’ success.
» Freshman PG Scottie Wilbekin…who has posted a commendable 21-6 assist-to-turnover ratio while running the point in relief of Walker.
» Kansas State star G Jacob Pullen…who is averaging 16.3 points, 4.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. Pullen has scored 18 points or more in half of his team’s games.
» Wildcats F Curtis Kelly…who is his team’s second-best scorer averaging 11.6 points along with 4.4 rebounds per game. Kelly missed KSU’s first three games of the season.

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