1 » Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jaylen Watkins and New England Patriots guard Jon Halapio, both third-day selections in the 2014 NFL Draft, signed rookie contracts with their respective teams on Monday. There is already talk that Watkins may be able to push for a starting cornerback job at some point this season, though Philadelphia’s plan right now is to work him out at corner, nickel and safety in order to figure out how he can contribute the most from the get-go. Halapio is expected to start out as a reserve in New England, which is trying to strengthen its offensive line this offseason. OnlyGators.com will post full stories on each signing once it is able to obtain the detailed contract information for the players.
Despite being overwhelming favorites and the team with the BCS pedigree, the No. 3 Florida Gators (11-2) were blasted on Wednesday evening by the No. 21 Louisville Cardinals (11-2), which pulled off a 33-23 upset victory at the 2013 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA.
Louisville scored on the first play from scrimmage of each half, overwhelmed Florida’s defense throughout the game and capitalized on each one of its opponent’s miscues to pull off the greatest victory in program history and biggest upset in BCS bowl game history. The Gators also snapped their streak of four-straight bowl wins and fell in a BCS game for the first time since 2000.
Florida put itself in an early hole on the very first play from scrimmage as sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel’s pass was tipped off the hands of redshirt junior wide receiver Andre Debose only to be intercepted by Louisville cornerback Terrell Floyd and returned for a touchdown just 15 seconds into the game. The defensive score was the Cardinals’ first of the season.
The Gators then went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and allowed UL QB Teddy Bridgewater to convert three third downs before running back Jeremy Wright carried the ball in for a one-yard touchdown. The 12-play, 83-yard drive ended with 6:47 left in the first quarter and gave UF its largest deficit of the season.
Event: 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, LA [Capacity: 72,589]
Time: 8:30 p.m. EST
Tickets: Best deals on Florida Gators tickets starting at $47 on TiqIQ
TV: ESPN / ESPNHD / ESPN3D (Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman, Quint Kessenich)
SiriusXM: 84 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper
|No. 3 FLORIDA GATORS||No. 21 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS|
|Head Coach: Will Muschamp||Head Coach: Charlie Strong|
|Record: 11-1||Record: 10-2|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Big East|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida -14 | O/U: 47.5
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida is 2-0 all-time against Louisville with the meetings occurring in Gainesville, FL in 1980 (W 13-0) and 1992 (W 31-17).
» The Gators have won four-straight bowl games (a school record) and hold a 20-19 all-time record in such contests. UF has appeared in 22 consecutive bowl games and made the most appearances in January bowl games (19) since 1993 as well as the most consecutive January bowl game appearances (eight).
» Florida is 5-1 in BCS bowl games and has won four-straight dating back to 2001. Winning a sixth would tie UF with USC and Ohio State for most BCS wins since the system began in 1998.
» The Gators are 3-5 all-time in the Sugar Bowl with appearances in 1965 (L), 1974 (L), 1991 (L), 1993 (W), 1994 (L), 1996 (W), 2000 (L) and 2009 (W).
» The Cardinals are making their first-ever Sugar Bowl appearance and second BCS bowl appearance. Louisville will be playing in a bowl game for the 17th time.
» Florida is looking to finish with 12+ wins for just the sixth time in school history.
» The Gators went 4-1 against teams currently in the BCS top 12.
» UF currently boasts the No. 1 ranked strength of schedule nationally.
» Florida finished 7-0 at home in a season for just the third time in school history. The 2006 and 2009 UF teams also accomplished that feat.
» The Gators are 4-6 against ranked teams under Muschamp but 4-1 in that category this season with wins over Tennessee, LSU, South Carolina and Florida State.
» Florida was 0-5 when trailing at the half in 2011 but has flipped that around and is 4-1 in 2012 in that category with all four victories vs. SEC opponents (two ranked).
» The Gators are 12-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 1-5 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards. UF is also 14-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 10-1 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 12-3 when scoring first and 14-1 when leading at the half.
» Florida ranks first nationally in pass efficiency defense (91.5), third in scoring defense (12.9 points), fourth in third-down defense (.283), fifth in total defense (282.6 yards) and sixth in rush defense (96.6 yards).
» The 12.9 points per game allowed by the Gators defense is the lowest average since 1964 (9.8) despite facing three top-25 total offenses.
» Florida is +17 in turnover margin (fifth nationally) after being -12 in 2011 (113th). The 12 turnovers lost by UF Is the fewest for the program since at least 1949.
» The Gators have grabbed 19 interceptions, more than doubling its 2011 total of eight. UF has grabbed at least one pick in nine games and has forced nine fumbles.
» Florida is averaging 33:07 in time of possession through 12 games, a margin that ranks sixth nationally and first in the SEC by 1:18 per game.
» The Gators have at least two kickoff returns for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons after never having more than one in a single season before 2010. UF has not yet registered a kick return (or punt return) in 2012.
» Florida is seventh nationally in net punt average (40.7 yards per punt).
» Louisville is No. 1 nationally in red zone efficiency, converting 48-of-50 (.960) opportunities into scores including 34 touchdowns on 50 total drives (.680).
» The Cardinals are 14th nationally in passing efficiency (154.84) and third-down efficiency (.485).
» The Gators will wear blue jerseys and orange pants in the game. It is the first time Florida will be donning that uniform combination since the 1999 Florida State game.
Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gameday: 2013 Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA) – No. 3 Florida Gators vs. No. 21 Louisville Cardinals
No. 3 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and No. 21 Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming 2013 Sugar Bowl and their respective teams heading into the game. Below are some choice notes and quotes from the media sessions.
» Muschamp on freshman standouts: “You look at Antonio Morrison, [Jonathan] Bullard and [Dante] Fowler. Those three guys have been as productive as any freshman I’ve been around.”
» Muschamp on becoming a head coach: “It’s taking the right job. I had other opportunities before the Florida job came. It’s about taking the right job. It’s about the right situation, the right people, the right circumstances, being in a situation where you think you can be successful. All the critical factors as far as recruiting base, support from the administration, all of those things need to be in place.”
» Muschamp on Florida’s lagging Sugar Bowl ticket sales and if the numbers worry him: “Obviously right now economically we’re going through a tough time in our country. I think that certainly has affected everyone, not just Gator fans. And so that’s a tough time right now and there’s different ways to get tickets other than going through the University Athletic Association. Obviously we’re seeing a little bit of a loophole those things happening as well. … I don’t worry about that. I worry about third down and stuff like that. I let Jeremy [Foley] worry about that.”
» Muschamp on an injury update: “We’re fine. We’re good to go for the game.”
» Muschamp on playing in a dome and what the team has had to do to prepare: “Adjusting to the lights. We’ve worked it all week, as far as seeing the punt catchers and kick off and receivers working and catching the football because it’s a little different with the lights in the stadium there. We’ve worked on that. And kicking in an environment for [Caleb] Sturgis is good for us. We can probably be at the 38 yard line and be in range for a 55-yard, 56-yard [field goal] maybe even to the 40 [yard line].”
» Muschamp said sophomore cornerback Marcus Roberson will be the punt returner while sophomore CB Loucheiz Pufioy and redshirt junior wide receiver Andre Debose will both be back for kick returns.
Read the rest of what Muschamp and Strong had to say…after the break!
Continue Reading » 1/1: Muschamp, Strong talk teams, Sugar Bowl
On Sunday, after the No. 3 Florida Gators and No. 21 Louisville Cardinals were officially announced as the participants in the 2013 Sugar Bowl, head coaches Will Muschamp and Charlie Strong spoke to the media, accepting their respective bid to the bowl and discussing their own team heading into the game. Below are highlights from that media availability that were not otherwise featured in OGGOA‘s story on Strong from Sunday evening.
» Muschamp on the opportunity to play in the game: “We’re honored to play in New Orleans. New Orleans is a great place with a lot of Gators. It was our first national championship in 1996. This will be our seventh BCS bowl appearance, which is first in the SEC. A lot of respect for Louisville and their football team they have and of course Charlie strong, who was a huge part of two national championships here at the University of Florida in ‘06 and ‘08. He’s an outstanding defensive coordinator and a good friend.”
» Muschamp on not having a chance to play for the national title: “It is what it is. The system we have in place is what we have. We had our opportunity in Jacksonville, didn’t quite get it done to get into the national championship game. But we’re going to play in the sugar bowl and represent our conference. That’s a huge honor in itself to represent the University of Florida every time you step on the field. We have great motivation for this game, regardless of the circumstances.”
Read the rest of this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » Muschamp, Strong speak about Sugar Bowl bids
Coming off an 11-1 regular season, a five-game improvement from a year ago, the No. 3 Florida Gators have been awarded a spot in the 2013 Sugar Bowl where the team will take on the No. 21 Louisville Cardinals (10-2) on Jan. 2 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. The game will air live at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Florida and Louisville will be participating in the 79th annual version of the game. It is the ninth time the Gators will play in the Sugar Bowl but the first for the Cardinals.
UF holds a 3-5 all-time record in the Sugar Bowl, last playing against and defeating Cincinnati 51-24 on Jan. 1, 2010. Florida is also 2-0 all-time against Louisville; the teams have not met since 1992.
The Gators were originally expected to face the Oklahoma Sooners in the game. However, a strong finish to the season by Northern Illinois Huskies moved them up to No. 15 in the final BCS standings and into a game. The Huskies earned a guaranteed berth because they finished in the top 16 of the BCS standings and ahead of at least one automatic qualifying conference champion, thus knocking the Sooners out of an at-large bid and moving the Cardinals into the Sugar Bowl.
The game has an additional level of intrigue as Louisville is currently led by former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, who took over as head coach in 2010. Also on Strong’s staff are former UF defensive backs coach Vance Bedford (defensive coordinator), running backs coach Kenny Carter (same position) and defensive graduate assistant Tommy Restivo (DB coach).
The Cardinals’ roster also includes Gators transfers wide receiver Robert Clark, tight end Gerald Christian and cornerback Adrian Bushell.
Florida will be appearing in its 22nd consecutive bowl game, a mark that ranks first in the Southeastern Conference and second nationally. The Gators are 20-19 all-time in bowls; UF has won four straight and six of its last seven.
Sugar Bowl Committee President Jack Laborde: “We’re very excited to be welcoming the University of Florida and the University of Louisville to New Orleans for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Each year, we have the pleasure of welcoming thousands of fans to this great city and showing off all it has to offer – world-class cuisine, trend-setting music, outstanding gridiron competition and more. We look forward to introducing our unique flavor of hospitality to all of the players, coaches, administrators and fans from these two great schools.”
Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan: “We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to host these two outstanding teams in this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl Committee has worked hard over the years to present outstanding match-ups that produce thrilling games. In Will Muschamp and Charlie Strong, we have two of the country’s top young coaches and we know both will have their teams ready to play on January 2nd. We have little doubt that this game will produce another memorable chapter in the great history of the Sugar Bowl.”
No. 7 Florida Gators basketball (6-0) blew out the Marquette Golden Eagles (5-2) in the 2012 SEC/BIG EAST Challenge at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Thursday. Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media and shared some of his thoughts after the game.
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida is now 2-2 all-time against Marquette and 17-10 against Big East teams under Donovan (1-2 in the regular season games played as part of a challenge or invitational).
» The Gators’ defense continues to dominate. UF has only given up 26 or more points in a single have twice in 12 halves played this season.
» Six Florida players scored in double figures, the most this season.
» The Gators are 31-1 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game.
» Marquette reserves were averaging 35 points and 22 rebounds per game; those players registered just 19 points and five boards on Thursday.
» Florida has 16 assists on 28 made baskets and turned the ball over just eight times. UF forced 14 turnovers in the game.
» The Gators won the rebounding margin 37-23 and shot well in all three phases of the game including 50.9 percent from the floor, 37.5 percent from downtown and 85.0 percent from the free throw line.
» 20 NBA scouts were in attendance, according to UF.
» Freshman guard Michael Frazier II came off the bench to score a team- and career-high 17 points. He made five treys in eight attempts and was 6-of-9 from the floor.
» Junior center Patric Young came off the bench in both halves but still led the way with a game-high 10 rebounds. He matched a career-best with six offensive boards and finished with a double-double as he posted 10 points.
» Redshirt senior G Mike Rosario, junior forward Will Yeguete and junior F Casey Prather scored 11 points each. Yeguete added seven rebounds and a block while Rosario and Prather combined for six boards and three dimes. Senior F Erik Murphy also chipped in 10 points.
» Senior G Kenny Boynton notched a game-high five assists while only turning the ball over once but struggled to find the bottom of the net. He went 2-for-11 from the field and 0-for-5 from downtown to finish with just six points. Boynton also passed Eddie Shannon for sixth all-time on the school’s career minutes list.
» G Vander Blue was the only Marquette player that truly came to play. He scored a game-high 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting and was the only one on his team to score more than six points.
Read the rest of what Donovan had to say…after the break!
Continue Reading » 11/29: Florida vs. Marquette post-game report; Patric Young responds to coming off bench
Hosting the Marquette Golden Eagles (5-2) on Thursday evening as part of the 2012 SEC/BIG EAST Challenge, the No. 7 Florida Gators (6-0) put together another complete performance, running the visitors out of the building with a big 82-49 victory at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.
Florida improved to 31-1 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game. The Gators had six players score in double figures and used their stellar defense to hold an advantage all game long, never giving up a lead that appeared to increase with each passing minute.
Both teams were cold out of the gate with each going 3-for-11 from the field to start the game. Redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario scored six of Florida’s first 10 points, but it was back-to-back threes from freshman G Michael Frazier II that fueled a 13-4 run and propelled the Gators ahead of the Golden Eagles 23-13 midway through the half.
Frazier got hot again just before halftime, once again nailing consecutive treys as part of an 8-0 run that put UF on top of MU by 16 with a minute to play until the break. Florida senior forward Erik Murphy followed suit by scoring five-straight as part of a 9-0 run that opened the second half and gave the Gators a 23-point lead.
Junior center Patric Young, who was removed from the starting lineup prior to the game because head coach Billy Donovan said he was displaying a poor attitude during practice, was understandably motivated and played like he was on fire. Young finished with a double-double including a game-high 10 rebounds (matching a career-high with six on the offensive glass) and also registered 10 points and three big blocks.
Leading the way for the Gators was Frazier, whose five three-pointers made up most of his team- and career-high 17 points. Rosario (11), Murphy (10), junior F Will Yeguete (11) and junior F Casey Prather (11) also scored in double-figures. Yeguete contributed seven boards and also had an impressive swat early in the contest.
Senior G Kenny Boynton had an off night overall, going just 2-for-11 from the field and 0-for-5 from downtown for six points in a team-high 34 minutes. He did, however, dish a game-high five assists while only turning the ball over once.
The Golden Eagles did not get much going overall but did benefit from a superb performance from G Vander Blue, who finished 8-of-14 for a game-high 20 points.
Florida outshot Marquette from the field, beyond the arc and at the charity stripe. The Gators hit 17-of-20 free throws and held the rebounding edge 37-23. Despite the Golden Eagles being one of the best bench scoring teams in the nation, UF had the edge there 40-19 and also outscored MU in the paint 32-28.
Now having opened the season 6-0 for just the second time since 2007-08, Florida will get six days off before travelling to Tallahassee, FL for an in-state rivalry game with Florida State on Dec. 5.
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