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Friday Sports Update (9/12)

By on September 12th, 2014

Gator volleyball gets a win, Gator soccer on the road, college football, NFL and a Miami Marlin gets sent to the hospital, all in our Friday Sports Update…

** The UF volleyball team downs San Diego Thursday in three games to move to 5-2 on the season.   Florida now plays USC tonight.   Meanwhile, Gator soccer continues a road swing today as they travel to face Stanford while facing New Mexico Sunday on the road.

** In college football, BYU beats Houston 33-25 and Louisiana Tech downs North Texas 42-21.   Tonight, Cincinnati plays Toledo and Buffalo squares off against nationally ranked Baylor.

** In the NFL, Baltimore at home throttles Pittsburgh 26-6 as both teams now have 1-1 records on the year.

** In high school football, Ocala Trinity Catholic downs Eastside 45-21 to keep the Rams winless this season.   Tonight, a lot of great games in the area like Dixie County-Trenton, Columbia County at Buchholz and Suwannee County at Santa Fe.

** In baseball, Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was taken to the hospital after being hit in the face by a pitch last night against Milwaukee.   Stanton was having a great year and was in MVP consideration in the National League.

** On the field, Milwaukee beat Miami 4-2 while Tampa Bay blows a lead late and loses to the New York Yankees 5-4.   This weekend, Tampa Bay plays red hot Toronto; Miami is at Philadelphia and Atlanta is at Texas.

** Former Gator golfer Billy Horschel is playing well on the PGA Tour as his opening round 66 ties him for the lead at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

** NASCAR’s Chase For The Cup begins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway; for the first time it will feature a 16 driver field and have three rounds of elimination.

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Gator Volleyball on Winning End of Bullfight Against Toreros

By on September 12th, 2014

Gator freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan was unstoppable as the 10th ranked Florida volleyball squad (4-2) swept through 13th ranked San Diego (5-2) to open play at the USC Classic in the City of Angels. The Gators downed the Toreros (25-22, 25-19, 25-14) and moved head coach Mary Wise to career win number 799, one away from the 800 victory milestone.

The match marked their third three-set sweep for the Orange and Blue on the 2014 season. The victory was also the first for Florida over a ranked opponent this season.

The 6’4″ Alhassan hit .800 for the second time this season, along with a career-high 16 kills on 20 errorless swings, while leading the Gators in blocking for the sixth straight match with five against the Toreros. Sophomore right side Alex Holston turned in a career-best .538 hitting efficiency (7-0-13) and freshman outside hitter Carli Snyder had herself a night with a .462 clip and eight kills as the Gators registered their best offensive output of the season with a .449 hitting percentage.

The Orange and Blue will now set sights on home team and tournament host, sixth ranked USC, as the Gators and Trojans match up at 10:30 p.m., and you can listen in on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 10:20 p.m.

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Gator Volleyball on West Coast Swing for USC Classic

By on September 11th, 2014

The 10th ranked Gator volleyball team is California this weekend, as Florida (3-2) heads down the final stretch of a tough non-conference slate at the USC Classic in Los Angeles. The Orange and Blue will match up against 13th ranked San Diego (5-1) and number six USC (6-0) as part of the four-team tournament that also features SEC rival Texas A&M (although the Gators will not be facing them).

The Gators come into this weekend looking bounce back from two tough match ups. The Gators squared off with its first two ranked opponents of their 2014 campaign at number seven FSU before hosting second ranked Texas last week. The Orange and Blue fell short in both matches, 3-2 against the Seminoles and 3-1 in the tilt with the Longhorns to move to 3-2 overall on their season.

Senior libero Holly Pole says that despite the recent skid, the team is looking forward to their trip to the West Coast.

“It should be fun,” Pole said. “You know, our furthest trip we’ve gone is Tallahassee. So we’re all excited to get out of Florida for a little while and get out to California. Definitely two great teams in San Diego and USC, so definitely excited.”

Florida’s first challenge will be against Toreros of San Diego on Thursday night in the first meeting between the schools.  The Gators will then play USC Friday night. The Trojans lead the all-time series 5-2 (all under coach Mary Wise), with the Gators winning in their last meeting in 2005 in five sets. This is the fourth time the Gators and Trojans meet in LA, and the Orange and Blue are looking for their first victory on USC’s home court.

UF’s trip to the Golden State is the second-to-last weekend of their challenging non-conference schedule. San Diego and USC will mark Florida’s fourth and fifth straight opponents, respectively, either ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Top-25 Poll.

First serve for Thursday’s match against the Toreros is scheduled for 8 p.m; while Friday night’s matchup against the Trojans will be at 10:30 p.m. You can catch both matches on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For comments from Coach Mary Wise and Holly Pole, click here:

Wise talks about the team looking at the long-term as opposed to short-term

Pole talks about the California road trip

Pole advises her younger teammates for the road trip

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Florida Football Set To Open SEC Play This Weekend; Gators Fired Up To Take On Kentucky

By on September 11th, 2014

The Florida football team is gearing up to open conference play this weekend as it plays Kentucky this Saturday in the Swamp. The Gators dominated Eastern Michigan 65-0 last week where Florida unleashed its revamped up-tempo offense racking up 655 total yards while giving a lot of the back ups, including true freshman quarterback Treon Harris some experience as the squad cruised to their first win of the season. Now, Florida has turned its attention and focus to preparing for its next opponent – the Wildcats. Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin and a few of the Gators discussed the team’s preparations and overall status heading into this weekend’s SEC matchup.

Some unfortunate news is that true freshman cornerback J.C. Jackson will undergo shoulder surgery next week to repair a torn labrum that limited him in contact drills during fall camp.  Jackson injured his shoulder during Florida’s season opening win over the Eagles and will be out for the rest of the season. Gator head coach Will Muschamp says the injury was a carry over from Jackson’s high school career. He added that Jackson will redshirt, which will give him four full years of eligibility.

“A labrum issue he had in high school that was repaired and continued to slip out,” Muschamp said. “He possibly could continue to push through the season, but we felt with his young age, go ahead and try and get it fixed and move on.”

Jackson was one of four true freshmen in the playing rotation in the secondary in the opener, alongside Quincy Wilson, Jalen Tabor and Duke Dawson. Durkin plans to continue rotating players in the secondary and says it’s man down, man up; and he is looking forward to seeing some of the newcomers step up and fill the void.

“We’re down one guy,” Durkin said. “We were rotating all of those freshmen that we brought in and played in that game and they’re going to continue to play for us. They’re in the rotation and they will play in the foreseeable future for games.”

“We have enough bodies back there to be all right,” he added. “I feel bad for J.C. He worked hard coming in here to put himself in a position to play and help us as a freshman. For him, he’s a quick healer. It’s a setback for him, but just a minor one. He’ll work through it and be fine. But in the meantime, the good part is we’ve been rotating a bunch of guys so we’ll be able to handle it.”

The Gators are making a few other adjustments in the wake of a high ankle sprain injury to junior offensive lineman D.J. Humphries. Fifth-year senior Chaz Green will replace Humphries, moving from right tackle to left. Humphries is expected to be out for two weeks and redshirt freshman Roderick Johnson will be the new starter at right tackle.

“I mean it’s unfortunate that we lost one of our starters,” Green added.  “But at the same time, I’m glad that I have the experience and can play that side that way we don’t have to put a young player that doesn’t have the experience that I have. Thankfully we have the depth.”

Meanwhile, sophomore defensive back Marcus Maye, who was out for Florida’s season opener due to a hamstring injury, is expected to return to the gridiron, hopefully on Saturday.  Durkin says he’s not 100% certain if  Maye will play this weekend but will have a decision within the next few days.

“That will be an ongoing thing going on here throughout the week,” Durkin added. “Obviously I would love to have him play but that will be something we determine towards the end of the week.”

The Wildcats are 2-0 after hammering UT-Martin 59-14 in their home opener and then beating Ohio University.  Despite the schedule getting tougher, Green says Florida is hoping to get its 28th consecutive win against the Cats on Saturday.

“We put on a good show and that was something to applaud, but this is SEC ball now and we know the level of competition definitely steps up and takes another jump,” Green added.

Durkin added that Kentucky is a very talented team and says taking on the Wildcats may be a bit of a challenge for the squad.

“Those guys are playing very disciplined,” he said. “They’re playing with great technique and confidence. You can tell they have a great belief in what they’re doing. Our guys know that and recognize it so we’re going to continue to have a great week of practice because we know we have a challenge ahead of us.”

Redshirt senior linebacker Michael Taylor says he’s ready to take on all opponents, especially SEC rivals.

“We welcome any team who is ready to come play us because we’re ready to play them. If they’re on our schedule – we’re ready.”

“We need every victory on our schedule,” he added. “If we are going to accomplish the goals we want to achieve this year, we need every win, and that’s what we’re going to do and get.”

The Gators welcome the Wildcats to the Swamp this Saturday.  Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM and you can catch all the pregame action on ESPN 850 WRUF beginning at 3:30.

For audio on the above quotes, click below: 

Durkin on J.C Jackson

Durkin on Marcus Maye’s status

Green on taking over for Humphries

Green on Humphries being out

Green on switching to left tackle

Taylor on Kentucky matchup

Taylor on welcoming Kentucky to the swamp

Taylor on winning games

 

 

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Thursday Sports Update (9/11)

By on September 11th, 2014

Gator football loses another player for the year, NFL news, baseball and more in our Thursday Sports Update…

** The Gator football team has lost another player for the season after freshman cornerback J.C. Jackson suffers a shoulder injury that requires surgery.

** In college football tonight, BYU takes on Houston and former Gator assistant Dan McCarney has his North Texas team taking on Louisiana Tech.

** One NFL game tonight as the Baltimore Ravens, having to deal with the Ray Rice situation, face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

** The NFL has consistently said it did not have video of Ray Rice punching his then girlfriend but a law enforcement official quoted by the Associated Press says he sent the video to the NFL five months ago.  Some have called for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to be fired over the incident.

** Two area high school football games tonight as Eastside hosts Ocala Trinity Catholic and St. Francis hosts Florida Deaf.

** In baseball, Atlanta beats Washington 6-2 and now earn a day off.   Milwaukee stops Miami 4-1 and New York beats Tampa Bay 8-5.   The Rays and Marlins will complete their series with Milwaukee and New York tonight.

** The Kansas City Royals have reclaimed first place in the AL Central after beating Detroit 3-0.  Oakland and Detroit are the AL wild card leaders in a very tight race.  San Francisco and Pittsburgh are the wild card leaders in the NL.

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Gator Football Getting Ready For SEC Play

By on September 10th, 2014

(Courtesy of Gatorzone)

In their season opener against Eastern Michigan, the Gator football team scores 65 points, its highest output since November 22, 2008, when they beat FCS opponent The Citadel 70-19. UF racked up 655 total yards of offense, which is the ninth best mark in program history.

Now the Orange and Blue get their first taste of SEC play this weekend when they take on Kentucky. The Gators have beaten the Wildcats 27 straight times dating back to 1986 but that long win streak doesn’t mean much to Florida head coach Will Muschamp.

“It’s a 2014 Florida team versus a 2014 Kentucky team,” Muschamp said. “That’s all it is to me.”

Muschamp knows this year’s Kentucky Wildcats are much improved.

“Mark Stoops has done an outstanding job there. Much, much improved in all areas in his second year. Neal Brown is offensive coordinator, a guy that I’m very familiar with. They do a nice job in the run and pass game. They’re a tempo team. They’re going to be on the ball. They’re going to play as fast as anybody that we play this year.”

Kentucky is 2-0 heading in this match up after blowing out UT-Martin in its home opener, 59-14, and then winning by 17 last week over Ohio. In beating two FBS opponents, Kentucky has averaged 529 yards of total offense behind its 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback Patrick Towles, and allowed just 310.5 yards per game. The Cats like to run the ball as they’ve scored seven touchdowns already this season on the ground.

“They’re extremely talented at the running back position. Braylon Heard is a transfer from Nebraska, was hurt in the first game that he had two carries for two touchdowns and about 120 yards,” Muschamp added. “Jojo Kemp from DeLand is a dynamic guy in the open field. Stanley Williams is a freshman from Georgia that’s a good player. Mikel Horton is a kid from Cincinnati that’s a good player. He’s a true freshman as well.”

In order to stop the Cats rushing attack, Muschamp pointed out that the defense needs to do a better job of “perimeter run defense.”

“Defensively I thought that we tackled very well for a first game. We only had six missed tackles which is always a concern going into the first game. Defensively we played a little high at times. I thought our perimeter run defense was poor as far as how we leveraged the ball. We played some perimeter things and screens that we will certainly see this week. That’s something that we have to get cleaned up.”

On the offensive side of the ball for the Gators, they will look to senior Clay Burton to fill the void at tight end as a result of transfer Jake McGee being out for the season after breaking his tibia and fibula in the opening game. Burton had a career high seven catches against Eastern Michigan. Muschamp commented on Burton’s development on Monday.

“He’s changed his body a little bit. He’s slimmed down. He’s quicker than he’s been, he’s faster than he’s been. He worked extremely hard all summer. He hasn’t had many drops at all through fall game and working into game week. All those things. He’s a player who has done everything we’ve asked him to do to put himself in a position to be successful, and he certainly was Saturday.”

Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper thinks that the offense can play at a quicker pace, despite the fact that the Gators new offense ran 86 plays against Eastern Michigan.

“I think it gets down to our guys understanding giving the ball back to the official, getting lined up in a hurry. Too many times we left the ball on the ground, at the end of a play, where the official has to go get it to spot it. I think we can play faster just looking at those numbers, but again, it’s all about making plays.”

Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel will be one of the main players responsible for controlling the speed of Roper’s up tempo offense and he also knows the importance of starting out SEC play with a win.

“We’re really excited to get into the meat of our schedule. Obviously, Kentucky is in the [SEC] East and that’s a big game for us. We want to win every East game, just like every other game. It’s one we need in order to have a good year we’re going to have to win this game, so we’re going to do everything in our power to do so.”

Florida will get the chance to go for 28 consecutive wins against Kentucky on Saturday when they welcome the Wildcats to The Swamp.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30, but catch pre-game coverage on ESPN 850 WRUF beginning at 3:30.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Muschamp on how improved Kentucky is under head coach Mark Stoops

Muschamp on how talented Kentucky’s running backs are

Muschamp on defensive concerns

Muschamp on Clay Burton’s development

Roper on how offense can play at a faster tempo

Driskel on the importance of SEC play

 

 

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Wednesday Sports Update (9-10)

By on September 10th, 2014

More Ray Rice fall out, baseball results, and the rest of the world in sports in our Wednesday Sports Update…

** The Ray Rice situation continues to evolve in NFL circles.   The running back, indefinitely suspended from the NFL after a video was released showing him punching his now wife, got support from his wife on her Instagram account, telling fans and media that they are going through a private matter together.

** NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is also coming under fire in some circles as the NFL continues to say the first time it saw the new video of Rice was when TMZ Sports released it.   Some are questioning why the NFL could not have obtained the video as well.

** The Arizona Cardinals have signed former Gator Chris Rainey to their practice squad.   Rainey was released by Indianapolis during the preseason.

** The NBA is having issues too now with the Atlanta Hawks franchise.   The team’s owner Bruce Levinson self reported a letter he wrote two years ago to the NBA when he used insensitive racial comments and he will sell his part ownership of the team.   General Manager Danny Ferry will keep his job but be disciplined after it was learned he made comments about NBA player Luol Deng in a conference call in June that were inappropriate.

** The Gator volleyball team begins a west coast swing tomorrow when they play San Diego.   Florida will also face USC Friday.

** In high school football, Eastside will host Ocala Trinity Catholic on Thursday, trying to come back from a lopsided loss against Gainesville High last week.

** In baseball, Washington beats struggling Atlanta 6-4 while Miami beats slumping Milwaukee 6-3.   Tampa Bay edges the New York Yankees 4-3.   All those teams play again tonight.

** In the baseball wild card races, San Francisco and Pittsburgh are the leaders for the two spots; the Pirates lead Atlanta by a game and a half for the second wild card.   In the American League, Oakland and Kansas City have the wild card leads with Seattle right behind.

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Tuesday Sports Update (9-9)

By on September 9th, 2014

Gator football news, Monday Night Football, Ray Rice suspended,pennant race baseball and more in our Tuesday Sports Update…

** Florida’s football game next week at Alabama will be nationally broadcast by CBS and will start at 3:30pm.

** Because of the injury to starting left tackle D.J. Humphries, Gator coach Will Muschamp said while he is out that starting right tackle Chaz Green will move to the left side and that redshirt freshman Roderick Johnson will be the new starter at right tackle.  Muschamp added that true freshman DeAndre Goolsby may have to play now that Jake McGee has been lost for the year with an injury.

** SMU is looking for a new football coach today after coach June Jones suddenly resigned.

** The NCAA announces that Penn State has had the remaining two years of its football program probation lifted and that scholarship sanctions have been lifted for the 2015 year.

** The Pac 12 has fined USC athletic director Pat Haden $25,000 for confronting game officials on the field last week; his place on the College Football Playoff Committee remains despite the incident.

** In the NFL, running back Ray Rice has been let go by the Baltimore Ravens and he is suspended indefinitely from the NFL after a video surfaced showing him punching his then girlfriend in an elevator.

** In Monday Night Football, the Detroit Lions hammer the New York Giants 35-14 while Arizona rallies to beat San Diego 18-17.

** In baseball, Tampa Bay begins a series with the New York Yankees tonight.   Last night, Washington nips Atlanta 2-1 and Miami sinks slumping Milwaukee 6-4.

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Monday Sports Update (9/8)

By on September 8th, 2014

A former Gator golfer gets a PGA win, NFL results, baseball, and more in our Monday Sports Update…

** Former UF golfer Billy Horschel wins the PGA’s BMW Championship over the weekend in Colorado.   Horschel wins the tournament by two strokes.

** The three Florida NFL teams had mixed results Sunday.   Miami at home upsets New England 33-20 while Tampa Bay loses 20-14 at home to Carolina and Jacksonville gives up 34 straight points to fall at Philadelphia 34-17.

** In the Sunday night game, the Denver Broncos start fast but have to hold on for a 31-24 win over the Indianpolis Colts.   Tonight, two Monday Night Football games as Detroit faces the New York Giants and San Diego is at Arizona.

** Florida State is still number one in both the AP and Amway Top 25 Coaches Poll.   This week, Georgia faces South Carolina which looks to be the best game in the SEC.

** Serena Williams wins her third straight women’s singles title at the U.S. Open tennis championship in New York; she beats Carolina Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3.

** In baseball, Baltimore beats Tampa Bay 7-5 and Miami beat Atlanta 4-0.  The Rays are off today while Atlanta is at Washington and Miami is at slumping Milwaukee.

**

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Gator Volleyball Drops Match to Texas, 3-1

By on September 7th, 2014

Freshman Carli Snyder and junior Noami Santos-Lamb both posted career-best performances against the Texas volleyball squad, but the third ranked Longhorns edged the 11th ranked Florida Gators 3-1 (16-25, 28-26, 17-25, 16-25) Saturday night in front of a Stephen C. O’Connell Center crowd of 4,845 in the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. Florida will wrap up its regular-season slate November 29 in Austin with the second Gators/Longhorns tilt of the campaign.

Snyder registered a career-best 18 kills to lead Florida (3-2) and turned in a .324 hitting efficiency against Texas (4-0), while Santos-Lamb made it three consecutive matches with double-digit kills, including a career-best 14 Saturday. Another freshman in middle blocker in Rhamat Alhassan paced the Gators with a .417 clip (7-2-12) and had three roofs to lead UF for the fifth straight match in blocks. It was Texas’ 16 blocks as a team, compared to Florida’s five that had the Gators off balance.

In addition to Snyder (18.5) and Santos-Lamb (14), sophomore All-American right side Alex Holston (10.5) put up a double-digit point performance with nine kills, a service ace and a block assist.

Gator coach Mary Wise was quick to look at the loss as a strong learning experience for her squad.

“The takeaway from the match is to play against an elite blocking team and learn what a game-changer that is,” Wise said. “Great experiences for our young players and they rose to the challenge — Rhamat (Alhassan) and Carli (Snyder), especially. Our goal right now is just to narrow the gap that existed tonight when we play Texas again in November.”

The Orange and Blue now hit the road to the West Coast for a Thursday date with 15th ranked San Diego, followed by a meeting with number six Southern California in Trojan territory for the USC Classic.

The San Diego matchup is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday; while the USC matchup is slated for 10:30 p.m. Friday. You’ll be able to catch both matches on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For postgame comments from coach Wise, as well as Noami Santos-Lamb, click here:

Wise talks about Texas’ blocking

Wise discusses the performances of Alhassan and Snyder

Wise talks about new starters facing difficult competition

Santos-Lamb discusses facing tough competition early in the season

Santos-Lamb talks about coming back from injury last season

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