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Tuesday Sports Update (9/2)

By on September 2nd, 2014

College football, NFL, U.S. Open tennis and a no-hitter in baseball; that and more today in our Tuesday Sports Update…

** The first week of the college football season officially ends Monday night after Louisville handles Miami 31-13 in an ACC match up.

** The Gator football team prepares for its opener against Eastern Michigan Saturday after the Idaho game was suspended.   No word yet if the game will be made up.  Gator coach Will Muschamp said Monday that Kyle Christy has won the punting job and that the three suspended players from last week will play this week for Florida.

** In NFL news, rookie Derek Carr will be the starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders when they open the season on Sunday.

** At the U.S. Open tennis championships, men’s top seed Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were among the winners yesterday.   Only two of the women’s top ten seeds are left in the tournament in top seed Serena Williams and 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki.

** In baseball, Cole Hamels and three Philadelphia Phillies relievers combine to throw a no-hiiter in a 7-0 win over Atlanta.   Miami downs the New York Mets 9-6 and Tampa Bay beats Boston 4-3.

** The Houston Astros have fired manager Bo Porter, naming former big leaguer Tom Lawless interim skipper.

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Monday Sports Update (9/1)

By on September 1st, 2014

Our Labor Day Sports Update features Gator football, NFL news, college football, racing, baseball and a whole lot more…

** No decision has been made yet as to whether or not the Florida football opener with Idaho will be made up after bad weather and field conditions suspended the game on Saturday.   Discussions are ongoing as the Gators get set for Eastern Michigan Saturday.

** In college football yesterday, Tennessee hammers Utah State 38-7 and Baylor crushes SMU 45-0.  Tonight, Louisville plays Miami in the debut of Bobby Petrino (for the second time) as coach of the Cardinals.

** In the NFL, several Gator players cut by their teams are now on practice squads including running back Jeff Demps and wide receiver Solomon Patton for Tampa Bay and defensive lineman Justin Trattou in Minnesota.   Quarterback Rex Grossman had his contract terminated by Cleveland.

** Not good news for former Gator and current San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who was arrested on domestic violence charges.   The NFL just toughened its penalties for players in this area and McDonald could be suspended for six games on a first offense.

** On a better note, tight end Harold “Gator” Hoskins, who played at Marshall and graduated from Eastside High School in Gainesville, has made the Miami Dolphins roster.

** Kasey Kahne gets his first NASCAR win of the year in Atlanta yesterday, qualifying him for the Chase For The Cup at the end of the season.   He beat Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin.

** In baseball, Boston blanks Tampa Bay 3-0 and those teams will conclude a series today.   Atlanta beat Miami 1-0 behind the dominant pitching of Alex Wood.   The Braves begin a series with Philadelphia tonight while Miami takes on the New York Mets.

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Gators Rain-Out Wrap Up

By on August 31st, 2014

After multiple weather delays over the course of just under four hours, fans went home from the Swamp, but not before having some fun!

Gators Opener Package

 

 

 

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Several Gators, Big Names, Among NFL Roster Cuts

By on August 31st, 2014

With the NFL regular season starting this week, teams had to get down to 53 man rosters and many big names and former Gator players were among those cut over the weekend.

Former Gator Jon Halapio was cut by New England while Tampa Bay released three Gators in running back Jeff Demps, defensive back Major Wright and wide receiver Solomon Patton.   Defensive lineman Justin Trattou was let go by Minnesota and offensive lineman Maurice Hurt was cut by Washington.  There is a chance some of these players could either be re-signed or signed by another team.

Among the big names let go were defensive back Champ Bailey, wide receiver Robert Meachem and kicker Shayne Graham by New Orleans, wide receiver Nate Burleson by Cleveland and kicker Ryan Succop by Kansas City.

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Gators’ Season Opener “Suspended” After One Play

By on August 31st, 2014

“The Swamp” lived up to its name tonight. Florida and Idaho were delayed by rain and lightning for two hours and 48 minutes before the opening kickoff.

By the time Idaho kicker Austin Rehkow booted the ball it was 9:50 p.m. For the soaked students and fans that did stay, they were treated to an exciting opening play. Junior Valdez Showers fielded a short kickoff on the left side of the field, then cut back to his right with nothing but wet grass in front of him. Showers returned it 64 yards to the Vandals’ 14-yard line, before being ‘showered’ by a huge puddle on the sidelines.

The Gators new high speed up-tempo offense was set to go to work. That’s when the officials announced that lightning had struck in the eight mile radius, resulting in a 30 minute delay at minimum. At approximately 10:40pm, the game was officially “suspended due to weather and unsafe and unplayable field conditions” after the athletic directors, officials and the SEC met concerning the subject.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp released a statement following the game.

“We appreciate the fans coming out and supporting us and sitting through several weather delays,” Muschamp said. “It was amazing the energy and passion shown in the stands all night. The Gator Nation showed why they’re the best fans in the country, starting with one of the most enthusiastic Gator Walks that we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

According to the NCAA rule book, when a game is suspended, there are four possible options.   Resume the game at a later date, terminate the game with a determined final score, forfeit the game or declare a no contest.   The athletic directors from both schools, in consultation with the coaches, must agree on one of the above options.

If the game is resumed, it will be resumed with the same time remaining and under identical conditions of down, distance, player eligibility and field position.

Three Gator players were suspended for the opener; wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and defensive tackles Jay-nard Bostwick and Darius Cummings.

There has been no word on whether the game will be rescheduled. Stay tuned to ESPN850 WRUF for more updates.

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Gator Volleyball Pushed to the Brink By Sooners; Sweep Active Ankle Challenge

By on August 31st, 2014

Gator coach Mary Wise made it clear on Friday night that despite the team’s strong performance in their first two games, there would be no slacking off against the Oklahoma Sooners.

“The challenge tomorrow [Saturday] will be against the very big, physical Oklahoma team,” Wise said. “They play in a big conference; they’re used to big crowds, big venues and they’re very well coached. And they will be quite a different team. They’re a terrific serving team and a great blocking team, and they can score a lot of points with both of those skills.”

There was no shortage of that Saturday afternoon as the 10th ranked Gators (3-0) were pushed to five sets by the Sooners (2-1).

While the Gators were ultimately victorious (22-25, 28-26, 25-12, 22-25, 15-8), the team would sputter out of the gate, nearly falling to a 2-0 deficit. Able to right the ship after the second set, the Gators outplayed the Sooners in the third set, before falling again in the fourth set.

The Gators were led by the performance of sophomore Alex Holston, who had 19 kills while posting a .436 attack clip; her day included five kills in the second set, six kills in the fourth set, and four in the final set. Along with Holston freshman Carli Snyder was impressive for the Gators, posting 11 kills and three solo blocks. Junior Mackenzie Dagostino provided 51 assists for the Gators, 16 of them coming in the second set.

Wise talked about the performance of Holston, who bounced back from rough performances in the team’s first two games.

“Well, we knew we were going to have to ride her arm, and it didn’t matter what her numbers were last night. In basketball, you’re going to have an off-shooting night, you just have to come back and keep shooting. And Alex has developed that shooter’s mentality. I don’t think anyone in the arena doubted that the ball was coming to her, and she still delivered.”

Wise says that the team must respond quickly, as there is not much of a turnaround before the team travels to Tallahassee to take on 13th ranked Florida State.

That match is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. You can catch that game on ESPN 850 WRUF.

To hear coach Wise’s comments, as well as some players, click below:

Wise talks about Holston’s performance

Wise talks about the Gators being a ‘work in progress’

Snyder talks about the excitement of the game

Holston talks about the 3-game weekend

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VIDEO: Florida Gators vs Idaho Vandals Preview

By on August 30th, 2014

WRUF/WUFT’s Bonnie Mott previews the Gators season opener against Idaho. Kickoff is set for 7 PM from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

 

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Gator Football Hosts Idaho In Season Opener

By on August 30th, 2014

The Florida football team opens its 2014 season this Saturday night, as they welcome Idaho to the Swamp. This is the first-ever meeting between the Gators and the Vandals. UF holds a 9-1 record all-time against current Sun Belt Conference members with the one loss coming against Georgia Southern a year ago.

The Gators posted a 4-8 record a year ago, which was Florida’s worst record (and first losing season) since the 1979 team went 0-10-1. They were also plagued with close to a dozen season ending injuries, including starting quarterback Jeff Driskel. Fast forward a year later and the Gators are MUCH healthier. Not to mention, they added a new offensive coordinator in Kurt Roper. Quarterback Jeff Driskel will have the task of putting the high speed up-tempo offense on display this Saturday against Idaho.

“I think we have the players to really flourish in the system that we’re running. We have a lot of players that can make plays in space,” Driskel said. “Coach Roper is always up tempo, he’s always a positive guy and we needed that around here. He’s not going to be one to have an off day on the field. He’s always going to be bringing the energy and that’s what we need in a coach.”

The Gators have eight returning starters on defense including linebacker Michael Taylor. Last year, the third down defense ranked third nationally, holding opponents to a .306 conversion rate. They also held eight of their 12 opponents to 165 passing yards or less in 2013, including zero yards against Georgia Southern. Taylor wants nothing more on Saturday than to get a victory.

“Definitely excited to get a victory because we haven’t had a victory in a while on the road or here,” Taylor added. “So we’re definitely excited to get this thing started. I know the whole campus is excited, coaches are excited, and the players are definitely excited. So we’re ready to just go out and showcase our talents and abilities.”

On the other hand, Idaho comes into Gainesville looking to avenge their 1-11 season a year ago. The Vandals were ranked 115th in the country in scoring offense (18.2) compared to Florida being tied for 112th in the country in scoring offense(18.8). The biggest disparity between these two teams in terms of rankings comes from pass defense. The Gators were ranked 7th in pass defense(172 yards) as opposed to the Vandals being ranked 122nd in pass defense (316 yards).

Paul Petrino is in his second season as the head coach of Idaho. Despite the Vandals having won only four games total in the last three years, Tom Morris, who is the radio play by play voice for the Vandals, thinks the team is going to improve.

“We are seeing a marked improvement in execution. A little more speed. A little more depth. There is no where to go, but up,” Morris said. “Last year being independent we played seven of 12 teams that went to bowls. It’s a much more optimistic picture this year.”

Morris believes the improvement will translate to the defensive side of the ball as well.

“We have a new junior college safety. We’re pretty deep at corner now. There is more depth which allows Idaho’s defense to play more nickel defense than dime against what we’re going to see in the Sun Belt, which is a lot of spread offenses.”

Morris also revealed that the Vandals will use two quarterbacks on Saturday. The quarterback duties will be shared between red shirt freshman, Matt Linehan, and sophomore Chad Chalich.

Florida holds a 80-27 all-time record in season openers, including 50-4 in The Swamp.

The Gators will look to extend their SEC best opening day winning streak of 24 games when they take on the Vandals this weekend.

Kickoff is at 7 pm but ESPN 850 WRUF’s pregame coverage of the Gators and the Vandals starts at 3 pm.

For audio of the above quotes, click below.

Driskel on new offense

Taylor on excitement heading into the game

Morris on Idaho improving

Morris on defensive improvement

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Gator Volleyball Sweeps First Day of Active Ankle Challenge

By on August 30th, 2014

The 10th ranked Florida Gator volleyball team made quick work of both their opponents on the first day of the Active Ankle Challenge. Slated early against the Georgia Southern Eagles, the Gators struggled a bit early, but quickly righted the ship for a three-set victory (25-19, 25-11, 25-15). Their later matchup against the Idaho Vandals was also a three-set victory (26-24, 25-17, 25-13); with the first set going to 26-points for the Gators before the team gassed the pedal.

Freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan made her Gator debut in dominating fashion, turning in a .750 hitting clip and four blocks as the Gators swept Georgia Southern to open the 2014 campaign at home in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Alhassan, had a team-best 8.5 points against the Eagles, was error-free and slammed down six kills on eight attacks. Fourteen Gators saw action in Florida’s season and home opener, including three freshmen. Junior outside hitter Noami Santos-Lamb chipped in seven kills and a .545 hitting efficiency with 7.5 points, while freshman Carli Snyder registered a .333 clip in two sets of play.

But Alhassan’s day was far from over. The freshman continued her strong play with a 13 kill performance against Idaho, to the tune of an .812 clip and an error-free night. Junior Simone Antwi also had a big night, adding 13 kills of her own and a .476 efficiency. And Junior Mackenzie Dagostino also had a big night, with 38 assists and nine digs.

Alhassan’s impressive play might have surprised those in attendance, but it came as no surprise to her teammates.

“It’s so exciting because Rhamat we see in the gym all the time,” Antwi said. “And it’s so cool that everyone else gets to see her; we all kind of lose our minds. I’m so excited for the rest of her career and this season.”

But the attention quickly turns to the Oklahoma Sooners, a team the Gators will face Saturday afternoon. Gator coach Mary Wise, although happy with the team’s performance in the two match ups, is focused on turning the team’s attention to their upcoming Oklahoma tilt.

“We got a lot of work left to do offensively,” Wise said. “And the challenge tomorrow [Saturday] will be against the very big, physical Oklahoma team that plays in a big conference; they’re used to big crowds, big venues and they’re very well coached. And they will be quite a different team. They’re a terrific serving team and a great blocking team, and they can score a lot of points with both of those skills.”

The Gators match against Oklahoma is scheduled to begin at 4 pm.

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For audio on the quotes above, and some more player comments, click here:

Wise talks about facing Oklahoma

Antwi talks about Rhamat Alhassan

Dagostino talks about the excitement of a new season

Alhassan talks about the influence Simone Antwi has had on her

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Florida Cross Country Opens Season; Gator Soccer Hits the Road

By on August 30th, 2014

The Florida cross country teams begin their 2014-15 season when they compete in the Western Carolina Invitational in Cullowhee, North Carolina at 6:30pm. The women will compete in a two-mile race and the men will run a 5K.

In the preseason SEC Coaches Poll, the men are predicted to finish second in the conference and the women were picked to finish fourth in the SEC. Florida assistant track and cross country coach Paul Spangler sees a lot of potential on the women’s side. Spangler also believes the men’s group has a chance to be something special this season.

The Gators will have opened their season at the Western Carolina Invite for the fourth-straight season. Every year, the Gators have competed in the invitational, both the men and women brought home the the title.

Meanwhile, the Florida soccer team hits the road this weekend for the start of a six-match road trip. Florida head coach Becky Burleigh says playing away will be a great experience for her team to get comfortable playing outside of their comfort zone.

The Gators (2-0, 0-0 SEC) open things up this weekend against Oklahoma (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) on Friday and stay in the Sooner State to take on Oklahoma State (0-2, 0-1 Big 12) on Sunday. Coach Burleigh says playing the Sooners and Cowboys will be a new experience for her squad because they have never made the trip to Oklahoma before.

Last season when the Gators and Sooners met in Gainesville, the match was delayed due to inclement weather. However, after the weather delay the Gators brought home the 3-0 win in the first ever meeting between Florida and Oklahoma.

Florida takes on Oklahoma Friday at 8pm and then takes on Oklahoma State Sunday at 2pm.

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