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Monday Sports Update (10/13)

By on October 13th, 2014

A new number one in college football, NFL news, NASCAR, the baseball playoffs and more in our Monday Sports Update…

** There’s a new number one team in this week’s Top 25 polls and that is Mississippi State, vaulting now number two FSU.   Ole Miss, Baylor and Notre Dame round out the top five.

** All Florida teams lost in NFL action Sunday.   Jacksonville remains winless after a 16-14 loss at Tennessee; Tampa Bay was drilled 48-17 by Baltimore and Miami lost late at home to Green Bay 27-24.

** Monday Night Football tonight has San Francisco at St. Louis.

** In baseball’s NLCS, Kolten Wong hits a walk off homer to give the St. Louis Cardinals a 5-4 win over San Francisco to even that series at 1-1.  In the ALCS, Kansas City returns home with a 2-0 lead over Baltimore.

** Kevin Harvick wins the NASCAR race in North Carolina on Saturday and after the race, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski went at it with Kenseth mad that Keselowski hit his car on pit road after the checkered flag went out.

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Gator Volleyball Sweeps Texas A&M; Completes Sweep of SEC Weekend

By on October 13th, 2014

The ninth ranked Florida volleyball team got its third win over a top-25 opponent this season with a sweep against 19th ranked Texas A&M (25-12, 25-23, 25-17) to complete a weekend sweep at home in front of the Gator faithful in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Orange and Blue added a sixth win to their undefeated SEC slate, while improving to 12-3 overall on the season.

Florida relied on its veteran defense in the back row and posted 10 blocks on the afternoon as UF limited the Aggies (11-5, 3-2 SEC) to just a .119 hitting efficiency in the three-set victory. The Gators rode the arms of sophomore right side Alex Holston and freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan, as the duo combined for 23 kills and nine blocks. Holston hit a season-best .545 on the afternoon, while Alhassan turned in a .368 clip.

Senior Taylor Unroe paced the Gators with 10 digs, while fellow senior libero Holly Pole scooped up nine. Holston rallied for a season-tying seven digs and UF had zero reception errors for the fourth time this season.

The Gators are undefeated all-time against Texas A&M, including a perfect 5-0 at home in the O’Dome now.

UF slammed down 43 kills, compared to Texas A&M’s 29, and the Orange and Blue limited the league’s top hitting team to a .119 hitting efficiency while turning in its second-best offensive efficiency in SEC play with a .395 hitting percentage.

Gator head coach Mary Wise pointed out postgame that despite the strong offensive numbers in the box score, the defense was the biggest factor in this match.

“As good as the offensive numbers were in this match,” Wise said. “The true story has to be our defense. From the serve, the block, the back row play — it was as good a defensive performance as we’ve had all year.”

The Gators will now have a quick turnaround as the Gators head to Columbia, South Carolina for a mid-week tilt against the Gamecocks. First serve between the Gamecocks and Gators is slated for 6 p.m. at the Carolina Volleyball Center. After the Wednesday match, the Gators will next play Sunday at home against Arkansas. You can catch both matches on ESPN 850 WRUF.

To hear postgame comments from coach Wise, Taylor Unroe, and Alex Holston, click below:

Wise recaps the Texas A&M match

Wise discusses the play of Taylor Unroe

Unroe talks about the preparation coming into the match

Unroe on building her dig game

Holston recaps the Texas A&M match

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LSU Hits Game-Winning Field Goal To Hand Florida A Crushing Defeat

By on October 12th, 2014

LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye hit a 50-yard field goal with three seconds left to hand Florida football a heart-breaking 30-27 defeat at home in The Swamp on Saturday night.

The game-winning field goal was made possible after LSU safety Rickey Jefferson hauled in a tipped interception throw from Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel, who tried to force a slant pass into slot receiver Latroy Pittman. Jefferson returned it to the UF 36-yard line to set up the game-winner that perhaps never should have happened.

Why you ask?

LSU had no timeouts, but decided to run it on first down with 24 seconds remaining and it appeared as though the clock was going to run out and the game was headed for overtime. However, in bizarre fashion, the officials stopped play for some unexplained reason and re-set the game clock to eight seconds. That gave LSU a chance at a game-winner and they made it count. The victory gave LSU head coach Les Miles his 100th win.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp was just as perplexed as everyone else as to why the referees put more time on the clock at the end.

“Down there at the end, I’m not real sure exactly what happened with the clock. I’ve never been in a situation where they put seven seconds back on the clock. I’ll call Steve Shaw [SEC coordinator of officials] for an explanation, I don’t know if I’ll ever get any, but certainly will call to try and find out. I never got an explanation on the sideline.”

Driskel said it was a crushing way to lose.

“It’s a really tough loss. We would’ve liked to pull it out, but all our goals are in front of us. Hats off to LSU, they played a great game. We did a lot of nice things and a lot of things that obviously we need to get corrected. We’re gonna be down for today, watch the film and move forward and focus on Missouri and not look back.”

Florida wide-receiver/returner Andre Debose got the scoring started in the first quarter after he took a 62-yard punt return to the house. It was his first career punt return for a touchdown. On the second drive of the game for the Gator offense, quarterback Jeff Driskel fumbled deep in Florida territory and LSU recovered.  LSU promptly ran two running plays for running back Leonard Fournette who bulldozed his way into the end zone to tie the game at 7-7 with just over six minutes to go in the first quarter.

Florida’s offense would respond on its very next drive, putting together a nice eight play 75-yard drive that ended with a nine yard TD run by Driskel. A key play that kept the drive alive came when Driskel kept it on fourth-and-one to pick up the first down at the LSU 24-yard line. Florida led 14-7 after a quarter.

The Gators would tack on three more at the start of the second quarter to make it 17-7, after kicker Frankie Velez knocked in a 34-yard field goal.

LSU would cut it to 17-14 on a 12 play 75-yard drive punctuated by a one yard TD run on fourth down by Kenny Hilliard. The Tigers only threw one pass on the drive. Instead, they gave it to their assortment of running backs who combined to rush for 70 yards on the scoring march.

Driskel threw his first interception of the game right before the half, but the Gators took their 17-14 lead into halftime. On the night, Driskel finished 14 of 25 for 183 yards yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He also had 71 yards on the ground and a score. LSU scored 10 points on all three of Driskel’s turnovers.

On LSU’s second possession of the second half, they had an eight minute 65-yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run from Leonard Fournette, who finished with 27 carries for 140 yards and two TD’s. The Gators had two costly defensive penalties called on them on two crucial third downs, giving the Tigers extra chances to take the lead. However, LSU missed the extra point to give them a 20-17 advantage which they would take into the fourth quarter.

Debose came up big for the Gators again late in the fourth when he returned a punt 53 yards to set the offense up for a go-ahead score at the LSU nine yard line. Two plays later, Driskel connected on an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide-receiver Demarcus Robinson. That gave the Gators a 24-20 lead with six minutes to go in the game.

It looked like the Gators were going to get the stop they needed after LSU had a third-and-25, but Jennings found a wide-open Travin Dural for a 41 yard completion. He hooked up with Dural again two plays later for an 11-yard touchdown to put the Tigers out in front 27-24.

“Had our opportunities, countless,” Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. “Third-and-25 and we had a miscommunication on an empty-check. You cut a guy loose in that situation you don’t deserve to win.”

Then Florida answered right back when Jeff Driskel hit Demarcus Robinson on a 73-yard pass that put the Gators at the LSU two yard line. The Orange and Blue had three chances to punch it in but couldn’t get it done. Florida tight end Tevin Westbrook dropped a sure catch in the end zone that might have been the game winning touchdown.  Instead, the Gators had to settle for a game-tying field goal to make it 27 all with 1:49 left in the game.

After stopping LSU, the Gators got the ball back and drove to the LSU 45 before the big interception that gave the Tigers their first SEC victory of the season.

Despite the brutal loss, Debose says the team won’t let it keep them down.

“This team is a well-knit team, we’re as close as they come. This won’t bother us much. We’re anxious to get back to work Monday or Tuesday. We’re just going to look forward, we can’t dawn on the past. We fought our hearts out, we left it all the line, so that’s we can ask for.”

Florida defensive lineman Alex McCalister still thinks the team can make it to Atlanta for the SEC championship game.

“We still control our own destiny. We lost to a team in the [SEC] West. We got four more games in the East. So it’s still on the table, being in the SEC championship at the end.”

Next up, Florida plays Missouri in Gainesville for its Homecoming game Saturday at 7.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Muschamp said he didn’t get an explanation why the refs put more time on the clock at the end of the game

Driskel on the tough loss

Muschamp on the 3rd & 25 play

Debose says they will rebound after a tough loss

McCalister on the team still controlling their own destiny

 

 

 

 

 

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Gators/LSU: Photo Gallery

By on October 12th, 2014

Some photographs from the Gators 30-27 loss to the LSU Tigers.

 

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Gator Football Drops Heartbreaker To LSU

By on October 11th, 2014

The LSU Tigers win their first SEC game of the season Saturday night in The Swamp in Gainesville be defeating the Florida Gators 30-27 on a 50 yard field goal with just three seconds to go in the game. The Tigers (5-2, 1-2 SEC) beat Florida (3-2, 2-2 SEC) despite only throwing for 110 yards in the game but they did run the ball well, led by freshman running back Leonard Fournette’s 140 yards rushing on 27 carries. Trailing 27-24, Florida got a long completion from quarterback Jeff Driskel to receiver Demarcus Robinson that set the Gators up with a first and goal from the

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LSU 2; however, Florida had to settle for a game tying field goal after a sure touchdown catch was dropped by Florida tight end Tevin Westbrook. After holding LSU, the Gators got the ball back and drove to the LSU 45 before the Tigers got an interception off a ball that deflected off receiver LaTroy Pittman. When the Tigers took over at the UF 36, then ran for three yards and then got the game winning kick. Next up, Florida plays Missouri in Gainesville for its Homecoming game.

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Florida Football Hosts LSU In SEC Showdown

By on October 11th, 2014

Courtesy deathvalleyvoice.com

The last time the Florida Gator football team and LSU Tigers were both unranked when they played each other was 1989.

Fast forward to 2014 and both teams find themselves unranked heading into this match up for the first time in 25 years.

The Gators and Tigers are meeting for the 61st time and tonight marks their 30th meeting at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The last time UF and LSU met in The Swamp was in 2012 where the Orange and Blue came out on top 14-6. Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel was the starting quarterback for that game, and he will be for this one as well. Throughout the week Florida head coach Will Muschamp has tried to boost Driskel’s confidence by reminding him of his success.

“I think we’ve taken a lot of the positive things we’ve done within his career here at the University of Florida, which there’s been a lot,” Muschamp said. “He’s played in some big games. Played in a big game against LSU here two years ago and won and made some plays in that game that helped us. Those are all things that we’ve tried to accentuate at this time, and that’s what we’re doing.”

The Gator offense couldn’t produce any points with Driskel in the game against Tennessee. That prompted Muschanp to bench the red shirt junior in favor of true freshman Treon Harris. The youngster from Booker T. Washington High School helped the Gators score 10 unanswered points to come back and beat the Vols 10-9.

Harris was suspended earlier in the week after being accused of sexual assault, but on Friday, he was reinstated to school after his accuser withdrew her complaint.  Despite  being reinstated to the team, Harris will not play tonight against the Tigers.

Speaking of the Tigers, they still haven’t decided whether sophomore Anthony Jennings or true freshman Brandon Harris will get the start at quarterback. It doesn’t matter to Gator defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin who plays because he says his team will be prepared for both of them.

“Both guys can scramble really well. Both guys have very strong arms, they’ve made a lot of big plays down the field. Those are things we have to be cognizant of and aware of. I think they’re probably making their determination on who they feel can run their offense the best. I don’t where all those decisions are, but both those guys are very dangerous and we have to be prepared for both.”

LSU ranks fifth in the SEC in rushing with 1269 yards. 364 of those yards come from running back Leonard Fournette. The passing attack for the Tigers is good for seventh in the SEC, thanks in large part to wide receivers Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre. Dural has close to 600 yards receiving on the year while Dupre has 249 yards through the air.

“Those guys are big and athletic, they’re very talented players,” Durkin added. “They’ve turned a couple curl routes into big gains and also down the field. They’re going to take some shots down the field, play-action pass and hit it up top.”

However, on defense LSU isn’t as dominant as they have been in years past. The Tigers are dead last in the SEC in run defense, which should work in Florida’s favor according to offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.

“Right now, what we do well is run the ball pretty well,” Roper added. “We’re a pretty physical football team. Those guys up front are playing good football. I think that’s really our identity right now.”

As far as injuries go, Florida running back Brandon Powell and wide out C.J. Worton will return to the playing field tonight. Senior linebacker Michael Taylor will also be back in action. Defensive tackle Leon Orr is a game time decision, but slot receiver Valdez Showers will miss this weekend’s game due to a high ankle sprain.

If there’s one thing LSU head Les Miles knows it’s that the 90,000 fans inside The Swamp will be rocking tonight. However, he thinks his team will be up for the challenge.

“I think this football team is going to play hard. We’re looking forward to playing in another SEC venue that’s going to be exciting and be the kind of place that we all play in in this league. We’d like to get on board with an SEC victory.”

It’s been four years since LSU last beat Florida in Gainesville.

And the Gators will look to keep it that way.

Kickoff is set for 7:30, but you can catch live coverage starting with the pregame festivities at 3:00 on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Muschamp on Driskel

Durkin on LSU’s QB’s

Durkin on LSU’s receivers

Roper on the run game being their identity

Miles on the crowd at The Swamp

 

 

 

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VIDEO: Florida Gators Look To Upset LSU Tonight

By on October 11th, 2014

WRUF/WUFT’s Bonnie Mott previews tonight’s SEC matchup vs the LSU Tigers. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 PM from the swamp and you can catch all the pregame action on ESPN 850 WRUF beginning at 3.

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Loreal Curtis, An Orange and Blue Heart

By on October 11th, 2014

University of Florida’s 4×400 meter track runner Loreal Curtis wasn’t always in blue and orange, but her heart was. Curtis was born and raised in Houston, Texas where she attended Lutheran South Academy. During her senior year she signed a full scholarship to DePaul University in Chicago.

“I signed to DePaul because I wanted to get away from Texas and out of state” said Curtis. “I had a pretty big scholarship there and my parents wouldn’t have to pay like they have done my entire life when I attended private school.”

At DePaul Curtis was off to a pretty successful start with her biggest success coming when she ran on the 4×100 meter relay team that broke the DePaul record at the FSU Relays by running the race in 47.03. But despite her accomplishments, she’s always had a passion to run for her dream team, the Florida Gators.

“Florida’s always been my dream school,” she said. “After my sophomore year I realized that DePaul wasn’t for me so I stayed consistent with emailing Florida and one day they finally responded and I transferred.”

Upon her arrival in Gainesville, she faced some academic issues.“At DePaul I was ahead, I could graduate early because I was so far ahead.”

But Curtis wanted to have her four years of eligibility. With her transferring to Florida, only 60 of the 120 credits that she already had were accepted by the university. While at DePaul, her expected graduation date was spring 2014, that date has changed to summer 2015.

On the track, she also faced a lot of differences, saying “both teams are really different.”

DePaul was smaller with many athletes from the area; Florida has more diversity and she enjoys having teammates from all around the country and she also enjoys having a bigger team in general. Curtis also mentions that the weather in Gainesville compared to Chicago are “polar opposites” and she sometimes misses having all four seasons in Chicago.

With Curtis graduating next summer, her dream is to win a championship with her team. In her first season in a Gator uniform her 4×400 meter relay team finished fourth at outdoor nationals and third at indoor nationals.

But even if she doesn’t, she says that she’ll still be satisfied that she was given the opportunity to attend the University of Florida and run for her favorite team.

“I’m living the dream.”

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Florida Soccer Uses Big Second-Half To Beat Mississppi State

By on October 11th, 2014

The fifth ranked Florida soccer team opened the floodgates with four goals in the second half to beat the Mississippi Bulldogs 5-1 at James Pressley Stadium Friday night.

The Gators remain unbeaten in the SEC with a 6-0 record. They improve to 11-2 overall. The Bulldogs fall to 3-10 and remain winless in conference play.

Mississippi State its presence known at the start of the game. The Bulldogs took the lead in just the second minute of the game with a score from their first corner kick. The Gators would tie the game just eight minutes later courtesy of Florida forward Savannah Jordan.

“You know (it) certainly wasn’t the way we wanted to start the game but I thought it was really a good response by our team to come back and get that goal to equalize,” said UF soccer head coach Becky Burleigh. “Still took us a little longer than we would’ve liked to get ahead but I thought that second goal was a tough, physical goal by Savannah.”

While the game was at a stalemate for the first 60 minutes, the Gators unleashed a fury of shots to run up the scoreboard.

Jordan scored her second goal of the night (11th of the season) to start the second half stomping to take the 2-1 lead. Tessa Andujar, Brooke Sharp, and Betsy Middleton each followed her up with goals.

“I think our team is pretty confident no matter what,” Burleigh added. “But to face that adversity early just gave us a good chance to show our resilience and kind of bounce back.”

Senior forward Tessa Andujar was a bright spot for the Gators along with Jordan. In addition to Andujar’s second half goal where she chipped Mississippi State keeper Rhylee Decrane, Andujar had two assists.

“She’s an offensive threat,” Burleigh said of Andujar. “I thought they tried to match up with her pretty much the whole game and she still managed to break them down so once again – another great performance.”

Next up, the Gators will travel to Columbia to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks next Thursday (October 16).

For audio from the above quotes, click below:

Burleigh is proud of the way her team stayed the course after conceding a goal in the second minute of the game

Burleigh says her team responded with action after MSU drew first blood

Becky praises the performance of Tessa Andujar

 

 

 

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Gator Volleyball Sweeps Georgia; Continue Hot SEC Start

By on October 11th, 2014

Junior outside hitter Gabby Mallette led the UF offense with 10 kills and freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan posted a .636 hitting efficiency and four blocks as the ninth ranked Florida volleyball squad downed a scrappy Georgia team 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-16) Friday in front of the Orange and Blue faithful for its fourth sweep in conference play. The Gators (11-3, 5-0 SEC) remain one of two teams undefeated in SEC play so far this season.

Playing just their second SEC match in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in the first contest of a weekend home stand, the Gators held the Bulldogs (9-7, 1-3 SEC) to an .022 hitting efficiency as a team, second lowest for UF opponent this season. Florida rattled off 10 straight points, including the last nine under senior libero Holly Pole’s serve to end the first set, with a Pole service ace for set point as the exclamation mark.

Likewise in set two, junior outside hitter Živa Recek served up an ace for set point to give the Gators momentum and a 2-0 lead heading into the break.

Florida’s defense shined in Friday’s sweep, as Pole scooped up 14 digs, while junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino had her second double-digit dig performance of the season, with 10. Senior Maddy Monserez was additionally a staple in the back row with eight digs. The Bulldogs became the ninth opponent this season the Gators have forced to operate below a .200 hitting efficiency, including all five SEC opponents so far.

Gator head coach Mary Wise credited Monserez strong play as one of the keys for success.

“As good as the offensive numbers were tonight, the story of the match was the plays we made in the back row, especially the effort and plays made by Maddy Monserez,” Wise said.

The Orange and Blue now turn their attention to the 19th ranked Texas A&M Aggies (11-4, 3-1 SEC) for a Sunday afternoon match.  Florida leads the all-time series, 9-0, and are 7-0 under Mary Wise.

You can catch Sunday’s matinee on ESPN 850 WRUF, with coverage starting at 1:50 p.m.

For postgame comments from Coach Wise, Mackenzie Dagostino, and Gabby Mallette, click below:

Wise on the offensive play and Monserez strong performance

Wise talks about preparing for Texas A&M

Dagostino recaps the match

Dagostino talks about preparing for Texas A&M

Mallette talks about her peformance

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