Gator News And World Report (11/27/2005)

The Gator News and World Report for Sunday, November 27, 2005. UF's season ends with promise; Gator Nation can feel good about program; Atkins humble after stellar night; UF capitalizes on block; Mistakes key factor in drubbing; Gator defense rights wrongs; No. 4 Gators get sweep, win tourney; Victory helps salvage Gators' season; Bowl happy for chance to get Gators; UF: What went right? FSU: What went wrong?; Gators CB Turned Up Intensity and more...

Florida Gator Football

UF's season ends with promise
Since that long afternoon in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on the first Saturday in October, the Florida Gators have seemingly been fighting against a strong and incessant undercurrent of negativity in Urban Meyer's first season.

Gator Nation can feel good about program
I know, I know.They didn't win the East. They didn't play well on the road. They beat a Tennessee team that turned out to be pretty lousy. They beat Georgia without its quarterback. They beat an FSU team that might have been the worst I've seen since Darrell Mudra was coaching the Seminoles.

Atkins humble after stellar night
Growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida freshman cornerback Avery Atkins played the Florida-Florida State rivalry many times in his mind.

UF capitalizes on block
The hop was true, and all junior Florida cornerback Reggie Lewis saw was green grass ahead of him. "Get it to the end zone," Lewis said, when asked what he thought during his 52-yard blocked field-goal return for a touchdown. "I didn't want to trip or anything but I wanted to run as fast as I could."

Mistakes key factor in drubbing
Bobby Bowden walked into Florida State's interview room Saturday night and seemed somewhat surprised at the pack of media awaiting his postgame news conference.

Gator defense rights wrongs
One way for a struggling defense to get better, to right some wrongs, is to play against a struggling offense.

Prep teammates have good night on both sides
Florida safety Jarvis Herring and Florida State safety Kyler Hall were captains for Saturday's game and each had meaningful performances in their final regular-season game.

STOMP AT SWAMP
Despite three losses and failing to reach the Southeastern Conference title game, Urban Meyer's first season at Florida can now be called successful.

Victory helps salvage Gators' season
Sometimes you don't realize that your situation isn't as terrible as it looks until you compare it to something else.

Bowl happy for chance to get Gators
The Gators are awaiting a bowl invitation that could possibly send them to Shreveport, La., for the Independence Bowl on Friday, Dec. 30.

Jackson on record pace
Florida coach Urban Meyer had a message for junior wide receiver Chad Jackson after a game in which Jackson came within striking distance of being the Gators' most productive wide receiver in one season.

Locals team up for 'play of day'
Consider it Florida's version of The Jacksonville Connection, with Reggie Lewis providing the spark and Marcus Thomas lending a rather big helping hand.

UF: What went right? FSU: What went wrong?
Good special-teams play: Marcus Thomas blocked Gary Cismesia's field-goal attempt, and Reggie Lewis returned it 52 yards for a TD.

FSU looks to ACC title game
Florida State has no choice but to turn its attention to Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference championship at Alltel Stadium. Clearly, it has become a priority, something FSU coach Bobby Bowden wouldn't dare admit prior to the Florida game.

Stats don't tell sad story for Seminoles
Drew Weatherford's shutout-spoiling, 5-yard touchdown pass to De'Cody Fagg with 6:35 to play merely eliminated another negative footnote from Florida State's complete, season-ending collapse.

Jaw-Dropping Rout
Go ahead, walk inside that swirl of celebration in the northeast corner of Florida Field and tell those two hugging behemoths they had nothing to play for Saturday.

Gators CB Turned Up Intensity
Dee Webb hadn't received the memo. He didn't hear the news that this year's Florida-Florida State rivalry didn't mean a thing.

Bowl Fate Still Up In The Air
Florida's 34-7 win Saturday against Florida State may have impressed the nation, but it may not be enough to keep the Gators from heading to Shreveport, La., for the Independence Bowl.

'School' Being Studied
University of Florida and Southeastern Conference officials investigated earlier this year a Miami correspondence school that sent one of its graduates to Florida to play football.

Gator fans celebrate win over Seminoles
If anyone thought this year's game against Florida State had lost some zip, the Gators cleared that right up Saturday. They booed the troops.

Despite records, most fans enjoy day
Fans traveling from Central Florida Saturday found the northbound route of the Florida Turnpike a bit slower than usual.

For 1 day for Meyer, all forgiven
You could almost see the amazing transformation. Urban Meyer began the game looking like Ron Zook.

Florida dominates on defense
First, a play. Maybe defensive end Jeremy Mincey pancaking Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford, or beleaguered cornerback Dee Webb knocking down a pass.

RECAP
Florida's defense dominated the day, forcing four turnovers and holding Florida State to 49 yards rushing as the Gators routed the Seminoles 34-7 at Florida Field. The margin was the most lopsided in the series since the 1997 Sugar Bowl national championship game, which UF won 52-20. Chris Leak was UF's offensive star, throwing for 211 yards and two touchdowns, one each to Chad Jackson and Dallas Baker. Florida State didn't score until 6:35 remained in the game.

Gators beat rival Seminoles at home
Florida finds satisfaction with victories against nemeses FSU, Georgia and Tennessee and now faces its postseason possibilities.

Noles in midst of a rapid decent
FSU lost its third straight game, but the Seminoles understand they still have an opportunity to win the ACC championship

Replicating what's missing
Injured senior cornerback Vernell Brown provided the Gators' secondary with some valuable advice.

Peach, Outback in play
The ease of Florida's romp over Florida State might have played the Gators into the Outback Bowl. It also might have played FSU out of the Peach Bowl.

A Florida first?
Although it might have happened at some point in Florida football history, the record books show that Marcus Thomas' blocked field-goal attempt and cornerback Reggie Lewis' subsequent run into the end zone was the first time in school history that a UF player returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown.

Washington back in action
Saturday's contest brought Leon Washington back into FSU's tailback rotation, though he couldn't do much to lift their continued rushing woes.

Rout to recovery
Out of the trenches and into the spotlight for the first time in four long seasons, Florida's Mike Degory knew his time had come.

Loss would have been sub-Urban
She is in full sprint now — fist-pumping, No. 1-waving, crowd-imploring sprint — toward the University of Florida band beyond the end zone.

Secondary's big night a tribute to injured Brown
The University of Florida's defensive backs had struggled as a group since the loss of cornerback Vernell Brown three weeks ago, surrendering 49 points to Vanderbilt and 30 to South Carolina.

SMACKDOWN!
his game wasn't about ratings or rankings. It wasn't about bowls or polls. It wasn't about the BCS or the SEC or the ACC.

Bumbling Seminoles Gave the Game Away
Trailing 17-0 in the latter stages of the third quarter, Florida State had one last realistic chance to get back into what would eventually become a 34-7 thrashing at the hands of rival Florida.

Once-Proud FSU Limps Into ACC Title Tilt
Any bitterness from the loss two weeks ago to Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, which ended their Sugar Bowl hopes, was gone on Saturday amid the jubilant fans in the Swamp. Their mood was lifted by a rollicking rout of rival Florida State.

Programs Differ in Direction
All week, everyone who had affiliations with either Florida or Florida State -- and that was more than half the state -- talked about how big Saturday's football game was.

Gators trip up sinking Seminoles
It's on to the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship game for Bobby Bowden and his Florida State squad.

SEC may need genius to figure out its bowl matrix
The Southeastern Conference bowl matrix is getting very interesting. There are not enough bowl eligible teams to go around, so the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., is not getting an SEC team this year. There may also not be enough good bowls for four SEC teams that finished with nine wins or better.

FSU's ground game stalled despite return of Washington
Leon Washington was back. But FSU's offense still struggled to put together an effective ground game against Florida.

Swamp romp
The Florida Gators spent a mild November afternoon Saturday whipping their archrival, bolstering their bowl posture and gaining some bragging rights to take on the recruiting trail in the offseason.

Gators punish Seminoles
Around 6 a.m. Saturday, Victoria Strong pulled on her running shoes and met her husband at the front door for a jog around the neighborhood.

Puzzle pieces starting to fit better for Meyer
There are more puzzle pieces scattered than there are put together. And like any good puzzle, so many pieces look like they'll never fit together.

Return of the swamp kings
After giving up 71 points in its past two games, the Florida defense had become the latest target of ridicule. The unit that early in the season was Florida's saving grace suddenly looked like its Achilles' heel.

Game likely to remain after Thanksgiving
Unless the season is extended, fans can expect the annual Florida-Florida State showdown to be on Thanksgiving weekend.

No titles, but plenty of pride
In days gone by, they were defined by what they had not done. In years ahead, they'll likely be recalled the same way.

Florida Gator Basketball

Santos back healthy, contributing
Everything was falling into place for Danielle Santos. Through the first month of last season Santos was scoring, playing defense and lighting up the 3-point line for the Gators. Santos was doing it all.

Florida Gator Volleyball

No. 4 Gators get sweep, win tourney
Sophomore middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth collected 15 kills and five blocks as No. 4 Florida captured the Wells Fargo Thanksgiving Classic title by sweeping Denver (30-23, 30-22, 30-21) Saturday evening at Hamilton Gymnasium.

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