Gator News and World Report (9/18/2006)

The Gator News and World Report for Monday, September 18, 2006. Harvin, Wilson nursing injuries; Meyer:'We found a tailback' in Wynn; Grossman shines in win over Lions; Defense makes plays in crucial situations; Meyer erases questions; Nelson leads Gators' defense and more...

Florida Gator Football

Harvin, Wilson nursing injuries
Wide receiver Percy Harvin, who suffered a high ankle sprain on the first play of the second quarter is "officially questionable" for Saturday's game against Kentucky, coach Urban Meyer told the Sun on Sunday.

Meyer: 'We found a tailback' in Wynn
When Errict Rhett spoke to the Gators this offseason, the former Gators running back left an impression on one of Florida's current tailbacks.

Gators stay strong through deficit
Are they tough enough? Apparently so. Facing a 17-7 second-half deficit and one of the toughest environments in all of college football Saturday night in Neyland Stadium, the Florida Gators looked like they were headed for more heartache on the road in the SEC. And more questions about their mental and physical toughness.

Offensive line makes stand
With a veteran quarterback and more and faster wide receivers than a year ago, Florida was a popular team in the preseason polls and magazines.

Harrell inspires Vol defense
The Vols received an emotional surge Saturday night from the presence of injured defensive tackle Justin Harrell, who was a starter and game captain.

Key plays that made the difference for the Gators
During his news conference earlier this week, Urban Meyer answered a question that hadn't been asked in a few weeks.

Road games don't look so scary now
Obviously, this year is going to be different. It doesn't mean Florida will be playing in Atlanta or in a BCS bowl game. It doesn't mean that Urban Meyer has solved all of the Gators' road problems. It doesn't mean Chris Leak is finished sliding short of a first down or that he doesn't need Tim Tebow to do his dirty work.

Wynn finally emerges for No. 5 Gators
Florida coach Urban Meyer may have finally found his workhorse running back. Meyer spent all of last season hoping one of his tailbacks would emerge from the pack and carry the load. He was still waiting for it to happen in the spring and summer. It seemingly transpired Saturday night at Tennessee.

Defense makes plays in crucial situations
Although the Gators' defense gave up big plays all game, they stopped the Volunteers when it mattered. Until Tennessee's final drive, UF's defense gave up big plays and crucial third-down conversions on all of Tennessee's four scoring drives.

Wynn-win situation for UF
Florida football coach Urban Meyer had a long list of players he would ask to make a critical play before he ever reached DeShawn Wynn's name. Until Saturday night.

Two UF QBs Better Than One
Some coaches swear a two-quarterback system can't work. The University of Florida may have stumbled upon one that will.

Gators Show Grit
University of Florida coach Urban Meyer stressed all week that only tough teams win on the road. So when Meyer's quarterback slid a half-yard short of the stick on a crucial third-down play in Saturday's fourth quarter against Tennessee, Meyer called in a freshman with the guts to gain the 18 inches his team needed.

Gators rally past Vols
Three plays before, Chris Leak had worn a head-set. Florida's season, and a Neyland Stadium-sized chunk of Leak's legacy as a Gator quarterback, hung in the balance on fourth-and-1 at the Tennessee 27-yard line. And there was Tim Tebow, Leak's understudy at quarterback, crouched in the shotgun, waiting for center Steve Rissler's snap.

Road rally
Forget the Kleenex. The Gators don't need to pack them anymore. Last year they came in handy, especially when Urban Meyer was reduced to tears after losing at LSU. On Saturday, he got choked up for all the right reasons.

James makes name for himself as punt returner
Bank on seeing true freshman Brandon James juking and jiving on Florida's punt return team for as long as he wants.

Tebow runs for the key first down
With the game on the line, Florida Coach Urban Meyer pulled starting quarterback Chris Leak and substituted freshman Tim Tebow.

Meyer erases questions
Urban Meyer had just won his first big road game with the Florida Gators, erasing the image that he couldn't win a critical game in an SEC stadium outside of Gainesville.

New-look Gators, Baker take final swing
Dallas Baker hit back. Only this time he hurt Tennessee more than the Volunteers could have imagined. This time Baker might have just have just launched the Florida Gators to new heights and a new image.

Gators shine on a big day
College football's Surreal Saturday saw seven matchups of ranked teams, and the last of those games -- the one here at Neyland Stadium in this ocean of orange -- found the Florida Gators taking care of business in a manner all the more impressive in the context of chaos seen elsewhere.

A bittersweet trick play
Lucas Taylor finally got to throw another pass.

Tebow plays key role
Urban Meyer turned to the running ability of freshman quarterback Tim Tebow when the game was on the line against Tennessee.

ESPN crew turned Gators Haters?
The Gators might be loved in Gainesville, but they didn't get much respect from ESPN before facing Tennessee on Saturday night.

Meyer's dad wants more edge
A pat on the back would have to wait when Florida coach Urban Meyer checked in with the man whose approval means the most to him.

Rocky no more: Baker, UF offense respond in clutch
From goat to hero, Florida senior Dallas Baker spent another emotion-packed night in Tennessee's Neyland Stadium.

Meyer, Leak find their comfort zone
It's a matter of trust. Which means the relationship between Urban Meyer and Chris Leak - second-year coach and senior fourth-year starting quarterback, respectively, at the University of Florida - has come a long way.

Nelson leads Gators' defense
Florida free safety Reggie Nelson caught the first and last pass thrown by Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge Saturday night, and that's enough statistical information to figure out that Florida won.

Brooks unhappy with UK D-line
Yes, Rich Brooks is pleased that his Kentucky football team was able to pick up a 31-14 win over Mississippi Saturday night that gave the program its first conference-opening win in 19 years and put it over the .500 mark for the first time since he's been at UK.

Gators riding the Wynn
Florida senior tailback DeShawn Wynn's 104 yards were vital to the Gators' come-from-behind 21-20 win at Tennessee on Saturday night.

Ole Miss win sparks hope for Cats
Rich Brooks had a theme in practice this week. The UK head coach kept challenging his players with the fact that UK had not won a Southeastern Conference opener since 1987.

Fulmer upset with Vol offensive line play
It was shocking as it unfolded, and it dismayed Phillip Fulmer again when he watched the tape. Tennessee's coach didn't see anything that foreshadowed how his offensive line would struggle in Saturday's 21-20 loss to Florida. The Vols (2-1, 0-1 SEC), who dropped to 15th in the Associated Press Poll, mustered just minus-11 yards on the ground — an all-time low in Fulmer's 15 years at the helm.

By 11:30 p.m., a drunken haze and an annoyed nagging had replaced the anticipated Tennessee triumph.

UF scales Rocky Top, poll
With one final stretch of the chains, UF's championship hopes were preserved.

Hardesty starts but struggles in Volunteers' loss
All looked well in Volunteer land after former New Bern standout Montario Hardesty scored a 1-yard touchdown with 8:40 to go in the third quarter. The third TD of the season for the redshirt freshman running back put Tennessee up 17-7 at home against its arch rival the Florida Gators.

Florida Gator

Grossman shines in win over Lions
Rex Grossman had his best game as a pro, and the Chicago Bears' defense silenced Detroit's Roy Williams and the Lions.

Florida Gator Soccer

Tar Heels hold back Gators
Sweat covered Heather O'Reilly's face as she left the field Sunday. It wasn't just the warmth of the day, but the product of a scrambled finish.

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