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Saturday April 12, 2008Florida Football Holds Orange and Blue Game In Front of Record Crowd

Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida football team concluded its 2008 spring season with the annual Orange and Blue Debut Saturday afternoon in front of a record crowd of 61,000 fans. Blue defeated Orange, 28-14, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium before the highest-attended spring game, eclipsing the previous record of 58,500 in head coach Urban Meyer’s 2005 debut.


Blue won its second straight spring contest and has won three out of the last five Orange and Blue Debuts. The contest featured several events on the day before a national television audience on ESPN and with ESPN College GameDay in attendance.


Junior quarterback Tim Tebow (Jacksonville, Fla.) led the Blue team and finished 13-of-21 for 200 yards and two passing touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Cameron Newton (College Park, Ga.) of the Orange team was 6-of-18 for 53 yards. Sophomore running back Emmanuel Moody (Coppell, Tex.) of the Orange turned in a game-high 111 yards rushing on 14 carries with one score. Freshman running back Chris Rainey (Lakeland, Fla.) added 76 yards on the ground and accounted for one of the Blue’s four touchdowns.


Sophomore running back Mon Williams (Mesquite, Tex.) put Blue on the scoreboard first with a 9-yard TD rush with 7:17 remaining in the first quarter. Tebow’s throw intended for wide receiver Butch Rowley (Orlando, Fla.) on Blue’s second possession was picked off by cornerback Ahmad Black (Lakeland, Fla.) – his first interception in three spring games. Orange could not take advantage of the pick, and Rainey later caught a 65-yard pass for Blue’s second touchdown with 0:44 left in the first quarter. The Tebow-to-Rainey connection marked the longest play in an Orange and Blue Debut since 2001.


Struggling a bit in the first half, Newton was 6-of-11 and sacked three times, all of which came from freshman defensive end Carlos Dunlap (North Charleston, S.C.). Dunlap finished with a game-high six tackles and a spring game record four sacks. Tebow was intercepted a second time by freshman linebacker Lorenzo Edwards (Orlando, Fla.) in the second quarter. Edwards returned the pick 50 yards for an Orange touchdown, and the ensuing point after by freshman Caleb Sturgis (St. Augustine, Fla.) brought the score to 14-7.


Sophomore wide receiver Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.) caught a 14-yard TD pass across the middle from Tebow late in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The Orange squad accounted for its first offensive touchdown of the game on a 10-yard TD rush up the middle by Moody with 1:41 left in the contest. It marked the final score of the game as Blue ran out the clock to preserve the 28-14 win.

Newton commanded Blue for the final drive, rushing for 24 yards and yielding one fumble.


The Gators open their 2008 regular season against Hawaii on Aug. 30 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.


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