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Saturday September 9, 2000Eighth ranked Gators shutout Middle Tennessee 55-0

Gainesville, FL

Rex Grossman throws three touchdown passes

Lito Sheppard returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown and Todd Johnson brought a fumble back for a score as the Gators posted a 55-0 win over Middle Tennessee on Saturday night, recording their first shutout since beating Kentucky 65-0 in 1996.

The UF quarterbacks combined to throw for 299 yards and four touchdowns. Rex Grossman replaced Jesse Palmer (15-for-23, 193 yards) in the second quarter with the Gators leading 24-0 and threw for three touchdowns. Sophomore tight end Aaron Walker caught his first two career TDs in the win. The Gator defense kept Middle Tennessee at bay with three fumble recoveries and an interception.

"We had a pretty good week of practice - our special teams, our defense and our offense was very good there for most of the game", said Gator coach Steve Spurrier during his radio postgame show. "I was really proud with the way we came out and played."

Regarding his decision to give Grossman alot of playing time, Spurrier said, "I thought Rex deserved a chance to throw it around a little bit. Jesse (Palmer) played pretty well. He was 15 of 23 for about 190 yards and a touchdown. Both played well and we've got a couple of good quarterbacks and we'll probably need two throughout the year".

The Gators are now 2-0 and will play their SEC opener against Tennessee next Saturday at 3:30pm eastern time on CBS.

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