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Saturday April 6, 2002Orange Beats Blue Before Spring Game Record Crowd


Rex Grossman threw for 257 yards and led scoring drives of 96 and 98 yards.

Behind 257 passing yards from Rex Grossman, the Orange team defeated the Blue today, 20-10, before a record crowd, estimated at 39,500 fans, in Florida's annual Orange and Blue Spring Game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field.

The annual spring game found the Gators posting some familiar offensive numbers as the two squads combined to post 456 passing yards and 603 yards of total offense is the 48-minute scrimmage. Thirteen different Gators caught a pass in the game. Grossman finished up 17-for-29 for 257 yards with one TD and one INT for the orange team. Quarterback Ingle Martin had a solid afternoon leading the blue squad, completing 14 of 20 passes for 145 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Junior Ran Carthon, who played with both the orange and blue teams, was the day’s leading rusher, carrying for 77 yards on 18 carries, while catching two passes for 16 yards. Todd McCullough led all tacklers with six total and four solos.

“Overall I was really excited the way it ended up,” UF head coach Ron Zook said of the game. “We felt like it was really important to get something out of this practice. We felt like we got some things accomplished and we’ve been through about everything. We tried to hit on everything we possibly could, right down to the pre-game meal and pre-game warm-ups. As minute as that might sound, come August 31st, there are going to be a lot of nerves for all of us. I think it’s important that they’ve been through it before and that they know what the schedule is. And the way the game turned out, we’ve learned some lessons in that game. There were a lot, a lot of good things. We told them before the game to not worry about mistakes, play and have fun, fly around and make some things happen. As you saw the game progress, in my eyes, it felt like they [players] relaxed and started playing.”

The blue team jumped out to an early 3-0 lead just over five minutes into the game. Marquis Westbrook picked off Grossman on the opening drive and the blue would march 68 yards in 10 plays to the orange 11 yard line where Jeff Whitaker capped the drive with a 28-yard field goal.

Orange completed touchdown drives of 96 and 98 yards during the second quarter though to take a 14-3 lead. Sean Morton’s punting twice had the orange squad penned in deep but Grossman led his team down the field. The first drive took 13 plays to cover 98 yards and was keyed by four completions of over 10 yards and a 20-yard rush by Earnest Graham on third- and-one at the blue 25. The longest completion was a 21-yard strike to cornerback Keiwan Ratliff on his first play as a wide receiver. Graham capped the drive with a five-yard run.

Ratliff made a fair catch on a Morton punt at his own four with 1:22 to play in the half and the two-minute drill clicked as Grossman led the orange squad 96 yards for the side’s second score. Grossman hit on five-of- seven on the drive, including a 37-yarder to tight end Aaron Walker and a 34-yarder to O.J. Small before finding Matt Jackson in the middle of the end zone from six yards out with four seconds left on the clock.

Blue closed the gap to 14-10 on the second half’s opening drive. Vernell Brown jump started the drive by returning the opening kickoff to the 40 yard line. Five plays later Ralph Townsend charged through for a five-yard TD run. Martin gained 20 on a QB keeper and hit Reggie Vickers with a 29- yard strike to highlight the drive. Vickers would be the leading receiver for either team in the game, catching three passes for 77 yards. The orange team would later add 41 and 24 yard field goals by Matt Leach to account for the 20-10 final.

The Gators will open their 2002 season at home when UAB comes to "The Swamp" on August 31.

	1	2	3	4	F
Orange	0	14	0	6	20
Blue	3	0	7	0	10

B- Whitaker 28-yd field goal (6:58 1st)
O- Graham 5-yd run (6:57 2nd)
O- M. Jackson 6-yd pass from Grossman (0:04 2nd)
B- Townsend 5-yd run (7:46 3rd)
O-Leach 41-yd field goal (7:40 4th)
O- Leach 24-yd field goal (0:50 4th)

Team Stats
	                Orange		Blue
First Downs	        16	      	9
Rushes-Net Yards        80	       	67
Passing-Comp-Att-Yds	21-34-274	15-27-182
Total Offense       	354		249
Penalties-Yards  	2-14		5-30
Turnovers (Fum-INT)	2		1
Time of Possession*	26:32		21:28
*Played with 12-minute quarters instead of 15

Rushing (attempts-yards-TDs)
Orange: Graham (10-46-1), Grossman (2-6-0), Kight (1-2-0), Ratliff (1-1-0)
Blue: Carthon (18-77-0), Martin (4-39-0), Hatch (3-3-0), Snell (3-1-0), Creveling (1-3-0), Townsend (1-5-0)

Passing (Completions-Attempts-Yards-TDs-INTs)
Orange: Grossman (17-29-257-1-1)
Blue: Martin (14-20-145-0-0), Creveling (5-12-57-0-1)

Receiving (catches-yards-TDs)
Orange: Walker (3-64-0), Kight (3-63-0), Small (3-50-0), Graham (2-17-0), Jackson (3-23-1), Jacobs (1-10), Ratliff (1-21)
Blue: Stone (5-57-0), Vickers (3-77-0), Sharp (2-11-0), Troupe (1-6-0), Perez (1-14-0), Carthon 2-16-0)

Leading Tacklers (Total tackles-Sacks)
Orange: Rolle (4-1), Johnson (4-0), I. Scott (3-0), G.Scott (3-0), Lamar (3-0)
Blue: McCullough (6-0), Norwood (5-0), T. Harris (5-0), Westbrook (4-0), Kendrick (3-0)

Attn: 39,500

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