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Weather delays 1st half

By ANTONYA ENGLISH and JILL MARTIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 15, 2002


GAINESVILLE -- The Gators had to contend with an underdog opponent and the weather Saturday against Ohio University.

GAINESVILLE -- The Gators had to contend with an underdog opponent and the weather Saturday against Ohio University.

On Florida's second possession of the first quarter, the game was stopped 46 minutes because of lightning, with Florida trailing 3-0. According to university policy, a game must be stopped if lightning is within 5 miles of the stadium or practice field.

Florida quarterback Rex Grossman had just completed a 1-yard pass to Vernell Brown, leaving the field on fourth and 15 at the Ohio 43.

SEC rules state that any fans who leave the stadium during a game cannot return, but the policy was lifted in the delay.

DICKEY HONORED: Florida fans probably had no idea they cheered a Tennessee Volunteer on Saturday. Tennessee athletic director Doug Dickey, a former UF quarterback, was among more than a dozen members of the 1952-53 team honored on the 50th anniversary of Florida's first Gator Bowl team. The Gators defeated Tulsa 14-13 on Jan. 1, 1953.

WHERE'S THE CROWD?: With 15 minutes left before kickoff, there was an odd sight at Florida Field: rows of empty seats. With reports of rain and a lackluster opponent, there were gaping holes throughout most of the stadium. Five minutes into the game, those who stayed away seemed smart.

BOP'S BIG BREAK: Senior cornerback Bop White is the MAC's active leader in career interceptions, and he quickly showed why. White intercepted Grossman's first pass, setting up Ohio's 48-yard field goal and moving to second on the school's all-time list with 14 interceptions.

HOLD THE PASS: Ohio did not attempt a pass until 14:47 in the second quarter. In 1997, Ohio had 61 runs and no passes.

GRAHAM MOVES UP: Earnest Graham's 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter moved him to fifth in career rushing touchdowns (27 including a fourth-quarter touchdown).

DEBUTS: Freshman right guard Randy Hand and sophomore free safety Cory Bailey made their first career starts. Ran Carthon and Larry Kendrick replaced Keiwan Ratliff and Vernell Brown on kickoff returns. Carthon recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback. Other notable changes included Sean Morton, who replaced Tampa's Jason Hunter at punter. Bryan Savelio started for Tron LaFavor at defensive tackle.

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