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Team defends Swamp's honor

[Times photo: Kevin White]
Reche Caldwell hauls in a pass from Rex Caldwell to score a first-quarter touchdown against Auburn.

By JOANNE KORTH and DEBI JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000


GAINESVILLE -- Fed up.

That's what the Gators were after coaches showed them a copy of Sports Illustrated magazine that said the Swamp had gone dry. A 38-7 pounding of No. 19 Auburn, they say, should muddy the waters again.

"That really fueled our fire," center David Jorgensen said. "We're tired of all the naysayers saying we're not the team we used to be. We wanted to prove we're still one of the best teams in the country and always will be."

Florida's bulletin-board material also contained one positive reinforcement. The team remains inspired by the country music song I Hope You Dance, which coach Steve Spurrier brought to the team's attention before the 41-9 victory against LSU.

"The dance continues," Jorgensen said.

PALMER OUT: Jesse Palmer, who was slated to be the No. 2 quarterback to redshirt freshman Rex Grossman, did not dress out for Saturday's game.

Palmer missed the game because of upper respiratory problems. The senior lost his starting job to Grossman after missing most of the Louisiana State game with an ankle injury.

"Jesse has some sort of upper respirator ailment," Spurrier said. "He was having some trouble breathing so we kept him out for precautionary reasons. Hopefully, he will be back in two weeks."

Palmer stood on the sideline.

RECORD DAY: Placekicker Jeff Chandler's field goal during the fourth quarter made him Florida's all-time leading scorer with 228 points. He surpassed Bart Edmiston, who had 226.

Chandler will attempt to regain a year of eligibility he lost his freshman year and return for a fifth season. In 1997, Chandler kicked one extra point against Central Michigan.

With Jabar Gaffney's touchdown reception during the second quarter, Gaffney broke the Southeastern Conference touchdown record for a freshman with 10 on the season. The record was held by Auburn's Ronney Daniels, who had nine. The touchdown also was Gaffney's 36th reception of the season, breaking the Florida freshman reception record held by Jack Jackson.

TOP TWO: Auburn is one of two SEC teams to beat Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in the Spurrier era. In 1994 the Tigers won 36-33 and last season Alabama won 40-39 in overtime.

INJURY UPDATE: Robert Cromartie suffered a left ankle sprain and Tommy Hillard suffered a concussion. Both players will be evaluated later in the week.

LOCAL HERO: Auburn receiver Tim Carter, a sophomore from Lakewood High, provided a rare highlight for the Tigers, throwing a 39-yard pass to Marcel Williams in the second quarter. A versatile performer, Carter has completed a pass, caught a pass, returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against LSU, rushed the ball and made a special teams tackle.

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