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September 20, 2011

The Silver Lining: 9/20 Orange & Blue News

MORE FLORIDA FOOTBALL: Scout's Eye View - Breaking down big plays from the UF-UT Game | Monday with Muschamp: Pleased with Powell | View from the Sideline - Football Tidbits

In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week The Silver Lining will take on a "news and notes" format to keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.

Laughing in the face of defenses for the last two weeks, former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez has been on fire for the New England Patriots, grabbing a total of 14 receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown in each game. Unfortunately for Hernandez, he wound up suffering a sprained MCL on Sunday and will be out for at least 1-2 weeks as he recovers, according to the Boston Globe. Comcast SportsNet New England, on the other hand, was told he could be out for 4-6 weeks due to the severity of the injury. Hernandez has been splitting receiving duties at tight end with Rob Gronkowski since last season. Both had their share of highlights, but it appeared as if Hernandez was becoming the primary threat in 2011. The injury creates another opportunity for Gronkowski to step up and is just another step backward for Hernandez.

In a similar fashion, Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman has been equally dynamic, proving doubters wrong while helping lead his team to a 2-0 record to begin the season. Grossman has thrown for nearly 600 yards and four touchdowns in two contests but did cough up a pair of interceptions on Sunday. He beat out John Beck for the starting job in the offseason and proved he deserves the spot, leading Washington on a game-winning scoring drive in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game. He recently did an interview on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, stating that he has put the past behind him and truly believes he can be a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL going forward.

Not only has he been a bright spot for the Buffalo Bills, wide receiver David Nelson has really proven what hard work and determination can do for you. An undrafted free agent in 2010, Nelson earned a spot on the team, a decision that has been paying dividends for head coach Chan Gailey ever since. Nelson had a team-highs in receptions and yards in week one and brought down a team-high 10 catches for 83 yards in week two along with the game-winning touchdown. He was humble but appreciative in Sunday's post-game press conference. "The way the guys fought back, the defense was swarming to the football, the offense was making plays in the second half, the guys didn't fold, they believed in each other and the way it ended, with me catching the touchdown to go on top, it just got emotional," he said. "Just because of the gravity of the situation and the way we came back and won. Those kind of games don't come around very often."

In Gainesville over the weekend were a pair of top-tier 2012 basketball recruits - five-star point guard Kyle Anderson out of New Jersey and four-star center Willie Cauley from Kansas. Cauley said he plans to make his decision during the early signing period, but Anderson announced his decision Monday night and chose to attend UCLA next season. Florida basketball's focus will now turn to five-star power forward Alex Poythress as they hope to fill out their 2012 class with another stud commit. At 6'8" and 215 lbs., Poythress is currently has a final five of UF, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Memphis and Duke. The Gators had an in-home visit with him on Sept. 14

Not seeing the field as a quarterback yet this season, Denver Broncos second-year player Tim Tebow wound up playing wide receiver on Sunday. Why exactly? Because Tebow is Denver's emergency pass catcher, the team only had four active going into the game and one of them got injured. Though he did not catch any balls, Tebow would have been thrown to if open, starter Kyle Orton said after the game. The Heisman Trophy winner was also the subject of Sunday's edition of ESPN's Outside the Lines. The program took a look at his faith and how it could be the center of his polarizing nature amongst fans and critics.

In another Tebow note, hip-hop artist Jay-Z gave him a shoutout in a featured verse on J. Cole's new song Mr. Nice Watch. Jay-Z raps, "I got a Hulbot, I call it Tebow / I strap that b**** with a Gator band / Y'all ball half time, y'all like the Gator band"

Gators women's teams were also in action over the weekend and No. 6/7 volleyball (8-2, 1-0 SEC) got things started by sweeping Mississippi State 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 26-24). Senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel led the way with 14 kills, but senior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy contributed a triple-double with 10 kills, 19 assists and 11 digs. No. 9 Florida soccer (7-2) earned a pair of decisive victories, defeating Missouri 2-0 and Kansas 7-2 on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Freshman midfielder Annie Speese scored both goals on Friday and added another on Sunday. Senior forward Tahnai Annis scored the first and seventh goal of the Kansas match, but five other players (including Speese) also got on the board in that contest. Both teams have the entire week off before playing again on Friday, when volleyball squares off against Kentucky at home and soccer concludes their road trip at Georgia.

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