FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING: Defense - Grading the two-deep depth chart | Offense - Grading the two-deep depth chart | Taylor clarifies commitment status | Gators eyeing East Lake trio | Florida moves up for five-star after visit | Four-star making travel plans with Florida | Notebook: Defense prepared for LSU | Pease happy with Driskel, not so much with Debose | Through Four Games - comparing 2011 to 2012 | The Stock Report - Driskel soaring | Bye week superlatives
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.
Lacking major moments of impact so far this season (aside from one interception return for a touchdown), former Gators in the NFL made a major leap overall on Sunday thanks to two standout performances. First up was New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes, who not only led his team with seven tackles (three solo) and added a pass defense but also forced two fumbles in the game including one on the goal line early in the contest. Starting the day off nicely was Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin, who returned the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, setting a career-high as well as a team record in the process. Other former Florida players were instrumental to their respective team's success throughout the day but those two certainly stood out from the pack.
In the fifth regular season editions of the USA Today Coaches' and Associated Press Top 25 polls, the Gators moved up one spot in each and checked in at No. 11 and No. 10, respectively. Florida's ranking in both polls is its highest since Sept. 25, 2010 when the Gators were the unanimous No. 7 team in the country. UF cracked the top 10 in the AP poll because voters still had undefeated Texas ranked below them (by a total of five voting points) despite the fact that UT won a road game against a tough opponent on Saturday. LSU, Florida's opponent Saturday, remained at No. 3 in the USA Today poll but was jumped by Florida State in the AP Top 25 and fell in at No. 4 overall.
No. 12 Gators volleyball (11-2, 5-0 SEC) extended their winning streak to eight games over the weekend with consecutive road victories over South Carolina (3-1 on Friday) and Mississippi State (3-0 on Sunday). The trio of junior middle back Chloe Mann (26 kills, 29 points), freshman outside hitter Ziva Recek (25 kills, 18 digs, 26.5 points) and senior right-side Tangerine Wiggs (19 kills, 23.5 points) led the way for Florida with terrific performances in both matches. UF will now have two-straight weeks of home matches beginning with a pair next weekend.
In a nice turnaround from the beginning of the season, No. 24 Gators soccer (8-3-1, 5-1 SEC) is on their own five-match winning streak. Florida outscored its opponents 7-1 over the weekend thanks to a 3-1 win over Ole Miss on Friday and a 4-0 sweep of Arkansas on Sunday. Both victories were team efforts with seven separate Gators scoring goals and four others registering assists (sophomore midfielder Annie Speese had one of each). Florida soccer will begin the month of October with consecutive road games and will play away from home in five of their final seven regular season games.
Not saying that hosting the event does not have its advantages, but the Gators swimming program swept their third-straight All-Florida Invitational over the weekend with the women's (1,141.5 points) and men's (1,273 points) teams both finishing ahead of the Seminoles. UF captured 30 total event victories (21 individual, nine relays) and were led by three wins each from junior Elizabeth Beisel and redshirt junior Sebastien Rousseau. Florida will compete in the SMU Classic before beginning head-to-head swimming competition on Oct. 25 at Georgia.
Gators fans have been itching for Tim Tebow to get his shot to start at quarterback for the New York Jets, but it does not look like that will be happening next week despite the fact that Mark Sanchez had another horrific game on Sunday. Asked in his post-game press conference if he would make a change at signal caller next week, head coach Rex Ryan dismissed the notion stating, "I don't think that's the answer." He went on to say that quarterback play must get better for his team but that "Mark's the answer" at that position. The Denver Broncos also felt that Kyle Orton was the answer one year ago, yet a move to Tebow turned the team's fortunes completely around. New York's defense is not as strong as Denver's was a year ago (nor are some of its supposed playmakers as talented), so it may be better that Tebow does not get the call soon and instead rides out the storm brewing in the Big Apple.
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