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Florida Gators: A gift for Javier Estopian

GAINESVILLE — In the five years he has been a Florida Gator, DT Javier Estopinan has had his share of struggles, including three surgeries for ACL injuries.

So last week, coach Urban Meyer told Estopinan he wanted to do something special for him.

With the Gators leading 49-6, Meyer kept his promise.

Estopinan scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 1-yard run with 10:36 remaining in the third quarter.

"We started talking about that a few weeks ago," Meyer said. "… I remember Javier was playing his best football against LSU two years ago and he hurt that knee. He's had three ACL surgeries, so anything I could do. We were talking and I said we're going to get you a touchdown.

"We actually practiced that and it worked."

Estopinan is a Miami native who last summer became the first in his family to graduate from college. He is currently studying building construction in graduate school.

It was his first touchdown since he was a sophomore tight end in high school.

"It was a great feeling," Estopinan said. "It was coach Meyer's idea. He's stingy with his touchdowns. There are so many playmakers on offense, you would never think you'd get a touchdown. I just didn't want to drop the ball. I just wanted to make sure I had the ball and scored."

Meyer made a special effort to reward and acknowledge members of the senior class, a group that has won a national championship, two SEC Eastern Division titles, and two January bowl games.

It has a record of 41-9 overall, 24-8 in SEC games and 24-2 at Florida Field.

"I tried to get the seniors as involved in the game as possible," Meyer said. "Just because you're a senior doesn't entitle you to that, but they deserve it."

NEWTON'S STATUS: Reserve QB Cameron Newton was released from the Alachua County Jail Saturday afternoon, but his status with the team remains uncertain.

Newton was arrested Friday and faces three felony counts in connection with the theft of a fellow student's laptop last month.

"I'm as shocked as I think most every one of you are who know Cam," Meyer said. "I absolutely fell out of my chair, crushed, surprised. But he's made his bed and he's got to sleep in it.

"I know probably less than you guys know about it because our focus was on beating the Citadel, and now that it's over I've got to deal with some issues and I'll know more. People wanted to talk to me about it and I wouldn't even discuss it with them. That would be an injustice to the seniors and an injustice to our football team.

"Now (today), I've got to, but I'm not going to spend much time on it because we've got to get ready for our rivals."

INJURY UPDATE: DT Lawrence Marsh suffered a sprained left knee with 14:50 remaining in the first quarter. DL Duke Lemmens did not dress because of a neck injury and former Middleton High standout A.J. Jones missed his second consecutive game with a PCL injury. Meyer said he had hoped Jones could play, but he is expected to be ready for Florida State. Armwood DL Matt Patchan saw limited action, but is suffering from a knee injury.

Florida Gators: A gift for Javier Estopian 11/22/08 [Last modified: Saturday, November 22, 2008 8:48pm]
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