Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators honor Sept. 11 victims, first responders

GAINESVILLE — On the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Florida dedicated a portion of its pregame and all of its halftime ceremonies to remembering the event.

Six Gators with family military ties ran out of the tunnel carrying American flags. Local first responders were honored, and members of the school's chorus sang God Bless America following a video and moment of silence for those who lost their lives.

Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis donned an FBI baseball cap.

During that week in 2001, college football officials wrestled over what should be done about the games. They eventually postponed them. Florida coach Will Muschamp said he finds it difficult to think back to that day and what it was like for himself and everyone else in America.

"That's a tough deal," Muschamp said. "Obviously, it was an attack on our country, and then to go through what I know a lot of people close to me went through with that, it's just a tough deal. And to have to think back through all of that happening, it seems like it was yesterday to me."

Muschamp, who was the linebackers coach at LSU in 2001, said football was far from coaches' minds during that week.

"Getting your team ready really was an afterthought after that happened," he said.

"It was more about circling the wagons and understanding why it happened, explaining it to young men why something like that happens. And you can't think rationally with irrational people. And what happened was totally irrational."

MAKING HIS MARK: Following the Gators' season opener against Florida Atlantic, Muschamp had high praise for FB Hunter Joyer, a graduate of Wesley Chapel High, for his blocking. Saturday, Joyer made his mark in a different way.

On his first career carry, Joyer scored from 3 yards to give the Gators a 13-0 lead.

Joyer became the fourth Gator since 2008 to score a touchdown on his first career carry, joining Javier Estopinan in 2008 and Trey Burton and Jordan Reed in 2010.

BACK IN STRIDE: After missing nearly all of last season with a back injury, Florida K Caleb Sturgis connected on field goals of 24, 35, 28 yards during the first half. It was the first time he kicked three in a game since Mississippi State in 2009.

FINALLY: Florida scored 54 points, had 41 first downs, went 7-for-8 in trips to the red zone and forced eight opponent punts over two games before former walk-on David Lerner finally got his opportunity to punt Saturday night. Lerner's 32-yarder midway through the second quarter was the first of the season for the Gators.

Florida Gators honor Sept. 11 victims, first responders 09/10/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 10, 2011 11:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Yankees game

    The Heater

    The 10 strikeouts look flashy, but RHP Chris Archer was not his sharpest Thursday. He allowed three runs on seven hits, including three straight in the two-run second and a Gary Sanchez homer in the third, and lasted only six innings, throwing 102 pitches.

  2. Rays fall to Yankees in 11 on Brett Gardner homer (w/ video)

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The front office did its part Thursday, making two trades to bolster the roster in a push for the playoffs. But the Rays didn't follow up in a frustrating 6-5 11-inning loss to the Yankees.

    Rays reliever Andrew Kittredge stands on the mound and can only watch as the Yankees’ Brett Gardner starts to circle the bases after his walkoff home run leading off the 11th inning.
  3. Believe it! Rays are buyers, trade for reliever Dan Jennings and 1B/DH Lucas Duda

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Dan Jennings' ability to render lefty hitters useless with a sinker that gets beaten into the ground and Lucas Duda's power to blast baseballs off and over outfield walls should make the Rays better.

    Lucas Duda
  4. Bucs' direction is decidedly up for first time in several years


    TAMPA — If you want to see a team give the Heisman Trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Tight end O.J. Howard, left, the Bucs’ first-round draft pick this year, was brought in to give QB Jameis Winston another big-play option.
  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Friday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.