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Injuries, illness take toll on Gators before and during Sugar Bowl

NEW ORLEANS — Illness and injury took a toll on Florida before and during Friday night's Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati.

Junior C Maurkice Pouncey spent nearly five hours in Tulane University Hospital in the hours before the game, suffering from kidney stones.

Pouncey had a CT scan that showed no obstruction of his kidneys.

The Lakeland native got to the hospital at about 9:30 a.m., and eventually received four bags of IV fluids. Pouncey was eventually cleared to play by team physician Jay Clugston, a UF neurologist and a Tulane University Hospital emergency room physician.

Pouncey has started in all 14 games this season.

Meanwhile, sophomore RB Jeff Demps dislocated his left elbow with 6:13 remaining in the first quarter. Demps was injured as he was tackled and fell on his extended forearm as he went to the ground. He was taken by stretcher to the locker room and didn't return. Junior OL Carl Johnson hurt his right shoulder with 10:24 left in the second quarter and went to the locker room.

Junior DT Terron Sanders missed the game with a right ACL injury, and Dee Finley was out with a groin injury.

FOND FAREWELLS: Saturday marked the career-ending games of two legendary figures in Florida college football. Florida State coach Bobby Bowden ended his career with a win over West Virginia in the Gator Bowl. And Florida QB Tim Tebow ended his by passing for 482 yards and three touchdowns in the Gators' victory.

Tebow, a professed fan and admirer of Bowden, said he's sad the legendary coach will no longer be a part of the college game, but he's honored to be exiting on the same day.

"That's pretty cool, pretty special," Tebow said. "Coach Bowden has done so much for college football. I feel like I'm not even saying enough when I say that. What he's done for college football and coaches … his legacy and his record of being in the top five or something so many years in a row, some of those records you're just saying, 'How could he have done that?' That's incredible. …He's been a great ambassador for college football. I think his character off the field has been even better than any record he could have set."

REDEMPTION: Throughout the week, defensive coordinator Charlie Strong and his players talked about how much they needed to redeem themselves after the dismal showing against Alabama which "most likely will bother me forever because I know we just didn't play like we're capable of playing."

On Friday, the Gators played like a team trying to prove itself. In the first half, Florida held the Bearcats, which entered with the nation's No. 6 total offense, to 54 yards on 26 plays, including eight rushes for minus-6 yards. Cincinnati didn't get a first down until nearly five minutes left in the first half.

NUMBERS: The Gators gained 646 total yards, breaking the Sugar Bowl record of 595 set by LSU in 2002. Former Clearwater Central Catholic star Riley Cooper had 181 receiving yards, second in Sugar Bowl history to LSU's Josh Reed (239 in 2002).

Injuries, illness take toll on Gators before and during Sugar Bowl 01/01/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 2, 2010 12:46am]
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