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Matt Patchan, De'Ante 'Pop' Saunders leaving Florida Gators football team

GAINESVILLE — The tumultuous football careers of Florida offensive lineman Matt Patchan and safety De'Ante "Pop" Saunders have ended, with both deciding to transfer.

"I just think they needed a fresh start," coach Will Muschamp said.

Patchan, an Armwood High alum, declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday. The redshirt junior has earned his undergraduate degree and is expected to transfer to Boston College where his former UF offensive line coach Steve Addazio is the head coach.

Patchan began as a defensive tackle in 2008, but did not finish the season due to a leg injury. In 2009, he moved back to offensive line, playing four games before being sidelined the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. He missed all of 2010 due to injuries, then played seven games last season before sitting out the Gator Bowl with a pectoral injury.

Saunders played in eight games, with seven starts, this season. The sophomore was suspended the first two for disciplinary reasons and didn't play in the final two regular-season games. Muschamp said two weeks ago that Saunders would not play in the Sugar Bowl. He appeared in 12 games as a true freshman in 2011, starting nine. He had 44 tackles and three interceptions in 20 games.

"Nothing against Florida or Coach Muschamp, but I just needed a fresh start," Saunders told the Gainesville Sun. "The top school I'm considering right now is Louisville" (coached by former UF defensive coordinator Charlie Strong).

Wild finish lifts cincinnati: Brendon Kay threw for 332 yards and a Belk Bowl-record four touchdowns, and Cincinnati capitalized on Duke's inept play at the end to beat the Blue Devils 48-34 in Charlotte, N.C.

Duke (6-7) was positioned for the go-ahead score — and its first bowl victory since 1961 — but fell apart in the final 80 seconds. With the score tied at 34, Blue Devils running back Josh Snead fumbled at the Cincinnati 5 with 1:20 left and Bearcats defensive lineman John Williams recovered. Kay then hit tight end Travis Kelce on an 83-yard touchdown strike down the middle with 44 seconds left for the go-ahead score.

Cincinnati (10-3) sealed it on the next series when Maalik Bomar crashed into Duke quarterback Sean Renfree, forcing a deflection that fellow linebacker Nick Temple returned 55 yards for a score.

Renfree threw for a Belk-record 358 yards, and the teams combined for a Belk-record 1,114 yards.

San jose state wins military: David Fales was 33-of-43 for 395 yards and two touchdowns as No. 24 San Jose State beat Bowling Green 29-20 in the Military Bowl at Washington. Attendance was 17,835. Fales led a drive that set up Austin Lopez's 27-yard go-ahead field goal with 4:43 left, and after a fumble recovery, De'Leon Eskridge clinched it with a 1-yard run for the Spartans (11-2). Bowling Green (8-5) took a 20-19 lead with a 68-yard touchdown drive with 10:26 left. How do these Spartans compare with the 1937-40 teams that all won 11 or more games? "We'll play 'em," interim coach Kent Baer said.

Barkley done at Southern cal: Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley will not play in Monday's Sun Bowl because of a sprained throwing shoulder, ending his college career. Redshirt freshman Max Wittek will start. Barkley owns 20 school records and 10 Pac-12 records. He is the conference's leader in total offense (12,214), yards passing (12,327), completions (1,001), TD passes (116) and combined rushing and passing TDs (122). "I'm at peace,'' he said. "I know that whatever the case is right now, I can make it into a great case come April (in the NFL draft)."

Alabama: Center Barrett Jones is still not practicing because of a sprained foot sustained in the SEC title game.

Basketball: New Mexico upsets No. 8 Cincinnati

CINCINNATI — Alex Kirk scored 15 and blocked Sean Kilpatrick's shot just before the buzzer, preserving New Mexico's 55-54 win over No. 8 Cincinnati. New Mexico (13-1) rallied in the second half behind its 7-foot center, who hit a 3, got a team-high seven rebounds and blocked Kilpatrick's jumper off an inbounds play. UC was trying to go 13-0 for the sixth time.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Matt Patchan, De'Ante 'Pop' Saunders leaving Florida Gators football team 12/27/12 [Last modified: Thursday, December 27, 2012 11:54pm]
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