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Gators RB out today

Florida tailback Robert Gillespie will miss today's game against Middle Tennessee State, coach Steve Spurrier said Friday.

Gillespie sprained his right toe in the 40-19 victory against Ball State last weekend, when he rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns in 17 carries.

Spurrier said earlier in the week that sophomore Earnest Graham would be the probable starter. Gillespie is expected to return for the Sept. 16 game at Tennessee.

IN THE PUBLIC'S INTEREST: The lucrative bowl business is getting help from public coffers.

Besides money from corporate sponsors, 11 of this season's post-season games are receiving state or municipal funds totaling nearly $4.5-million, USA Today reported. There are 25 bowl games.

The total amount of public subsidies channeled to bowl games is expected to increase, and officials of eight other bowl games expect to petition legislators for funding.

"We're talking about games that generate anywhere from $25-million to well over $100-million of economic impact," Orange Bowl executive director Keith Trible told the newspaper. "It's money well spent."

BETTOR UP: Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz vs. John D'Arcy, the bishop of the South Bend, Ind. The wager on the outcome of the Nebraska-Notre Dame game? Lunch at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' meeting in November in Washington.

CLEMSON: University officials have about closed the case of some stolen tickets, which humiliated a family at last week's game and have worried a North Carolina ticket broker who sold them.

Stacy Southerland's family was shocked when security officers escorted the orange-clad fans from four seats at Memorial Stadium before last week's game against The Citadel.

"We looked like we were the thieves in this whole matter, and that's so embarrassing," Southerland said.

Authorities learned Southerland bought the tickets online from Dallas-based Encore Ticket & Sports Tours, which had bought the tickets _ unaware they were stolen _ from another online auction.

The tickets belong to an unidentified season-ticket holder who reported his season package stolen, said Van Hilderbrand, Clemson ticket manager. Authorities have identified the thief, but they hope to reimburse everyone without having to press charges, Hilderbrand said.

The university gave Southerland's group four tickets to a later game this season and reissued the season-ticket holder his passes, Hilderbrand said.

TENNESSEE: An MRI exam on quarterback Joey Mathews' injured knee found no major problems, trainer Mike Rollo said. Mathews, who started in the opener against Southern Mississippi, left practice early Thursday after feeling a "popping" sensation in his left knee. Coach Phillip Fulmer worried it might be a cartilage problem. Rollo said the MRI exam done Thursday night showed no serious damage to cartilage, ligaments or tendons. The sophomore will continue treatment and rehabilitation, Rollo said. His status for practice is day-to-day. The No. 12 Volunteers are idle this weekend. They face No. 8 Florida next week.

VIRGINIA: Tailback Arlen Harris had left knee surgery and is expected to be out 3-4 weeks. A portion of Harris' medial meniscus cartilage was removed in the operation, which the university said was a success. Harris started Saturday's game against Brigham Young and carried the ball 18 times for 79 yards and one touchdown before being injured in the 38-35 overtime loss. Antwoine Womack, who gained 160 yards on 15 carries and scored a touchdown against the Cougars, will replace Harris as the starter against Richmond today.

_ Correspondent Debi Jones contributed to this report.

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