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Jon Reep, Steve Miller Band pump up Gator Growl crowd

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Posted: Monday, October 27, 2008 12:00 am

After dancing a jig around stage to OutKast's "Hey Ya!" with UF mascots Albert and Alberta, comedian Jon Reep got down to business at Friday night's Gator Growl.

In a routine using physical humor and college themes, Reep, a winner of NBC's "Last Comic Standing," touched on naked etiquette in male locker rooms, Gatorade, Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and his bottle-opening belt buckle.

"Chicks dig it, trust me," Reep said of the buckle, and then pantomimed opening a girl's beer bottle with an energetic hip thrust.

"It's messy, but it's sexy," he said. "I'm bringing messy back."

Steve Miller Band later took the stage - with frontman Miller sporting a No. 15 Gators jersey - and performed hits such as "Abracadabra" and "The Joker."

When the band's well-known beat of "doo doo doo-doo doo" sounded, the crowd sang along, opened their cell phones and swayed in time to the rhythm of "Fly Like an Eagle."

About 35,000 people attended the event, said Michael Jordan, the show's producer.

The turnout was about 10,000 fewer people than last year's.

Jordan attributed lower attendance to the weather and the economy.

"We've seen a drastic decline in attendance at events like these in general," he said.

Attendees wiped off sprinkled seats before the show began, but rainfall did not interrupt the show.

Mr. Two-Bits silenced the crowd before leading his famous cheer on the 50-yard line, the same place where a man proposed to his girlfriend of three years later in the show.

Three acts, all winners of Talent Night in early October, opened the show: singer-songwriter Braxton Adamson, dance troupe Sabor Latino and local band Dear Dakota.

UF football coach Urban Meyer took the stage to introduce the team's 17 seniors, a graduating class with 36 wins in the past three and a half years - the "winningest senior class in history."

Meyer turned over the microphone to wide receivers Louis Murphy and Cornelius Ingram to excite the crowd for the game.

Past student athletes and celebrities joined other celebrities to give their best rendition of "Let the Gator Growl."

Former UF basketball players Al Horford and Corey Brewer, actor Forest Whitaker, ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews, comedian Bob Saget, and former Sen. Bob Graham made cameos.

Max Weiss and Vanessa Douyon were crowned Homecoming king and queen, respectively, and walked around stage to "My Girl."

Various student skits poked fun at student organizations, fellow students and rival schools.

The theme was "Road to the Swamp," and the host was Albert E. Gator, unopposed presidential candidate for The Gator Nation.

Albert received endorsements via video from Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama.

In each taped segment, the presidential candidates ended with the show's trademark slogan, "Let the Gator Growl."

Other campaign videos promoted Albert throughout the night.

One included a political ad that compared Albert with Kentucky's Scratch the Wildcat.

"Albert is a family man who thinks children are the future," the voice stated. "Wildcats eat babies."

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