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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Gators show their true colors at Gator Growl

<p>A member of the Para-Commandos skydiving team lands on Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during Gator Growl on Friday night.</p>

A member of the Para-Commandos skydiving team lands on Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during Gator Growl on Friday night.

More than 26,000 students, alumni, veterans and guests united Friday under the stars for the 89th Gator Growl.

A lot happened during the roughly three-hour show. Comedian Tracy Morgan and country star Josh Turner performed, host and Olympian Dara Torres flashed her abs and the Para-Commandos skydiving team fell from 5,000 feet.

Other crowd pleasers included a dance medley by Sabor Latino and a parody of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” by the Sedoctaves. The UF Gator Marching Band even played “Gangnam Style.”

Kyle Giesel, a 21-year-old finance junior, said he thought Turner stole the show.

Audience members seemed to agree. They clapped, danced and put their arms around each other as they swayed to the music, belting out the lyrics with their heads thrown back and eyes closed.

But others thought Morgan choked — literally. He ended his act abruptly because he was coughing so hard.

Dennis Driscoll, a 1965 UF alumnus and Gators season ticket holder of 45 years, said he had been to more than 30 Gator Growls. Although the 69-year-old said he thought better sound and lighting would have enhanced this year’s production, he said it was one of the best he’s been to in the past few years.

Driscoll attributed that partly to Turner’s performance.

“It’s real music,” he said. “All his songs have what they call a hook — it takes you in.”

A member of the Para-Commandos skydiving team lands on Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during Gator Growl on Friday night.

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