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Saturday, April 13, 2024
<p class="p1">Florida students and fans cheer during Florida's weather delayed game against Idaho on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.</p>

Florida students and fans cheer during Florida's weather delayed game against Idaho on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

How did you spend your week? And what were you doing when the heavens opened Saturday evening over Ben Hill Griffin Stadium?

If you were in your warm, cozy abode, there are some students that are disappointed in you — a hardy sort that stayed through the delays, through the rain that felt like bullets, through the rain that came down sideways in sheets cascading over and over and over again upon waterlogged patrons in the Swamp.

It was the biblical kind, the kind that makes you think the school should have indeed invoked the "act of God" clause in the game contract with Idaho.

That clause states that anything from a hurricane to an insurrection can be used as an excuse to cancel a sporting event without monetary obligation to its visitors. An argument can be made that Saturday’s weather toed that line.

And so began the weird, pseudo-opening week, from Saturday until today, the first six strange days of the 2014 Florida football season.


Andrew Scattizi, a 24-year-old junior at UF, spent his Saturday evening in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

He stayed chilled and soaked in the north end zone and watched while students brought pizzas to two policemen standing out in the deluge.

There was a gator chomp in return from the boys in blue "that was pretty awesome," he said.

Then the band played under the cover, as hundreds of people packed like sardines swung and swayed to "We are the Boys."

Danny Gibble started the "week of weird" running.

He left the stadium after the game was suspended the first time to go home and eat some instant noodles. He heard the game was back on, and sprinted back two-and-a-half miles to the stadium just in time to miss what would be the game’s only play.

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It turned out to be an "unfortunately comical night" after he waited for a game that was never resumed, all in good fun in support of the Gators.

Matt Stewart thought he would only be hoisting the field goal net Saturday night before the rains came down.

Then after a directive from his boss, the University Athletic Association operations intern became part-time security guard with strict orders not to let anyone onto the field.

In part, Stewart and the rest of the people tasked with that responsibility failed, and he admitted it was humorous when the first of four girls to rush Florida Field hit the turf — he didn’t even realize it until she got to about midfield.

"Then the next three came at about the same time, and they just gave themselves up to us," Stewart said. "I’m just thinking, why would you come onto the field if you’re not going to showboat a little bit?"

The group of three that ran onto the field declined to comment to alligatorSports about the situation; the fourth could not be reached for comment.

AlligatorSports has confirmed that neither the Alachua County Sheriff’s office nor the Gainesville Police Department arrested any of the women. The University Police Department confirmed that they did not arrest the women but did take them into custody and ejected them from the stadium Saturday night.


Demarcus Robinson, Darious Cummings and Jay-nard Bostwick began the week suspended — Cummings and Bostwick for the first time and Robinson for the fourth game out of 13 possible in his college career.

For Cummings and Bostwick, it was a violation of team rules. For Robinson, a campus sanction.

Three hours before the game Saturday, all three were in the doghouse. But by Monday morning, they were free men with suspensions lifted, ready to take the field.

That decision has caused coach Will Muschamp to spend part of the week on the defensive after coming under fire in the court of public opinion.

ESPN’s Michael Wilbon called the lifting of the suspensions "unbelievably intellectually and sort of morally lazy," on "Pardon The Interruption." Denver Post columnist Woody Paige referred to it as "the biggest, lamest, thing I’ve ever heard," on ESPN’s "Around The Horn."

On Wednesday, Muschamp spent a portion of the Southeastern Conference teleconference firing back at detractors with an impassioned defense of his disciplinary practices.

"It’s very frustrating for me as a coach or any coach to have someone being critical and you don’t even have all the information," he said. "So at the end of the day I make the decisions in this program I handle the discipline in this program and it’s been handled very well.’’

He reiterated that his approach to player discipline is about more than just suspending player. It’s a wholesale correction of behavior.


Tight end Jake McGee spent this week with the same mindset he’s had since the beginning of August. With no game the previous week, the redshirt senior transfer said it felt like another week of camp.

"It feels like camp has just kept going," McGee said. "Feels like you’re in a five-six week camp now and you want to sort of get to the reward of a game. So it’s something that guys will keep practicing hard this week but everybody in the locker room wants and is anxious for a game."

McGee’s strange start to the week had nothing to do with the weather. He watched the Virginia Cavaliers play a football game on TV instead of on the sidelines for the first time since 2010. McGee transferred to UF in the summer after four years at UVA, including last season when he was the Cavaliers’ most reliable receiving target.

Other players spent this week angry. Buck linebacker Dante Fowler tweeted "Never felt this rage before," after the game was initially terminated.

Linebacker Mike Taylor needs an outlet for his frustration. The only problem is, he has to wait — patience, something everyone involved with the Florida football team has learned to have a lot of after Saturday.

"Out at practice (Tuesday) I got mad," Taylor said. "Because I’m like, ‘Dang, I can’t take anyone to the ground.’ You don’t want to unleash on your teammates, so it’s just like when I finally get out there, pray for (Eastern Michigan). That’s how we all feel, because we’ve got some stuff to let out. It’s been a while, so we’re just ready to take the field."


Athletics director Jeremy Foley announced that Florida would not be making up the Idaho game on Wednesday afternoon. The Vandals will receive their full contracted $975,000 and are guaranteed a game down the road in 2017. Tickets will be refunded to most fans and both parties close the book on an unnatural situation. Now, finally the full focus can shift.

Eastern Michigan — a team that gave up the sixth-most total yards in the FBS last season — will serve as the sacrificial lamb just like it did after a 2004 game against UF was postponed due to weather.

The Gators are caged animals ready to strike in all kinds of weather after a week that can only be described as downright abnormal. They will bring their own brand of thunder, not from the sky or even the AC/DC version that blares through the loudspeakers before kickoff.

Whatever happens Saturday, one thing is certain — you can blame it on the rain.

Follow Richard Johnson on Twitter @RagjUF

Florida students and fans cheer during Florida's weather delayed game against Idaho on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Florida players prepare to run onto the field prior to the start of the suspended season opener against Idaho on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin stadium.

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