Carthon moves for Green


Published: Sunday, September 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 1, 2002 at 1:14 a.m.

For members of the Florida football team, the goal on Saturday, obviously, was to win. They accomplished that by beating Alabama-Birmingham, 51-3.

But to members of the Gator running back corps, the goal also was to share.

Four UF backs (Earnest Graham, Ran Carthon, Willie Green and Ciatrick Fason) reached the end zone with Green's score coming on an assist from Carthon.

With the package on the field Carthon was supposed to be the tailback and ballcarrier on Green's one-yard run with 4:09 to play. However, Carthon put himself in Green's fullback spot, allowing Green to get the ball.

"We are a close group, a family, and no one has dedicated himself more to this program than Willie," Carthon said of Green, who has battled through injuries to both knees and a broken foot. "I just tried to take it upon myself to make sure Smoke got the ball. He deserved it."

Carthon said the idea for all four backs scoring came from watching Oklahoma have multiple runners reach the end zone in a victory on Friday night.

"Earnest is my road roommate and we were in the hotel last night watching (the Sooners) and decided we wanted to do that, too," said Carthon, who calls Graham, a senior, the "big brother" of the group. "I'm glad we got that chance."

WISH GRANTED: Gator freshman defensive end Steve Harris has won his academic appeal with the NCAA and will be eligible to play next week against Miami.

Harris, who is 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, registered 72 tackles and five fumble recoveries as a senior at Coral Gables High School in 2001. He was on the sidelines Saturday, wearing a No. 93 jersey without pads.

Now, receiver Dallas Baker is the only Florida freshman awaiting word from the NCAA regarding an eligibility appeal.

NEW FACE, SAME RESULT: The first drive of the Steve Spurrier era in 1990 went five plays for 70 yards and lasted 1:50. The first drive of the Ron Zook era went five plays for 79 yards and lasted 1:28.

Each possession ended in a touchdown.

QUOTABLE: "I wanted to run the fullback draw, but Jeremy Foley, he threatened me," Zook joked about UF's first play from scrimmage, a 59-yard pass from Rex Grossman to Taylor Jacobs.

Zook then said Grossman pushed all week to run the streak on the opening play, and that's why they did it.

FIRST STARTS: Four Gators made their first career starts on Saturday.

They were redshirt freshman center Mike Degory, redshirt freshman offensive tackle Jonathan Colon, senior defensive tackle Arpedge Rolle and junior tight end Ben Troupe.

EXTRA POINTS: There was a moment of silence prior to the game to honor the memory of former Florida play-by-play man Otis Boggs, who passed away earlier in the week.

Saturday's game was the first in Gator history where a player had more than 200 yards receiving and another had more than 150 rushing. Jacobs caught eight passes for 246 yards, while Graham had 182 yards on 13 carries.

The Gator band spelled out ZOOK on the field while doing a rendition of Tina Turner's "Simply the Best" at halftime.

The first true freshman to see action for the Gators was Fason, a member of UF's kickoff team. He and offensive lineman Randy Hand were the only two true freshmen to play.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Ingle Martin saw his first career action in UF's first possession of the fourth quarter.

The attendance was 85,575. That was an opening day record at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, topping the 85,439 UF drew against Southern Mississippi in 1997. The Gators have sold out The Swamp 78 consecutive games, dating back to 1989. That mark is the fifth best in the NCAA.

There was a bit of confusion early in the game, as the first quarter stats listed third-string quarterback Jeff Creveling and not Jason Hunter as the Gators' punter. The mistake was easy to make, as both are listed as wearing No. 18 on UF's official roster.

Grossman's 337-yard effort marked the 91st time in 151 games a Gator quarterback has thrown for at least 300 yards since 1990.

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