Short and sweets: Best UF receivers in bowl history


Florida's Riley Cooper runs into the end zone untouched on a long pass from Tim Tebow during the second quarter against Cincinnati in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La., on Jan. 1, 2010.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:43 p.m.

Treat yourself to a collection of Sugar Bowl tidbits

Key matchup

Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker vs. Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson

Parker is the big-play receiver for the Cardinals with nine touchdown catches this year and 712 receiving yards on only 38 catches.

He's a big, physical receiver at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and can run. Roberson bounced back from his neck injury of a year ago to have a strong season for the Gators. He broke up 12 passes and had bookend interceptions in Florida's first and last games.

With Florida's penchant for playing press coverage, the defensive backs are going to need to knock Louisville's receivers off their routes at times and stick with them because of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's scrambling abilities.

“We like to play corners who have what we call length,” said Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. “Sometimes length doesn't mean a guy who is 6-foot-2. It just means that you have the arm length to go and defeat plays.

“And so if you're playing tight coverage or we call it deny-the-ball coverage and the guy's in tight, now you can get your hand in to defend the ball. That's the style that we like to play.”

Bowl standouts

The five best receiving games by yards for Florida players in bowl games:

1. 2010 Sugar Bowl — Riley Cooper, 181 yards. Cooper caught an 80-yard touchdown from Tim Tebow to start the second half against Cincinnati.

2. 2002 Orange Bowl — Taylor Jacobs, 170 yards. Brock Berlin started the game because Rex Grossman was suspended and both lit up Maryland.

3. 1980 Tangerine Bowl — Cris Collinsworth, 166 yards. The MVP of the game, Collinsworth ended his Gator career with a huge night against Maryland.

4. 1999 Orange Bowl — Travis Taylor, 159. Taylor caught two touchdowns from Doug Johnson in the first quarter to start the 31-10 rout of Syracuse.

5. 2000 Citrus Bowl — Travis Taylor, 156 yards. Taylor missed much of the season with an injury, but used this big game against Michigan State as a springboard to the NFL.

UF in the Sugar Bowl

2001 — Miami 37, Florida 20

The Hurricanes came into the game as the second-ranked team in both polls, but only No. 3 in the BCS. Florida was ranked seventh after winning the SEC Championship Game.

Early in bowl week, the teams scuffled on Bourbon Street and Florida defensive tackle Gerard Warren was handcuffed and taken to police headquarters. The lack of love carried over to the game where the teams combined for 20 penalties for 188 yards.

One of the big ones was a questionable personal foul on Warren that set up the clinching score for Miami. Warren was falling to the ground and grabbed QB Ken Dorsey's jersey on the way down.

Florida led 17-13 on a 36-yard run by Earnest Graham before Miami stormed back behind Dorsey's three touchdown passes. The teams had almost identical total yards (Miami had 454 and Florida 452, but Florida quarterbacks Rex Grossman and Jesse Palmer threw three interceptions).

Key stat: The Miami trio of Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne and Jeremy Shockey combined for 185 receiving yards against the Gator defense.

MVP: Dorsey.

Quote, unquote

“We have 34 players from Florida and they're the ones who turned this program around.”

Shawn Watson, Louisville offensive coordinator

Senior salute

This will be the last game of the college careers of Florida's seniors. Each day we'll take a look at the career of one of those players.

JOSH EVANS — Evans is the perfect example of a player who just kept getting better during his college career.

He was a quarterback and a defensive back at Irvington High in New Jersey when Urban Meyer landed him in the 2009 recruiting class. Evans played special teams as a freshman, started three games as a sophomore, started eight games as a junior and has been one of Florida's most consistent players as a senior.

“I feel like I was one of those players who took what I did last year and tried to get better,” Evans said. “I took things more seriously, more film watching, more time with the coaches.”

He has been a tackling machine during his UF career, recording 11 tackles last year against South Carolina and leading the team this season with 79 (and 2 sacks).

Evans came into the season with two interceptions and added two more this year, including one in the end zone to preserve a 14-7 win over Missouri.

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