Short and sweets: Bostic key to stopping run game


Florida linebacker Jon Bostic speaks at a news conference after arriving at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in Kenner, La., Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. Florida faces Louisville in the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game on Wednesday. (The Associated Press)

Published: Monday, December 31, 2012 at 9:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 31, 2012 at 9:01 p.m.

Treat yourself to a collection of Sugar Bowl tidbits

Key matchup

Louisville running back Jeremy Wright vs. Florida linebacker Jon Bostic

The Cardinals lost top tailback Senorise Perry to an ACL injury late in the season and have turned to Wright, but Louisville has struggled to run the ball.

In his last three games, Wright has managed to gain only 89 yards on 48 carries and the Cardinals rank 100th in the nation in rushing offense.

Florida has one of the nation's best run defenses and one of the biggest reasons is Bostic, who has blossomed in his senior year.

“Jon's a very mature guy and has what we call in the coaching world very good football intelligence,” said Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. “He's a smart guy, but not all smart guys are able to carry it over onto the grass and do that.”

While the focus for Florida's defense may be on Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the Gators can't let the Cardinals establish any hint of a running game and Bostic is the key.

Bowl standouts

Florida's top five passing performances in bowl games:

1. 2010 Sugar Bowl — 482 yards by Tim Tebow. The Gators passed at will against Cincinnati as Tebow completed 31-of-35 passes in the easy win.

2. 1995 Sugar Bowl — 394 yards by Danny Wuerffel. Wuerffel had a big game, but it wasn't enough to overcome Florida State.

3. 1992 Sugar Bowl — 370 yards by Shane Matthews. Florida was able to move the ball on Notre Dame, but the Gators settled for too many field goals.

4. 1966 Sugar Bowl — 352 yards by Steve Spurrier. Spurrier led a furious fourth-quarter comeback, but it fell short against Missouri.

5. 2003 Outback Bowl — 323 yards by Rex Grossman. Grossman played well but Florida lost to Michigan when UF's final drive ended on a botched trick play.

UF in the Sugar Bowl

1992 -- Notre Dame 39, Florida 28.

The Gators were not only coming off their first official SEC title but a stirring win over FSU in the season finale. But the Gator defense was no match for Jerome Bettis in the second half.

The Gators led 16-7 at the half, but Notre Dame rallied in the third quarter to take a 17-16 lead. In the fourth quarter, the Irish scored 22 points and Florida had injury issues at linebacker.

Bettis scored all three touchdowns in the quarter, the last two on runs of 49 and 39 yards. “The Bus” finished the game with 150 rushing yards on only 16 carries.

Shane Matthews threw a pair of scoring passes and Arden Czyzewski kicked five field goals for UF in the game.

Key stat: Notre Dame won the game despite committing four turnovers, including three fumbles.

MVP: Bettis.

Quote, unquote

“We know it starts up front. I feel like with the O-line, we have the most strenuous practices, and it has to be that way. If we're driving the machine, then the machine doesn't go. And that's how it's been all season.”

-- Florida offensive guard James Wilson

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.)

Frankie Hammond Jr.

Hammond came to Florida as part of the 2008 recruiting class and redshirted his first year. In the next four years, he has 61 catches for 787 yards and six touchdowns.

He had only four catches as a redshirt freshman in 2009, but played on Florida's kickoff team all year. The following year he had his best season in terms of catches with 22 and yards with 276.

As a senior, Hammond has 20 catches for 273 yards. That's not a lot of catches, but he has caught at least one pass in all but one game this season.

Hammond has shown the ability to get open deep, but hasn't been one of those receivers who makes guys miss. Still, he has had a solid career in his five years as a Gator.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top