Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area College Players Roundup; Raines' Gardner Sets FIU Freshman Mark

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area College Players Roundup; Raines' Gardner Sets FIU Freshman Mark

Article excerpt

Byline: Don Coble

As Alex Gardner watched video of Florida International's 34-3 victory last Saturday against Wagner, he focused primarily on his blocking assignments.

Running backs usually are more concerned with their carries, but Gardner, a freshman from Raines High, is eager to be a more complete player for the Panthers.

Although Gardner concentrated more on picking up blitzes, his contributions to the running game were record-setting. His 138 yards on 15 carries were a team record for a freshman and just the fourth 100-yard rushing effort in FIU history by a first-year player.

"It feels great because it was actually one of my goals coming into this year," he said.

But his biggest satisfaction came on his progress as a blocker from an opening-week loss to Bethune-Cookman.

"The big thing for me has been adjusting to size and speed," Gardner said. "I didn't want any missed assignments. I'm happy about my pass-blocking."

Despite fighting a severe cold, Gardner broke the game open with a 62-yard run in the second quarter. He got within a yard of the goal line but was ruled down when he tried to dive through a pair of Wagner defenders.

"Next time, I will try to outrun them," he said. "That was on me. I had two guys right in front of me, and my knee hit the ground when I tried to dive into the end zone."

WOLFORD'S FIRST WIN

Quarterback John Wolford threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns to lead Wake Forest to a 23-7 win over Gardner-Webb. It was the first college victory for the freshman from Bishop Kenny.

"He's a professional," senior wide receiver Matt James said of his quarterback. "He holds himself like an upperclassman. He had a phenomenal game. The stats don't really show how well he played."

Wolford completed 30-of-38 throws. Six went to sophomore wide receiver Jared Crump of Bartram Trail.

DAVIS, MURDOCK HONORED BY LEAGUES

Quarterback DJ Davis (Sandalwood) and linebacker Larry Murdock (Ware County) were selected as players of the week in the Sun and USA South conferences.

Davis led Warner University on two long fourth-quarter drives in a 14-10 victory over Webber International. …

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