Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Team USA Tops Team Florida

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Team USA Tops Team Florida

Article excerpt

ORLANDO -- Football players from Florida found out a thing or two in yesterday's Gridiron Classic -- players from other states are pretty good too.

Team USA, composed of players from around the nation, beat Team Florida 21-14 in front of 21,298 at Orlando's Florida Citrus Bowl.

Tulane receiver JaJuan Dawson scored the winning touchdown, a 39-yard pass from Fresno State quarterback Billy Volek, halting the notion that college players from Florida are superior to their counterparts.

Dawson said his game-winning reception, coming with 10:57 remaining in the game, proved one thing about non-Floridian players.

"A bunch of guys on my college team are always talking about Florida. I hear all the time about how good players from Florida are," said Dawson, who was named Gridiron Classic offensive most valuable player. "But, the rest of us can play too."

Team Florida, led by quarterback Doug Johnson of Florida, attempted to rally during the final three minutes of the game. However, one Team Florida drive was halted on downs with 1:39 remaining.

After getting the ball back with 19 seconds remaining, Johnson's team simply ran out of time.

"We hate to lose as a Florida team," Team Florida coach Lindy Infante said. "We just got outplayed today."

Statistically, the game was pretty even. Team USA outgained Team Florida 361 yards to 339. Team USA had 17 first downs, one more than Team Florida. And only about three minutes separated the teams in time of possession.

They even committed the same amount of turnovers with four.

Team Florida's turnovers were just more costly, leading to 10 points for Team USA.

West Virginia's Jay Taylor kicked a 27-yard field goal following a Team Florida interception, making it 7-3 just before halftime. Dawson, who finished with a game-high 106 yards on three receptions, caught the game-winning touchdown following a Team Florida fumble early in the fourth quarter. …

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