College Football: Gators arrive home quietly
Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 10, 2009
Associated PressGAINESVILLE, Fla. ó Two plumes of water from airport fire trucks arced over Florida’s jet as it taxied in, carrying the national champions as they returned home after beating Oklahoma in the BCS title game the night before.
Players and coaches marched triumphantly down airstairs between two team flags, ready to head back to school.
They didn’t get much of a welcome, but the university is planning a big celebration for today and didn’t publicize the arrival time. About 15 fans were there to watch players board buses.
Friday morning on campus, students braved cold temperatures, rolled out of bed with little sleep and headed to class savoring the 24-14 victory over the Sooners.
“It is great to be a Florida Gator everyday, especially today,” 23-year-old political science student Tamin Jabbour said Friday.
Jabbour avoided the street party, opting to watch the game at home and make class Friday morning.
“I’ve got to focus. It’s the first week of school,” the Boynton Beach native said.
Matt Dose, 21, an anthropology major from Jacksonville, was out in the streets, sleep-deprived and smiling.
“Waking up was one of the hardest things I’ve done in a long time,” said Dose, who had a 9:30 a.m. class. When he arrived, it had been canceled by the professor.
Sterling Davenport, a 19-year-old history major from Jacksonville, left the party about 1:30 a.m. because he had an early class.
“I wanted to clean up a little and sleep a little and get back to being a student,” Davenport said.
Police estimate about 28,000 students poured onto University Boulevard, the bar-lined main drag across the street from campus.
Screaming students and honking horns punctuated the night until about 3 a.m.
“We proved who was the best team in the country,” said Kyle Easterling, 24, a social studies major from St. Augustine.
Gainesville Police Capt. Paul Osey said police had a few minor problems with some people who climbed light poles and scuffled with officers, but there were no serious injuries.
Gainesville police made five arrests and university police also arrested five students, mostly for drinking violations.