|Gator Trap: Bucs underdog in Swamp|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 30 August 2009 08:25|
``They all say, 'Why y'all playing them?'' McKain said.
Championship Subdivision teams routinely take on their BCS brothers each season in a bid for money, with Charleston Southern getting $450,000 for the game. It also provides recruiting exposure, with 41 of the 75 Buccaneers players from the Sunshine State, and a once-in-a-career experience for the Bucs to play before the 90,000 expected this weekend. And, there's always the chance for unprecedented glory.
``Remember Appalachian State did it before'' by winning at Michigan two seasons ago, said Charleston Southern's A.J. Toscano, who'll make his first start at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
ior and are favorites to add a second straight national title. The last time Florida faced an FCS opponent, it defeated Charleston Southern's Lowcountry rival, The Citadel, 70-19 last November.
Charleston Southern has had just three winning records in 18 seasons of football. The Bucs have lost their three career FBS matchups by a combined score of 156-44.
A USA Today oddsmaker made headlines this summer when he made Florida a 73-point favorite.
``It's really just a small miracle that we're taking part in this game,'' seventh-year coach Jay Mills said.
How often, Mills asks, does a Charleston Southern get to face what many consider the country's best team, led by the country's most-talked about player, with fans celebrating last year's national championship season?
Mills accepted this contest as he tries to build his program. The Florida money will help the school construct a new field house - they break ground in 2010, athletic spokesman Blake Freeland said - to create a student-athlete enrichment center.
Charleston Southern, located about 20 miles west of South Carolina's coast, was formerly known as Baptist College. It's motto is ``Promoting Academic Excellence in a Christian Environment,'' so it's no surprise that Mills and his players respect Tebow, who has been open about his faith during his college career.
eak onto his recruiting list among the Gators, Alabama and other powers.
``The most he can do is tell you no,'' the coach said.
Mills and his staff haven't spent time drilling the Bucs about Florida's strengths. Those are apparent each time the players break down Gator film. McKain says the speed and talent jumps off the screen.
``It is a big responsibility, but we have been underdogs before,'' McKain said. ``We're just trying to go out there and have some fun.''
Toscano transferred to Charleston Southern after two seasons at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif. He hadn't played before more than a few thousand fans and is expecting to be impressed by The Swamp.
After the initial awe, Toscano is confident he and his teammates will buckle down and play hard.
``There won't be any fear,'' he said. ``If there's anyone who's afraid, I don't want them out there with us.''
McKain figures to spend much of his time as weak-side linebacker marking Tebow. McKain, a 6-foot, 217-pound Air Force Academy transfer, hopes he'll stay fundamentally sound to wrap up the Heisman winner, although, ``I think he's bigger than I am,'' he says of the 6-3, 245-pound quarterback.
Running back Antwan Ivey went to Newberry (Fla.) High, about 30 minutes away from Gainesville and Florida's campus. Ivey attended games at The Swamp and dreamed one day of starring in their backfield.
Ivey had a chance, gaining an offer as a preferred walk-on at Florida. He chose to take a scholarship with Charleston Southern.
He'd like Florida fans to remember him for a different reason next week
``We've got a notion we can shock the world,'' he said. ``We're not going in thinking we'll lose. I want to win.''