Thursday, September 19, 2013
Florida duo's long road back
By Edward Aschoff
The nation's No. 1 overall recruit in the 2010, Florida's Ronald Powell missed all of the 2012 season with a torn ACL.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Ronald Powell's initial burst started in the center of the field. His job was to fly through Toledo's offensive line and get his hands on the quarterback.
As the pocket started to collapse, Toledo's Terrance Owens sprinted to his left, hoping to find a seam. Powell fought off a block, headed right and locked on. His teammates pursued, but not before the linebacker/defensive end launched his 6-foot-4, 240-pound, chiseled frame at the scrambling Owens. Two yards shy of the line of scrimmage, Powell had corralled his prey.
The play commanded roars from the announced crowd of 83,604 inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Four plays into the season, Powell had his first official tackle in more than a year and a half.
In the second quarter, linebacker Neiron Ball would make his way onto the stat chart when he broke up a first-down pass from Owens. Six plays later, Ball helped end the Rockets' drive with a midfield tackle on third-and-17.
Three very ordinary plays from two unique people. They finished their first starts of the year with a combined four tackles, one sack, three quarterback hurries and a pass breakup.
The true significance of their play didn't appear on paper. To know how much Aug. 31 meant to these two, you have to know how far they'd come.