Wayne Hanna beams from ear to ear when he talks about Tifton turfgrass. Some might say he’s a proud papa, and rightly so.“We develop them, and to see them succeed, it’s just like a parent whose child succeeds … it’s the same experience to see grasses you’ve developed and tested over time,” said Hanna, a retired turfgrass breeder with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.One of those grasses, Tifway 419, is a bermudagrass variety developed in the 1960s by former USDA turfgrass breeder Glenn Burton. It’s most often used on golf course and athletic fields and currently covers the field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, home of the Georgia Bulldogs football team.“The turf is off the chain,” said Georgia football coach Mark Richt, who was in Tifton on Wednesday to speak at the UGA Day event held at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. “When we line up against South Carolina (in next year’s home opener), it’s going to be looking great.”Hanna said Tifway’s ability to withstand extreme pressure from collegiate athletes is why it has succeeded as UGA’s playing field and other fields throughout the country.“It’s dense, real wear-tolerant and it recovers fast from damage from athletes,” Hanna said. “Tifway is pretty disease resistant. It just doesn’t have a whole lot of problems.”UGA turfgrass breeder Brian Schwartz agrees. “It’s a fine textured, dark green grass that’s been used successfully for about 50 years. The football field there in Athens is probably the best looking one in the SEC, in my opinion,” he said.Tifway’s name comes from a combination of Tifton and fairway, meaning it is highly suited for golf courses. It is also highly recommended for lawns, making Tifway a versatile variety.“It doesn’t take any type of special care. It does well under a broad range of managements,” Hanna noted.Tifway 419 is used in other football stadiumsaround the country, including at Texas A&M and at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. But none compare to Georgia’s field, though, according to Schwartz.“(Richt’s) got a beautiful field,” Schwartz said. “Many stadiums are torn up later in the season and his is just looking great. They do a good job there.” For more on UGA-bred turfgrass varieties, see the website at www.georgiaturf.com.
It was becoming an ugly trend. Before Syracuse hosted Loyola in the Carrier Dome Friday night, Syracuse had lost three games to ranked opponents by just a goal apiece. With SU trailing the Greyhounds in the second half, it appeared as if the Orange was in for another disappointing finish.But on this night there was a different feel down the stretch.The No. 10 Orange (9-4, 4-1 Big East) was able to stand its ground on Friday, defeating No. 13 Loyola, 13-11, in front of 412 fans at the Carrier Dome. Though SU dismantled Villanova (7-6, 0-5) Sunday, 18-3, the real challenge of the weekend came on Friday night. Coming off a heartbreaking one-goal loss to No. 11 Notre Dame last Sunday, Syracuse needed to prove to itself that it could defeat a fellow Big East power, especially in a tight contest.‘I think we came in today knowing that we had to come away with a win,’ senior attack Halley Quillinan said. ‘We knew that we were going to face a strong Big East team looking to come in here and upset us in the Dome. At the end, we kept our composure,’ The Orange came out of the gate with a vengeance, scoring three quick goals in the first eight minutes to take an early lead. Loyola responded with three goals of its own before senior midfielder Christina Dove gave the Orange a lead with her first goal of the game. The Greyhounds scored three of the last four goals in the half to take a 6-5 lead into the break.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU had been here before. Deadlocked in tight games against quality opponents, the Orange has found itself on the short side of the stick more often than not this season. On Feb. 27 SU fell to No. 4 Virginia, 14-13. Then on March 21 the Orange was narrowly denied what would have been a monumental upset, losing to No. 1 Northwestern, 13-12. And then there’s the Notre Dame game, which proved especially damaging considering that it came at the hands of a Big East opponent.Syracuse knew that it couldn’t let another close one slip away.The second half didn’t begin as the Orange would have liked, as Loyola scored a little more than two minutes in for a two-goal lead, the Greyhounds’ largest of the evening. But about seven minutes into the half, the momentum began to turn.The Orange was outshot 18-8 in the first half as its offense rarely had the ball in its own territory. But suddenly Syracuse began to play a quicker game, moving the ball effectively and giving itself ample opportunities to score. After numerous missed shots, freshman attack Tegan Brown broke the ice with a free-position goal at the 20:29 mark.‘I think we just got our composure and our confidence back,’ Brown said. ‘We brought it together. We started talking and communicating again and decided to go at full pace.’Following Brown’s goal, the Orange began to wake up. SU scored three of the next five goals before freshman attack Michelle Tumolo scored what would be the eventual game-winner on a picture-perfect pass off a fast break.The Carrier Dome crowd erupted louder than it had all season, and the Orange never looked back en route to a victory.‘I think we were in a bit of a funk coming off the Notre Dame game,’ head coach Gary Gait said. ‘And I think they had a little bit of self-doubt. We just had to play the game, and instead of stopping to make passes and cutting at three-quarters speed, they decided to go at full speed.’Though Syracuse has not had a wealth of success in close games thus far, Quillinan admits that she enjoys when the games are tight. She believes that it brings out the best of her ability and gives her team a chip on its shoulder.Luckily for the Orange, that chip finally resulted in a win.‘I like close games,’ Quillinan said. ‘I like a battle. I like being competitive. I like walking in knowing that the other team is ready for a fight. To see the fire in some of my teammates’ eyes — like Michelle (Tumolo) and (freshman midfielder) Bridget Daley — that just makes me better and pushes me harder.’[email protected] Published on April 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm Comments Facebook Twitter Google+