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QB practices after missing week with shoulder sprain

Florida Gators: Quarterback Chris Leak returned to practice Tuesday after missing most of the past week with a sprained right shoulder.

Leak played Saturday against Mississippi State, but his timing and accuracy were off after sitting out of practice last week. He also skipped Monday's workout.

Leak, expected to play Saturday at No. 10 LSU, injured his shoulder Oct. 1 at Alabama and needed a cortisone shot before Saturday's game. The junior has completed 48.5 percent of his passes the last two games for 431 yards, with one touchdown and four interceptions. He has also been sacked six times.

"It's just fine," said Leak, who has started 27 consecutive games for the No. 11 Gators. "The main thing is being out there and playing with those guys. I never want to let those guys down. I want to be out there with them."

Cornelius in; Jackson, Wynn out: Receiver Jemalle Cornelius (ankle) also missed practice on Tuesday, but coach Urban Meyer said he should play on Saturday. Receiver Chad Jackson (knee) and running back DeShawn Wynn (shoulder) practiced, and center Mike Degory (knee) left after developing some soreness but returned later in the session.

Defensive end Ray McDonald practiced lightly for the first time since having surgery Sept. 19 to repair ligament and cartilage tears in his right knee.

Meyer said McDonald, the team's top pass rusher, should return Oct. 29 against Georgia.

"It was great to see him get through his first practice," Meyer said. "We're just watching him closely and trying to get him back in game shape."

GameDay draws record audience
ESPN's pregame show before Penn State's upset of Ohio State last Saturday night drew a record audience, and the game itself was the second-most watched of any regular-season matchup on the cable network.

The Nittany Lions' 17-10 victory averaged 4,435,000 households and a 4.9 rating. Only the Florida State-Miami game on Oct. 8, 1994 drew a bigger audience.

The College GameDay telecast from State College, Pa., on Saturday averaged 1,861,000 households and a 2.1 rating.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Maybe the thieves just like the Fighting Irish.

There was a burglary at a Wheeling, W.Va., law office, and the haul was $17,288 worth of Notre Dame football tickets -- including eight for a game against top-ranked Southern California. Also stolen were tickets for games against Brigham Young, Tennessee and Syracuse, police said.

Five parking passes, about $50 in cash and filing cabinet keys were also taken from the offices of the firm, which reported the break-in Monday.

Florida State Seminoles: Florida State will likely take the field without several defensive contributors when the Seminoles face Virginia on Saturday.

For the second straight week, defensive end Darrell Burston will not play because of a shoulder injury. Another reserve, Anthony Kelly, has an ailing hip. That leaves Alex Boston and freshman Neefy Moffett as the remaining options on the left side of the line.

Boston started last week's game against Wake Forest.

Coach Bobby Bowden said he wasn't sure if cornerback Trevor Ford would return from a neck injury in time for this weekend's game.

Meanwhile, linebacker Ernie Sims said he will be ready for Saturday's game.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Cornerback Kevin Patterson had an appendectomy Tuesday and could miss up to three weeks.

Patterson was admitted to a hospital Monday night after experiencing abdominal pain, coach Jim Grobe said.

Football trainer Don Steelman said Patterson will miss two to three weeks, although he will be re-evaluated next week.

Patterson had a similar episode this summer, when hospital doctors believed he had appendicitis. He was released without further treatment after the pain subsided.

Patterson has started all six games for the Demon Deacons (2-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Riley Swanson, who played in all 23 games the past two seasons, will probably replace Patterson.

Rice Owls: Charlie Rizzo replaced Roger Hinshaw as defensive coordinator at Rice on Tuesday, taking over a defense that has allowed 50 points and more than 500 yards per game during an 0-4 start.

Rizzo, who joined the Rice staff in 1998, will also continue to coach the linebackers.

Hinshaw, defensive coordinator since 1998, came to Rice with head coach Ken Hatfield in 1994 and has coached with Hatfield for 23 years. He will remain secondary coach.

Rice ranks 115th out of 117 Division I-A teams in total defense at 506 yards per game and is 116th in scoring defense.