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Sunday September 10, 2006Leak Throws Four TD Passes As Football Blanks UCF, 42-0

Gainesville, FL

The seventh-ranked Gator football team raised its mark to 2-0 on Saturday night with a 42-0 shutout over UCF (1-1) in front of 90,210 fans at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Senior quarterback Chris Leak (Charlotte, N.C.) was 19-of-29 for a career-high 352 yards and four touchdowns, Florida's offense rolled up 637 yards and the defense pitched its first shutout since a 52-0 blanking of Mississippi State on Sept. 29, 2001.


The Gators set the tone by scoring on their opening drive with 6:54 remaining in the first quarter, as Leak found freshman wideout Percy Harvin (Virginia Beach, Va.) on a crossing pass on third down and six. Harvin took the ball 58 yards downfield into the end zone for his first career touchdown. The rookie finished with four receptions for a game-high 99 yards and carried the ball twice for 11 yards. Highlights of the five-play, 79-yard drive included a 17-yard completion to senior Jemalle Cornelius (Fort Meade, Fla.) and a nine-yard run by Leak. Senior Chris Hetlandís (Leesburg, Ga.) successful extra-point attempt gave Florida a 7-0 advantage.


The hosts exploded for four touchdowns over an eight-minute span in the second frame to build a commanding 34-0 lead at the half. With 8:14 remaining in the quarter, senior running back DeShawn Wynn (Cincinnati, Ohio) powered his way eight yards for his 21st career rushing touchdown and second score of the campaign. Key plays during the 79-yard drive included senior Dallas Bakerís (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) 28-yard catch on 3rd and 12 at Floridaís own 19-yard line and Corneliusí 23-yard reception. A failed extra-point attempt left the Gators with a 13-0 lead.


On UF's next drive, freshman quarterback Tim Tebow (Jacksonville, Fla.) made his first appearance of the game and directed a five-play, 77-yard scoring drive. The rookie rushed for a total of 38 yards on the drive, including a 29-yard dash up the middle, the longest rush by a Gator this season. Sophomore Kestahn Moore (Arlington, Texas) found pay-dirt with a 28-yard touchdown run, his second score of the season, and Hetland's PAT put the Gators ahead, 20-0.


After forcing the Golden Knights three and out on their next possession, the Gator offense went back to work. A six-play, 70-yard drive was capped by Leak's second scoring toss of the night, a 10-yard bullet to Baker in the back of the end zone. A key 34-yard reception by Cornelius on third down had brought Florida down to UCF's 10-yard line.


Following another UCF punt with under a minute remaining in the period, Leak engineered a two-play, 34-second scoring drive which resulted in a 34-0 cushion. The Orange and Blue began the drive on the Golden Knights' 35 yard-line, where Leak completed a 10-yard pass to Baker. On the next play, Leak hit junior Andre Caldwell (Tampa, Fla.) on a slant pass for a 25-yard score.


With UCF backed up on its three-yard line early in the third quarter, Florida junior safety Tony Joiner (Haines City, Fla.) tackled sophomore tailback Kevin Smith in the end zone for a safety. The two-pointer was the teamís first safety since Brandon Siler hauled down Mississippi State quarterback Michael Henig on Oct. 8, 2005, in The Swamp.


Florida completed the scoring with 8:32 left in the third stanza on Leak's fourth touchdown pass of the game, an eight-yard toss up the middle to Caldwell. The 10-play, 66-yard drive was capped by Caldwell's first multiple-TD effort of his career. However, the extra-point attempt was blocked, keeping the score at 42-0 for the home team.


The Gators held a decisive 637-153 edge in total yards and out-rushed the Golden Knights, 204-21. Tebow led Florida with 62 yards on nine carries for a 6.9-yard average, while Wynn gained 51 yards on nine attempts. Leak and Tebow completed passes to 11 different receivers in the victory, including Baker (four for 81 yards), Caldwell (four for 51 yards), and Cornelius (three for 74 yards). Senior defensive tackle Marcus Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla,) collected two sacks for a total loss of 15 yards and Joiner paced the defense with five tackles.


UCF senior quarterback Steven Moffett was 14-of-32 for 100 yards and Smith finished with 22 yards on nine carries. Senior Mike Walker had a game-high six receptions for 33 yards and classmate Kenny Jackson caught five passes for 47 yards. Tonight was just the second meeting between the in-state rivals and first since Florida notched a 58-27 win on Sept. 11, 1999.


Florida heads to No. 11 Tennessee (2-0) next Saturday for its Southeastern Conference opener. The game will be televised nationally from Neyland Stadium beginning at 8 p.m. by CBS Sports.
















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