The No. 9
Gator football team improved to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the Southeastern
Conference with a 21-14 victory over Georgia (6-3/3-3 SEC) in front of
84,572 fans at Alltel Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Florida’s
defense forced five Bulldog turnovers and junior Andre Caldwell (Tampa, Fla.)
scored rushing and receiving to lift the Orange
and Blue to the triumph.
Florida received the opening kickoff and marched 62 yards on nine
plays, capped by a 12-yard scoring run by Caldwell
to begin the scoring. It was the fourth time this season that the Gators broke
the ice on their initial possession. Caldwell
accounted for 33 yards on the drive, with two receptions and two rushes.
Freshman quarterback Tim Tebow (Jacksonville, Fla.)
also contributed a 20-yard rush down to the UGA 14-yard line before Caldwell notched his
first rushing touchdown of the season two plays later.
forcing the Bulldogs three-and-out at the outset of the second quarter, the
Gators extended their lead to 14-0 on a 40-yard scoring toss from senior
quarterback Chris Leak (Charlotte,
N.C.) to Caldwell. The catch was Caldwell’s fourth receiving score of ’06, a
season-high for the wideout. Freshman Brandon James (St.
Augustine, Fla.) had a 26-yard
punt return into Georgia
territory to set the stage for Leak’s 16th TD pass of the campaign with 9:37
remaining until halftime.
Florida went into the break with a 14-0 advantage after limiting Georgia to just
81 yards of total offense during the first 30 minutes. The Gators harassed
freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford into 4-of-13 passing in the first half,
while junior Ryan Smith (Diamond Bar, Calif.) snagged his team-leading
Bulldogs’ first play of the third quarter, sophomore Derrick Harvey (Greenbelt, Md.) forced a fumble by junior Kregg Lumpkin that was scooped up and run back nine yards
by senior Ray McDonald (Belle Glade, Fla.).
McDonald’s first career touchdown and the ensuing extra point by senior Chris Hetland (Leesburg, Ga.)
moved the Gators in front by a 21-0 margin just 32 seconds into the frame.
Leak interception near midfield, Georgia covered 52 yards on six
plays in 2:17 to narrow the gap to 21-7. Stafford’s
quarterback draw for 13 yards hit pay-dirt to put the Red and Black on the
scoreboard with 4:40 remaining in the third quarter.
Bulldogs forced a fumble by Tebow at Florida’s 14-yard line
with 9:11 left in the game and scored three plays later on an eight-yard rush
by Lumpkin to pull to within 21-14. After forcing the Gators to punt, Georgia
regained possession on its own 38-yard line with 4:53 showing on the clock. UF’s defense rose to the occasion, as junior Brandon Siler (Orlando, Fla.)
sacked Stafford for a six-yard loss on first
down before two incomplete passes resulted in a punt by the Bulldogs. Later
facing a third down and four with 1:26 left, senior DeShawn Wynn (Cincinnati, Ohio) had a six-yard carry for a first
down that enabled the Gators to run out the clock.
finished 14-of-28 for 163 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Caldwell matched his
career-high of eight receptions for 88 yards and also rushed for 28 yards on
five carries. Freshman Percy Harvin (Virginia
Beach, Va.) led
UF with 37 yards on eight attempts, while Tebow
gained 36 yards on six carries. Defensively, senior Earl Everett (Webster, Fla.) had nine tackles, including two for a
loss, junior Reggie Nelson (Melbourne, Fla.) had seven tackles and
a fumble recovery, Siler finished with six tackles and junior Jarvis Moss (Denton, Texas) had five
tackles, forced a fumble and collected a sack.
For Georgia, Stafford
was 13-of-33 for 151 yards with two interceptions, Lumpkin was the leading
rusher with 43 yards on 11 carries and sophomore Brannan Southerland caught
three passes for 31 yards.
return to action next Saturday when they travel to Nashville to face SEC Eastern Division rival
Vanderbilt. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. and the game will be carried live on
Lincoln Financial Sports.