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Saturday November 11, 2006Blocked Kicks Spur Football To 17-16 Win Over South Carolina

Gainesville, FL

Junior defensive end Jarvis Moss (Denton, Texas) blocked South Carolina’s 48-yard field goal attempt with eight seconds left to play, propelling the sixth-ranked University of Florida football team (9-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) to a 17-16 win over the Gamecocks on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The victory completed an undefeated run through the SEC East for UF, marking the eighth time in school history the Gators finished the season unscathed in the division.


Moss’ late-game block – his second blocked kick of the game – preserved the one-point lead that senior kicker Chris Hetland (Leesburg, Ga.) secured for the Gators with a successful point-after try following a tough 12-yard touchdown run from freshman quarterback Tim Tebow (Jacksonville, Fla.). UF was able to take the lead on Tebow’s score because Moss blocked South Carolina kicker Ryan Succop’s extra-point attempt after the Gamecocks broke a 10-10 deadlock on a 14-yard scoring run by halfback Mike Davis.


USC got the game’s scoring off to a start with 26 seconds left in the opening period, as Davis plunged four yards over right guard for the score. The Gators waited almost the entire second quarter to get the equalizer, but it came in the form of a 21-yard scoring strike from senior quarterback Chris Leak (Charlotte, N.C.) to senior wide receiver Dallas Baker (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) with just under two minutes to play before the half. Baker, who finished the game with four catches for 51 yards, adjusted to an under-thrown ball and battled two Gamecock defenders before making a juggling catch in the front right corner of the endzone.


South Carolina worked its way into field goal range midway through the third frame, but were again denied by Florida’s special teams unit, as senior defensive end Ray McDonald (Belle Glade, Fla.) rose up to block Succop’s attempt. The teams traded field goals in the early stages of the fourth quarter, with Succop connecting from 47 yards to give the Gamecocks a 10-7 advantage before Hetland nailed a 22-yarder to even the score on the next possession.


Davis’ 14-yard score and Moss’ subsequent extra-point block gave USC a 16-10 on the very next possession, and Succop booted the ball out of the endzone to pin the Gators at their own 20-yard line. Faced with a fourth-and-one from its own 29, Florida elected to go for the first down, and Tebow plowed ahead for three yards to move the chains. Following a 19-yard pass from Leak to freshman wide receiver Percy Harvin (Virginia Beach, Va.) and a 17-yard gallop by Leak to the USC 22, Florida found itself looking at third-and-eight at the opponent 20. Leak and the Gators lined up in the shotgun formation, and Leak kept the ball himself, earning the first down by less than half the length of the ball. One play later, Tebow capped the six-play, 80-yard drive with the 12-yard scamper that proved to be the winning touchdown.


Leak finished the contest 19-of-21 passing for 254 yards and a touchdown, and added 19 rushing yards to the Florida cause. His 273 total yards moved him past former UF great Danny Wuerffel into first in the school’s 5,000-yard club (passing, receiving and rushing yards) with a total of 10,553 career yards. His 254 yards through the air also tied him with Wuerffel for Florida’s all-time lead in 200-yard passing games, with 31.


Harvin led a group of six Florida players with a reception, catching a career-high six balls for 91 yards. Sophomore tight end Cornelius Ingram (Hawthorne, Fla.) had three catches on the night to match his personal best, while junior wide receiver Andre Caldwell (Tampa, Fla.) hauled in three passes for 33 yards.


Senior running back DeShawn Wynn (Cincinnati, Ohio) turned in a 90-yard performance to lead a Florida ground attack that picked up 147 yards against South Carolina. Wynn averaged 7.5 yards per carry on 12 attempts, and the 90 yards are his highest output since gaining 104 against Kentucky on Sept. 23.


The Gators will wrap up the home portion of their schedule on Saturday, Nov. 18, when Western Carolina comes to The Swamp for a non-conference showdown. Kickoff is scheduled for noon, and the game will be made available live via pay-per-view (PPV) to viewers of participating cable systems, satellite systems and commercial establishments throughout Florida.


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