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Saturday November 25, 2006No. 4 Football Caps Regular Season With 21-14 Win Over Florida State

Tallahassee, FL

Senior quarterback Chris Leak (Charlotte, N.C.) hit senior wide receiver Dallas Baker (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) for a 25-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, giving the fourth-ranked University of Florida football team (11-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) a 21-14 win over Florida State on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium. The victory was the Gators’ third-consecutive win over FSU, and moved UF to 6-0 over its three main rivals – Georgia, Tennessee and Florida State – in two seasons under head coach Urban Meyer.

 

Florida scored the game’s first points when junior wide receiver Andre Caldwell (Tampa, Fla.) caught a first-quarter screen pass near the line of scrimmage and ran 66 yards for his fifth touchdown grab of the season. Caldwell finished the game with a career high-tying eight receptions for a career-best 124 yards and a touchdown.

 

Freshman wide receiver Percy Harvin (Virginia Beach, Va.) widened the Gators’ lead to 14-0 in the second period with a 41-yard touchdown run, marking both his first career rushing touchdown and the longest run of his collegiate tenure. The UF defense yielded only 55 yards of total offense to the Seminoles, while Harvin broke runs of 17, 28 and 41 yards, in the first half en route to a 14-0 halftime lead.

 

Junior cornerback Ryan Smith (Diamond Bar, Calif.), who entered the contest with a share of the SEC interceptions lead, picked off his seventh pass of the season in the third quarter, while junior safety Reggie Nelson (Melbourne, Fla.) and senior cornerback Tremaine McCollum (Miami, Fla.) also picked off FSU quarterback Drew Weatherford in the period. McCollum’s interception, which came in his own endzone, was the first of his career. The only score of the frame came when Florida State’s Joe Surratt plunged in for a one-yard touchdown run, cutting Florida’s lead to 14-7.

 

Weatherford connected on a 25-yard touchdown pass with wide receiver Greg Carr in the early stages of the fourth quarter to tie the score at 14-14 before Leak answered with his game-winning touchdown pass to Baker. Leak, who completed 24-of-31 passes for 283 yards on the day, was 7-of-8 for 81 yards on the drive that led to the go-ahead score, while Baker concluded the day with five receptions for 84 yards and the fourth-quarter score that proved to be the winning margin. Harvin led UF on the ground, picking up 86 yards and a touchdown on four attempts, for an average of 21.5 yards per carry.

 

Nelson recorded six tackles, an interception and a pass defended to lead a Florida defensive effort that gave up just 235 total yards and just 46 rushing yards to Florida State. Senior defensive tackle Steven Harris (Miami, Fla.) made a season-high four stops and recorded 2.5 tackles for loss, including a sack that moved FSU back seven yards.

 

Saturday’s win, coupled with their victory in 2004, gives the Gators consecutive wins in Tallahassee since claiming back-to-back contests in 1984 and 1986. Florida also now owns a three-game winning streak over the Seminoles for the first time since a six-game run from 1981-86.

 

Florida will be in action again on Saturday, Dec. 2, when it travels to Atlanta for an SEC Championship Game showdown with Western Division winner Arkansas. UF will be looking for its seventh conference championship, and first since 2000.

 

- UF -

 

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