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
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
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
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 -