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Jesse Palmer threw a TD pass and scored another

Saturday October 28, 2000Turnovers help the Gators beat Georgia 34-23

Jacksonville, FL

Jesse Palmer threw a TD pass and scored another

The Florida Gators forced some key turnovers and Jesse Palmer and Rex Grossman each threw a touchdown pass in a 34-23 win over the Georgia Bulldogs in the annual game in Jacksonville. The Gators have now won 10 of the last 11 games played between the schools.

Grossman threw a first quarter touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney, but was replaced by senior Jesse Palmer after throwing his third interception. Palmer fumbled to set up a Georgia touchdown, but then recovered from the turnover and threw a touchdown pass to Robert Gillespie before going in from one yard out on a quarterback sneak. In the third quarter, however, Palmer reinjured his ankle and Grossman came back in to finish the game.

"It was a wonderful win for us, we didn't play very well, especially in the first half, there, with those four turnovers," said Gator coach Steve Spurrier. "We had to use everybody on the team. We used a couple of quarterbacks and a bunch of receivers."

He said that tying the game up 17-17 before the half was critical.

"Lito Sheppard's play in the second quarter was huge. They sort of had it at midfield, so that was a big turnaround right there."

Sheppard intercepted a Quincy Carter pass and returned it 61 yards to set up Palmer's touchdown pass to Gillespie late in teh first half. He then connected with Reche Caldwell on a two-point conversion to tie the game up 17-17 at the half.

The Gators took a 27-17 lead in the third quarter on Jeff Chandler's career-long 54 yard field goal and Palmer's quarterback sneak that climaxed an 82-yard scoring drive.

In the fourth quarter, Georgia's Quincy Carter threw a touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal to cut the Gator lead to 27-23.

Georgia was on the march again later in the fourth quarter, but Carter fumbled the ball after being sandwiched between Florida's Alex Brown and Clint Mitchell.

The Gators took advantage of the turnover as Gillespie ran in for a three yard touchdown to make the final score 34-23.

"Making plays always feels good," said Brown. "Making plays to help win the game feels even better." Brown also had a tipped pass late in the game that was intercepted by Bam Hardmon.

The victory gives the Gators a 7-1 record overall and a 5-1 mark in the SEC. Coupled with South Carolina's loss to Tennessee, the Gators now lead the Gamecocks by a half game in the division. Florida can clinch a berth in the SEC Championship game with wins the next two weeks over Vanderbilt and South Carolina. The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 6-2 and 4- 2 in the SEC.

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