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Saturday September 8, 2012Hines Makes Pivotal Catch in Return to Lone Star State

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The question was lobbed his way a bunch since Omarius Hines signed to play football at the University of Florida.

"Everybody asked me ... and I mean everybody," Hines said Saturday.

Why would a high school football star from Corsicana, Texas, leave a state rich in tradition and top-shelf collegiate programs to go all the way to Florida.

His answer?

"I wanted to win," he said.

Against Texas A&M, Hines had to come back to the Lone Star State to notch a win and thoroughly enjoyed his 20-17 homecoming victory over the Aggies at Kyle Field, a stadium just 130 miles or so from his hometown.

And while in town, Hines just happened to lend a pivotal hand (two actually) to the biggest play of the game.

Pretty cool for the kid who never in his wildest dreams could have foreseen returning home to play a game as a Gator. In 2008, when Hines signed with the UF, the notion of Texas A&M expanded to the Southeastern Conference wasn't on anyone's radar.

"Then [expansion] happened, the schedule came out and I was like, "Oh man!" " Hines said. "And in my senior year, too."

With the Gators trailing 17-13 early in the fourth quarter, the ultra-versatile Hines lined up at tight end, sped off the line against safety Steven Campbell, got behind him and caught a perfectly thrown sideline pass from Jeff Driskel for a 39-yard gain that marked the longest play by either team in the game.

"I knew he was one-on-one and I saw him clear the line and the [defender] running with his back to me," Driskel said. "I knew he was going to make the play. I laid it out there for him and he made it."

The reception gave UF a first down at the Aggies' 18 and two plays later tailback Mike Gillislee scored on 12-yard run to give the Gators a lead they never relinquished.

Hines, who had two catches for 46 yards and also rushed once for two yards, admitted he didn't run the perfect route -- the play was designed to go more vertical -- but everything worked out.

"He put it right on the money," Hines said.

"Clutch throw, clutch catch," offensive coordinator Brent Pease added.

Last week, it was Frankie Hammond who made the game-breaking play in the fourth quarter to help the Gators open a two-score lead in a 27-14 season-opening win against Bowling Green that was much too close for UF fans -- and coaches.

This time it was Hines' turn.

"It was something we'd been working on from that formation," Coach Will Muschamp said.

The timing turned out to be ideal, especially for the native Texan on the receiving end.

"Big play for me," said Hines, who had an estimated 50 family members or friends in the stands Saturday. "Biggest of my career."

Makes sense. The saying goes they do things bigger in Texas. Hines just waited to come home to go big.

 

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