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Loucheiz Purifoy shows Jelani Jenkins the way after Jenkins caught Purifoy's blocked punt.

Wednesday June 19, 2013The Top 10: Scott Carter's Top UF Individual Moments of 2012-13

Loucheiz Purifoy shows Jelani Jenkins the way after Jenkins caught Purifoy's blocked punt.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Gators kept it interesting until the very end.

I mean the very end. More on that below in the item on UF's 4x400 relay team at the NCAA Championships.

In another banner year for UF sports, there were plenty of memorable individual performances.

Some meant more than others, but all are equally impressive.

As always, my list is surely different from yours. So if you want to agree to disagree, you can chime in here on the official Facebook page of GatorZoneScott.

As for my Top 10 individual moments from the 2012-13 UF sports calendar, here are my selections:

A Block Party, Swamp Style

The Gators tied the game only moments earlier when quarterback Jacoby Brissett hit Quinton Dunbar for a short touchdown pass.

The Florida-Louisiana game was headed to overtime. Or so that is what everyone thought.

As Louisiana prepared to punt in the game's final moments, Florida coach Will Muschamp called a timeout with 13 seconds remaining.

What happened next prevented the Gators from one of their most unlikely losses at The Swamp.

Loucheiz Purifoy came off the edge to block the punt. The ball fluttered in the air until Jelani Jenkins ran under it and raced for the game-winning touchdown with two seconds left.

A block party then broke out in the north end zone.

Rising Up At Right Time

Freshman outfielder Kirsti Merritt was having a good season when the Gators arrived at the SEC Tournament in May.

What she did in Lexington on national TV earned her Louisville Slugger National Player of Week honors.

Merritt batted .455 with a pair of decisive homers and seven RBIs to lead the Gators softball team to its third SEC Tournament title in program history.

The Gators rode the momentum all the way to the Women's College World Series. Merritt was the talk of the town in Lake Panasoffkee for a few days.

Fearless Foursome

Performing under pressure is a trademark of elite athletes.

At the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor National Championships earlier this month, Florida's 4x400-meter relay team showed its mettle in grand fashion.

The Gators had to win the meet's final event -- and the last event of the 2012-13 UF sports calendar -- to have a shot at repeating as national champions. Najee Glass, Hugh Graham Jr., Dedric Dukes and Arman Hall delivered the goods.

Shortly after the race was over, the foursome smiled for the cameras as the Gators shared the national title with Texas A&M.

Not Your Average Freshman

No one doubted Bridget Sloan's ability. The 2009 World Champion arrived at UF as the most decorated recruit in the school's gymnastics history.

But her impact can't be measured only by results. Sloan's free-spirited approach and playful antics helped her teammates knock the edge off during crunch time.

And when the Gators needed her most, Sloan showed why she is the difference maker she is.

At the NCAA Gymnastics Championships in April, Sloan scored 9.950 on three events and matched her collegiate-best all-around score of 39.75.

She also danced around as usual to lighten the mood as Florida overcame a pair of falls on beam to claim the program's first national title.

Run Gators, Run

The Gators racked up a lot of yards on two trips to the Volunteer State in 2012.

First, Trey Burton took a direct snap at Tennessee and raced 80 yards for a game-tying score in Florida's 37-20 win over the Volunteers.

The Gators racked up a season-high 555 yards and Burton's score was one of the most electric plays of the season.

A few weeks later in Nashville, Jeff Driskel showed off his legs by rushing for 177 yards -- a school record for a quarterback -- to lead the Gators to a win at Vanderbilt.

Driskel capped the 31-17 win with a 70-yard touchdown run, showing eye-opening speed as he split a pair of Vandy defensive backs on the way to the end zone.

The Best of Beisel

She is an Olympic medalist. A national champion. An SEC champion.

Elizabeth Beisel seems to never disappointment.

In a career full of honors, Beisel came through once again at the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis in March.

Beisel claimed the 400 IM national championship a year after winning the national title in the 200 back.

Beisel's combination of talent, personality and determination make her one of the most intriguing student-athletes on UF's campus.

Billy D Passes Rupp

There are certain milestones that make you double check the facts and shake your head in astonishment.

The NCAA Tournament includes more games and more teams than when legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp manned the bench for 41 years.

Still, anytime you pass Rupp on any list, it deserves recognition. When the Gators beat Florida Gulf Coast in the Sweet 16, Gators coach Billy Donovan eclipsed Rupp's SEC record for most NCAA Tournament wins.

Rupp was 30-18 in the tournament. Donovan is now 31-11.

That's a fact worthy of recognition.

T.J.'s Excellent Adventure

He played a practice round with Tiger Woods. At Augusta.

That alone made senior T.J. Vogel's spring one to remember.

But Vogel wasn't at the Masters just to hang out. He played in golf's most famous tournament as an amateur.

Vogel's goal was to make the cut and be the lowest amateur. That didn't happen -- he shot 77-75--152 to miss the cut.

Still, he was at Augusta. He played a round with Woods. Yeah, that's one for the scrapbook.

Morrison's Mash

Former Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel won't forget Gators linebacker Antonio Morrison.

When the two collided in the fourth quarter of Florida's comeback win over the Noles in November, Manuel fumbled and had to leave the game temporarily.

Morrison recovered, a play that sparked the Gators to a 37-26 victory.

Morrison's crushing hit changed the complexion of the game and reminded everyone of the intensity of the Florida-FSU rivalry.

Powers Turns on Power

One grand slam is a good day at the ballpark for any player. Two is ridiculous.

Florida's Zack Powers joined the ridiculous club when he belted a pair of grand slams and drive in a career-high nine runs against Duke in February.

Powers joined former Gators slugger Preston Tucker as the only players in school history to belt two grand slams in the same game.

Powers did it in back-to-back innings, a first.

 

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