record-breaking crowd of 90,707 fans at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday
night, the 10th-ranked Gator football team notched a 32-14 triumph over Wyoming in the Florida
head coaching debut of Urban Meyer.
The victory was UF's 16th straight season and
home-opening win, the longest streak in the Southeastern Conference.
Junior Chris Leak (Charlotte, N.C.)
set a school record with 17 consecutive completions, eclipsing the previous mark
of 16 set by Steve Spurrier during the 1966 campaign.
Leak registered his fifth career 300-yard passing game by finishing with 320
yards, on a career-high 26 completions in 34 attempts. He fired three touchdown
passes to junior wide receiver Chad Jackson (Hoover, Ala.),
who became the eighth Gator to score four times in a game when he rushed for a
TD in the fourth quarter.
Florida opened the scoring on a 26-yard bullet from Leak to Jackson with 0:21 left in
the first quarter. Jackson accounted for 49 of
the 64 yards on the drive, and junior kicker Chris Hetland (Leesburg, Ga.)
tacked on the extra point on the first kick of his career to put the Gators on
the board, 7-0. The drive consisted of six plays and lasted 3:24.
second quarter, senior Vernell Brown (Gainesville,
Fla.) returned a Wyoming punt 22 yards to the Cowboys' 41-yard
line to give the Gators prime field position. Facing third-down and seven
yards, Leak found Jackson
for 11 yards down to the 27-yard line. Later facing another third down at the
12-yard line, Leak ran a quarterback draw that gained five yards for another UF
first down. On the next play, Leak found Jackson
from seven yards out on a crossing pattern that resulted in a 14-0 lead for the
hosts with 8:47 remaining in the half. Florida
used nine plays and 4:39 of the clock to hit pay-dirt.
Gators pinned at their own 16 yard-line late in the second quarter, Leak launched
a 63-yard bomb to junior Andre Caldwell
down to Wyoming's
21-yard line. After a 16-yard-loss on a fumble backed the Gators up, Hetland connected on his first career field goal from 40
yards out to expand the margin to 17-0.
started the second half with a bang when junior Skyler Thornton (LaGrange,
Ga.) opened the possession
with a 12-yard run. With UF facing 3rd-and-4, Leak found junior wide receiver Jemalle Cornelius (Fort Meade,
Fla.) darting down the sideline for 19
yards into Wyoming
territory. With 11:44 remaining in the third quarter, Florida
increased its lead to 23-0 when Leak hooked up with Jackson
for a 26-yard scoring toss, Jackson's
third touchdown reception of the game. Leak's 15th straight completion capped
off a seven-play, 80-yard drive that lasted 3:16. However, the extra-point
attempt went awry, marking Florida's
first failed PAT since Nov. 2, 2002.
66-yard kickoff return by senior Jovon Bouknight, Wyoming broke into the scoring column with
7:08 left in the third quarter when senior Corey Bramlet
scored on a four-yard rush. The Cowboys' drive covered 34 yards in eight plays.
ensuing kickoff, Caldwell produced a 47-yard
return to give the Gators possession at Wyoming's
48 yard-line. Hetland later boomed a 47-yard field
goal through the uprights to give the Gators a 19-point cushion, 26-7, with
3:11 left in the third quarter. Hetland's second
three-pointer of the night marked the first time since Nov. 6, 2004 that a
Gator had converted two field goals from beyond 40 yards in the same game, as
Matt Leach accomplished the feat in a 34-17 road win over Vanderbilt.
first career interception gave the Gators the ball at Wyoming's 43-yard line and set up his club's
final score of the night. Facing a second and goal from the five-yard line,
Leak tossed an option pitch to Jackson, who found his way into the end zone for
the fourth time in the game. Florida's
conversion attempt failed, holding the margin at 32-7.
remaining, Bouknight hauled in an 18-yard pass from Bramlet to pull the Cowboys to within 32-14. The 76-yard,
nine-play drive spanned 3:06.
set career highs in receiving yards (138), receptions (10) and touchdowns
(four). Caldwell finished with seven catches for
99 yards, while senior Dallas
Baker (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.)
had five receptions for 44 yards. Freshman Josh
gained a team-high 45 yards on five carries, including a team-high 23-yard rush
on UF's final drive. Wyoming's Bramlet
was 14-for-32 for 150 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Freshman Wynel Seldon was his team's
rushing leader with 56 yards on 18 carries, while Bouknight
had five catches for 54 yards.
Florida rang up 411 yards of total offense
on 70 plays, featuring 36 rushes and 34 passing attempts. The Gators did not
commit any turnovers and used a team-high seven tackles by sophomore Brandon Siler (Orlando,
Fla.) and six solo tackles by Brown to
to 222 yards of total offense. The Gators (1-0) return to action next Saturday
at 6 p.m. when they welcome Louisiana Tech (0-0) to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.