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Sunday September 11, 2005Football Uses Offensive Balance To Down Louisiana Tech, 41-3

Gainesville, FL

The 10th-ranked Gator football team improved to 2-0 on Saturday night with a 41-3 victory over Louisiana Tech at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. With 90,099 fans looking on, the Orange and Blue rolled up 475 yards of offense and scored six touchdowns, while limiting the Bulldogs (0-1) to 162 yards of total offense.

 

Making his season debut, junior running back DeShawn Wynn (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored three touchdowns and gained 101 yards on 16 carries. He scored on a pair of one-yard runs and snared a 24-yard scoring toss from junior Chris Leak (Charlotte, N.C.), who was 13-of-22 for 219 yards and two scores. Junior Chad Jackson (Hoover, Ala.) registered his second consecutive 100-yard receiving effort with five catches for 105 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown reception.

 

Wynn opened the scoring with 8:32 remaining in the opening frame for his first touchdown since Oct. 16, 2004, versus Middle Tennessee State. Wynn accounted for all 57 yards on the drive, including a 50-yard run that moved the Gators into scoring position at the Bulldog seven yard-line. Junior kicker Chris Hetland (Leesburg, Ga.) tacked on the extra point to put Florida up 7-0 and complete the five-play, 2:27 drive.

 

With 11:58 left in the second quarter, the Gators struck again for a 14-0 lead. Leak handed off a reverse to junior wide receiver Andre Caldwell (Tampa, Fla.), who bolted 26 yards to the one-yard line before Wynn carried the ball into the end zone for his second TD of the night. The drive, capped off by Hetland's extra point, spanned 54 yards in five plays and took 1:35 off the clock.

 

Florida increased its lead to 21-0 with exactly six minutes remaining in the half on a 24-yard long ball from Leak to Wynn. Jackson had sprinted for a 16-yard carry down to Louisiana Tech's 24 yard-line before Wynn’s second career receiving touchdown and the ensuing kick from Hetland. The 72-yard drive used six plays and 3:13 of clock time.

 

Louisiana Tech’s lone score of the contest came after linebacker Brannon Jackson recovered a Florida fumble, its first turnover of the season, at the 45-yard line. A field goal from 37 yards by Bulldog sophomore kicker Danny Horwedel narrowed the gap to 21-3.

 

The Gators hit pay-dirt again with 8:05 left in the third quarter, when Leak closed a 12-play, 61-yard drive with a two-yard plunge into the end zone. Facing third down and 17 from his team's own 44-yard line, Leak found senior wide receiver Dallas Baker (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) for a 19-yard sideline completion to move the chains. Later on third down and six, Leak hooked up with Caldwell for a 23-yard gain down to the Bulldogs' 10-yard line. UF's lead remained at 27-3 following a missed PAT by Hetland.

 

On the Orange and Blue's next possession, an 80-yard bomb from Leak to Jackson resulted in the hosts' fifth TD of the night. Leak has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 23 starts of his career. Junior Eric Nappy (Gainesville, Fla.) added the extra point on his first career attempt for a 34-3 Gator lead. The season-high 91-yard drive took three plays and 1:27 of the clock.

 

UF senior linebacker Todd McCullough (MacClenny, Fla.) ended the Bulldogs' next possession with his first career interception to put his squad at Tech's 25 yard-line. Facing fourth down and four, Leak completed a seven-yard pass to Jackson to the Bulldogs' 20. An 11-yard reception by Baker placed the Gators at the two yard-line, and Leak scored on a one-yard sneak to conclude the 25-yard, eight-play drive. Nappy’s extra point finalized the margin at 41-3 in favor of the Gators.

 

Florida out-gained the Bulldogs by a 251-45 margin, paced by Wynn (101) and freshman Markus Manson (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), who gained 68 yards on 10 carries in the fourth quarter. The duo of Baker (63 yards) and Jackson (105 yards) totaled five receptions apiece, as four different receivers had a catch for over 20 yards. Defensively, the trio of senior cornerback Vernell Brown (Gainesville, Fla.), junior linebacker Earl Everett (Webster, Fla.) and junior safety Reggie Nelson (Melbourne, Fla.) had five tackles each.

 

The Gators will begin Southeastern Conference play next weekend when Eastern Division rival Tennessee (1-0) arrives in the Swamp. The game will air nationally on CBS beginning at 8 p.m.

 

-UF-

 

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