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Saturday October 1, 2005Football Falls At No. 15 Alabama, 31-3

Gainesville, FL

The fifth-ranked Gator football team suffered a 31-3 defeat to 15th-ranked Alabama on Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the Southeastern Conference, while Florida (4-1/2-1 SEC) fell from the ranks of the unbeaten. Head coach Urban Meyer's personal 20-game winning streak at Utah and Florida also came to an end.


Alabama senior quarterback Brodie Croyle was 14-for-17 for 283 yards and three touchdowns, including an 87-yard scoring toss to Tyrone Prothro on UA's first offensive play just 3:33 into the game. That pass was the longest allowed from scrimmage by the Gators this season.


On UF's next series, junior Chris Leak (Charlotte, N.C.) was intercepted for the first time all season, ending a stretch of 117 consecutive passes without a pick. That streak matched Wayne Peace (1981) for the third-longest in school history. The Tide's Chris Harris caught the deflected pass and returned it 14 yards down to the Gators' two-yard line. Three plays later, junior Tim Castille carried the ball into the end zone from one yard out and the extra point gave the hosts a 14-0 lead. Alabama added three more points on a 22-yard field goal by Jamie Christensen with 5:52 remaining in the quarter for a 17-3 advantage.


Florida's only points of the afternoon came with 7:32 remaining in the second frame on a 37-yard field goal by junior Chris Hetland (Leesburg, Ga.), who is now a perfect 6-for-6 on the season. The scoring was set up by a 42-yard completion from Leak to senior Dallas Baker (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) to the 23-yard line. Baker matched a career-best with six receptions and his 115 yards were a career-high.


Following the kickoff that rolled out of bounds, Alabama countered on its next play with a 65-yard hook-up between Croyle and Keith Brown to build a 24-3 lead that it took into the locker room.


The Crimson Tide finalized the scoring on its initial drive of the third quarter, when Croyle found Prothro for a 15-yard touchdown to complete a seven-play, 80-yard march.


Alabama had the edge in total offense, 407-326, and became the first team to hold Florida without a touchdown since Mississippi State on Oct. 1, 1992. Tide running back Kenneth Darby gained 101 yards on 15 carries, while Prothro had five receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns before leaving with a season-ending leg injury.


For the Gators, junior running back DeShawn Wynn (Cincinnati, Ohio) was limited to 47 yards on 12 carries and Leak finished 16-for-37 with 187 yards and was sacked four times. Junior Chad Jackson (Hoover, Ala.) had a game-high eight catches for 50 yards. Junior linebacker Earl Everett (Webster, Fla.) ran a reverse 32 yards on a fake punt to pick up a first down for the Gators late in the first quarter.


Florida will host Mississippi State (2-3/0-3 SEC) in its Homecoming Game next Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The game will be televised on Jefferson-Pilot Sports beginning at 12:30 p.m.




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