- 2006 Florida Gators football team
Florida jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but the Volunteers quickly took the momentum back when wide receiver Lucas Taylor threw a 47 yard touchdown pass to LaMarcus Coker. The Volunteers shot out of the gate in the second half with an impressive touchdown drive capped by a one yard touchdown run by Montario Hardesty, giving the Vols a 17-7 lead.
Chris Leakrallied the Gators to within a field goal when he found Dallas Bakerfor a four yard touchdown. Tennessee pulled ahead by six when James Wilhoit hit a 51 yard field goal early in the fourth. Leak again rallied the team, but it was freshman Tim Tebowwho made a huge play when he converted a crucial fourth down inside Tennessee territory. Leak came back into the game, and continued his strong play, finding Dallas Baker again for a 21 yard touchdown pass which would eventually prove to be the game winning score. The following drive, Junior quarterback Erik Aingethrew an interception to Reggie Nelson to seal a Gator victory. The win made them #5 in the AP and Coaches polls.
Pregame Line: Florida -23Pregame Line: Florida -13
Florida went with a
throwbackuniform style for the game, wearing uniforms from the mid 1960's as a part of the 100-year celebration of Florida Football. Prior to the game, Florida also unveiled its four initial entries into the Gator Football Ring of Honor— Emmitt Smith, Danny Wuerffel, Steve Spurrier, and Jack Youngblood. [ [http://www.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/stories/093006acz.html Gators induct 4 into ring of honor] ]
Florida entered the game hoping to avenge a 31-3 loss in
Tuscaloosa, Alabamathe previous season, and end a rare 3-game skid against a conference opponent.
The Gators trailed for nearly the entire first three quarters. After a botched snap between center Steve Rissler and quarterback
Chris Leak, Alabama's Prince Hall returned the fumble for their only touchdown of the game. The Tide added a field goal to take a 10-0 lead that held until just before the half. Late in the first half, Chris Leak had a career-long 45-yard run. Three plays later, a Tim Tebowdesigned sneak scored from 2 yards out, putting the Gators on the board with 1:45 left in the half.
The Gators took their first lead with 2:39 left in the third quarter on a Leak pass to
Andre Caldwell, making it 14-10. The Tide kept it close, kicking a 26-yard field goal to make it a 1-point game in the fourth quarter. Leak found Dallas Bakeron a 21-yard touchdown pass to strengthen Florida's lead, and safety Reggie Nelsonpicked off John Parker Wilson's pass and took it 70 yards for the score to put the game out of reach.
Pregame Line: Florida +2½] .
Pregame Line: Florida -13
In one of the most anticipated games of the season, former Gator coaching legend and current South Carolina coach
Steve Spurrierreturned to The Swamp. Spurrier had made two well-received public visits to the stadium earlier in the year as a part of the national championship anniversary celebration and to be enshrined in the Gators' Ring of Honor. In a thrilling game, the Gators blocked an extra point, and a potential game winning 48 yard field goal was blocked with only eight seconds remaining in the game. Leading the Gators on offense was Chris Leak, who with 258 yards passing in the game, eclipsed Danny Wuerffelas the All-Time passing yards leader in Gators history. DeShawn Wynnadded 86 yards on the ground to help the Gators maintain a steady attack. Freshman Tim Tebowcontinued his strong season, rushing for a 13 yard touchdown which proved to be the game winning score. Tebow also converted a critical fourth down play inside Gator territory. Kicker Chris Hetland continued to struggle, missing a 28 yard field goal. He did, however, kick a 22 yard field goal. Defensive lineman Jarvis Moss blocked an extra point and two field goals to ensure a Gator victory. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/12/sports/ncaafootball/12GATORS.html Blocked field goal keeps title hopes alive] ]
Pregame Line: Florida -48
The fourth ranked Gators took on the eighth ranked Arkansas Razorbacks in the 2006
SEC Championship Game. Both teams were looking to end their respective SEC Championship droughts, with Florida having not won the title since 2000, and the Razorbacks losing in their previous two title game appearances. The Gators came into the game favored by three points. Both teams traded three and outs before Florida exploded in the second quarter. Up 3-0, Chris Leakwas called for a rare quarterback draw which he converted by fighting into the endzone, giving the Gators a 10-0 lead. On the next Florida drive, Leak found game MVP Percy Harvinon a perfectly thrown 37-yard touchdown pass. However, the Razorbacks came back with a touchdown of their own. Razorbacks quarterback Casey Dick, who had struggled mightily in the past few games, threw a perfect pass to Marcus Monk who caught the pass for a 47-yard touchdown. The Gators led 17-7 heading into the half.
At half time, in a stunning development, the second ranked
USC Trojanslost in a shocking upset to rival UCLA. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=263360026 USC loses to UCLA] ] With this turn of events, Florida could give themselves a strong chance to overtake No. 2 Michigan and play in the BCS National Championship Game with a win. However, Arkansas came out firing in the second half. Using the unusual "Wildcat Formation", All American tailback Darren McFadden threw a quick two yard touchdown to fellow tailback Felix Jones. On the next offensive series, Gators quarterback Chris Leak was intercepted on an attempted shovel pass which was returned by Antwain Robinson for a touchdown, giving the Razorbacks a stunning 21-17 lead. Florida regained the ball, but was stuffed by the Arkansas defense. Coach Urban Meyerdecided to run a fake punt on his own 15-yard line, which proved to be a good call, as receiver Jemalle Cornelius scampered for a 16-yard gain. Even with this swing of momentum, the Gators were unable to capitalize and elected to punt from midfield. The momentum changed yet again, this time in Florida's favor. Punt returner Reggie Fish muffed the punt after trying to field it over his shoulder; the ball was recovered in the endzone by freshman Wondy Pierre-Louis, giving the Gators a 24-21 lead. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/03/sports/ncaafootball/03sec.html Chance Nearly Slips Away, but Florida Makes Its Case - New York Times ] ]
The Gators took the three point lead into the fourth quarter knowing with a win, they will have made their case to play in the
BCS National Championship Game. Explosive freshman Percy Harvin gave Florida a ten point lead when he bolted through the Arkansas defense for a 67-yard touchdown. On the following Arkansas offensive series, the momentum of the game appeared to change yet again, when receiver Cedric Washington threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to tailback Felix Jones on a trick play.
Knowing the field goal lead wouldn't be enough, the Gators came out firing on their offensive series. Florida drove to the Arkansas five yard line, when freshman sensation
Tim Tebowcame into the game. Tebow appeared to be running yet again, but pitched the ball to wide receiver Andre Caldwellwho then threw a touchdown pass to tight end Tate Casey which proved to give the Gators a big enough lead to win their first conference championship in six years.
The victory catapulted the Gators over second ranked Michigan in the BCS standings, giving the Gators the right to play Ohio State in the BCS National Championship Game. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2685119 Gators win right to play Ohio State] ]
Ohio State (BCS Championship Game)
*cite news | title=2006 All-SEC Football Team Announced | publisher=SECSports.com | url=http://www.secsports.com/index.php?url_channel_id=2&url_article_id=8057&url_subchannel_id=&change_well_id=2 | date=
December 5, 2006| accessdate=2007-01-23 | language=English | format=HTML
*cite web | title=2006 AP All-America Team | publisher=Sportsline.com | url=http://sportsline.com/collegefootball/story/9866824 | accessdate=2007-01-23 | language=English | format=HTML
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